The art of ornament, as varied as it may seem, is one best conveyed by the budding scene of artisanal jewelers in Kuwait and the region. In this special series, bazaar explores the works of some of the finest Jewelry designers, uncovering the artistes within, their inspirations, and the beautiful pieces they create.
The concept of Eco-design is a modern one, as its name elicits the notion of innovation and novelty. However, it remains esoteric and ritual-oriented in its essence. The mainstream has taught us that Eco-design carries with it environmental considerations during a product’s lifecycle, and we’ve seen that translated into buildings, clothing, energy procurement and much more. Yet when it comes to jewelry design, I was personally unaware of the depths in which Eco-design delivers a spectacular ceremony of renewal and renaissance, until I met the special lady behind Ana-Katarina Eco Gioielli.
When I first laid eyes on Ana-Katarina’s jewelry, I was presented with masterpieces; each one a work of art adorned with dazzling stones, natural and rare materials like cow-bone and ivory, hidden ‘healing‘ symbols displayed on the inside of these pieces, crafted into an inimitable structure. The notion of Eco-design couldn’t be further from my mind. Instead, I only thought of couture, style, and runways. Yet, when it comes to Ana’s work, there’s definitely more to it than what innocently meets the eye. The attention she devotes to every aspect of any given piece is spectacular.
Ana began to explain her work: how her deep respect for the Earth and its people fueled her dedication to design socially conscious fine jewelry, each piece customized to individual clients’ tastes. Sensing my immediate intrigue, she invited me to share with her the experience of creating an Eco-design piece for one of her clients.
Preceding the meeting with her client, a quick tête-à-tête with Ana unveils a passionate artist, to say the least. A former Balkan War correspondent and the daughter of a world-renowned architect and a Whitney-awarded painter, Ana-Katarina’s witness to powerful beauty and human tragedy sharpens her senses. When she touches upon influences of her family, her eyes glimmer with remembrance, intuition, and contentment. Upon launching her independent brand in 2007, her wide experience at fine jewelry firms in the US and Europe drove her towards procuring the finest materials to work with, choosing recycled gold, ethically mined Canadian diamonds, and fair trade gemstones.
One might credit her expertise to her GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certification, amongst her various certificates, yet upon the arrival of Ana’s client, I immediately noticed the striking friendship and sense of familiarity amongst the two women. She comments, “When it comes to designing a concept for a client, I look for one that communicates the client’s energy. It’s not just about what I see as beautiful, yet what they believe is beautiful and personal to them.” The process is completely personal, artistic in nature, and a rediscovery of one’s style. The purpose of any given piece is to reflect one’s personal style, which, in definition, stems from a person’s aspirations, personal traits and core beliefs. This client, in particular, has always been ‘drawn’ to the mystical Alexandrite stone and wished to design a ring using a gold set she once received as a wedding gift, and I found myself suddenly moved by Ana’s choice of the term to describe this client’s affinity towards a given stone. I couldn’t help but interlude with the question, ‘what would become of this specific attraction?’ only to find myself an active participant in this meeting. Conversations about life, womanhood, and more coffee ensued, which led me towards following Ana to her studio.
I further learn from Ana that her client is a professor and a mother of two young children. “Her style in collecting jewelry has always been commemorative of her accomplishments, last commissioning one piece starring a beautiful opal stone, also the largest in her collection. So why not commemorate her growth this time?” When examining this stunning 2.6-carat Alexandrite, which would pose as the center of the finished ring design, I wondered what the ring would look like. Ana commented that without understanding her client’s approach to life, one that is both scientific and holistic due to her PHD in nutrition, the final design wouldn’t materialize. “She is a woman who is vibrant and infinitely curious, full of joie de vivre. Her style ranges from classic Audrey Hepburn to hipster chic. Personally I always thought her vibe was that of a Tsarina- opulent and grand.”
A few weeks later, I received another phone-call from Ana, followed by an email with the stunning images of the finished piece. My attention was directed immediately to the Alexandrite, the color changing sapphire glimmered in shades of a sea-foam green in angles, to slightly purplish red, surrounded by an undercarriage of diamonds, and set in 18 carat rose gold. I was astounded at what were once a single stone, a discarded gold set, and the final result. A statement piece, both simple yet magnificent, still beckons us further to explore every aspect of why Ana-Katarina produced this design. She adds, “In the Auyverdic tradition I placed one stone to touch the skin. This is my personal blessing to her. As the stone touched her skin it will add its energy of creative expression, intuition and meditation to her energy.” Incorporating Ayruvedic elements and principles of Yoga isn’t necessarily a voluntary act by Ana, yet this resides as an intrinsic part of her character. Designing a piece with Ana makes for a soul-searching endeavor–one that is assisted by the designer herself. Not only does she aim to deliver a masterpiece that is esthetically pleasing to the eye, yet it becomes a talisman that connects its wearer to her personal strength and beauty lying with her own soul.
Ana later informs me that the client is elated with her finished piece, and I actually felt elated for her; through this beautiful design process, I somehow felt like I connected with this amazing personality, even if only as an observant bystander.
Please visit http://anakatarina.com for more information. Photography by bazaar staff and Yasmin Mouftah. Hair and Makeup by Fuschia Salon, 6707 7077.