Sunday Times (August 2019)
Anusha Bawany chats with Karachi’s hot new jewellery designer about all things bling. Learn about the AZURE brand, their aesthetic, craft process, and the gemstones they use. Find out about what it’s like to be a young female entrepreneur and tips to balance a new business with one’s personal life.
What inspired you to begin designing jewelry? What is your design background?
After college once I was back in Karachi, I found myself helping my maternal grandmother with organizing her jewellery exhibitions. Without active realization, I started to sketch designs I wanted to make and wear. A year later, I discussed starting a line with my Nani, but she sadly passed away, and soon after that I was expecting. It was when I temporarily moved to London that I indulged my interests in my spare time. I researched the jewellery market, attended art exhibitions, and began to sketch until finally, in 2018, I studied Jewellery Making as a short course at Central Saint Martin’s in London which strengthened my technical know-how re tools, processes, quality, and end product.
What made you launch AZURE? Where did the name come from?
I don’t know if it was having my daughter or becoming older that triggered a nerve. My time had never felt more valuable and I had never felt more decisive. That was it! I took the plunge and AZURE started to take form. ‘Azure’ is quite literally an enchanting deep blue colour and stems from the Persian term for Lapis Lazuli. Honoured for its richness and depth (and for reflecting wisdom) our jewellery line embodies the magical nature of the azure in its distinctive design construct.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Our pieces are feminine, timeless and contemporary. Our design aesthetic reflects the multidimensional nature of the contemporary woman; sensual and vibrant, delicate and bold. Our designs are created keeping every woman in mind and embodies the different styles that each woman adorns.
How long does one piece usually take you to execute, from start to end?
It can often take six months to create one design; from sketching to sampling to production- and so we create a limited number of pieces. Each piece is crafted by the finest artisans and each gemstone is hand-selected for its even shape, tone, and lustre, to ensure a perfect end experience.
What are your favourite stones to work with?
I love pearls- they stand out and give the complexion a natural glow. As stones, they love to be worn, and this only improves their lustre. In addition to pearls, I am a big fan of the unconventional beauty of semi-precious stones, using diamonds as an add-on for that shimmering effect.
What are some trends in the jewelry design that you love, and some trends you are ready to see die?
I love the trending use of baroque pearls in jewellery as it’s very ‘modern meets classic’. The comeback of appreciating enamel jewellery with its vibrant colours is super exciting. The trend I am not crazy about is the over worn ‘designer pieces’ that everyone has the same piece of! Albeit beautifully designed, I feel jewellery should be selected like art, based on the consumers love for the piece and how it looks, not just because of where it’s from even if it doesn’t suit you or match your taste.
What are some of the pros and cons of being a young female entrepreneur?
The advantage is that you get to do what you enjoy, at an age when most are at the peak of their drive and dynamism. Every day is a challenge and the learning curve is exponential. However, the control factor is over-rated as one often has to give up the reins and let others take charge. The con is obviously all the risks involved, and also being in that uncomfortable stage frequently of having to move forward in a situation that you have no idea where to begin navigating.
How do you balance launching a new business and your personal life?
Someone once told me you can only really balance two out of three things at a time- your personal life, career and social life. In my case being a new mother and starting a new business happened in tandem. I could juggle having a social life on days where I replaced work with meeting up with family and friends. Nevertheless, I believe maintaining all three is important for the soul, and only enhances ones efficiency, decisiveness and ability to think laterally.