Jewellery Arabia 2017 in Bahrain through the eyes of Tatyana Pfaifer
It was my second visit to both Jewellery Arabia 2017 and the Kingdom of Bahrain – the country, where centuries-old traditions mix up with modern values. But first, let me begin with one story. I was met in the airport, and on our way to hotel we decided to take some coffee. So we stopped at a coffee shop and were brought a cup of coffee with different kinds of sugar. I chose brown and was suddenly asked, “Do you usually drink coffee with brown sugar?” – “No, I use brown sugar only when I am abroad, at home I drink coffee with the white one,” I answered. “Then take it,” he passed me some white sugar, “and feel like you’re home”. This is how I feel Bahrain that is so hospitable, calm and noble for me.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is surrounded by the Persian Gulf, and in Arabian means “Two seas”. To tell the truth, cities on water are my passion. What else does the Persian Gulf mean to us? Natural pearl, of course! Pearl is a symbol of Bahrain and its pride, as for many centuries this country has been a major center of natural pearl recovery and sale.
We will talk about pearls later, while now I would like to highlight the main trends of selling jewellery pieces at Jewellery Arabia 2017.
1. Jewellery Arabia 2017 still remains the exhibition, where jewellery pieces are sold: mainly, classical diamond necklaces, rings and bracelets. Notably, the customers prefer to observe a certain designer’s concept in the piece, but it should still look more classically. “Wedding market” is always a win-win situation for Arabian sales. Wedding here is a fancy and pretentious event, so every woman prepares for it well in advance. Arabian families are big, and such events happen here quite often. And don’t forget about hen parties, where you just can’t wear the same jewellery.
2. Massive diamonds are becoming less popular now. It would be too difficult to sell sophisticated jewellery with huge gems.
3. I can’t say that unique jewellery and pieces of artistic value are much sought after. Customers prefer to buy a large diamond set for the price of an art ring…After all, unique pieces is a specific market, and we need to understand their value and appreciate.
4. But! I would say that fashion jewellery with diamonds and other gems are rather demanded. They are quite small-sized, so while wearing them you will feel yourself elegant and chic even in the everyday life. For example, Ferrari Firenze Jewellery, an Italian jewellery brand, has sold successfully their new collection in Bahrain! Their pieces combine centuries-old traditions of Italian masters and a forever-young Italian spirit of fashion. Every piece is hand-made.
5. Visitors often query about where you are from and want to get to know you. It again proves that selling jewellery pieces is an intimate process. So you have to accept that it would take time for clients to get used to you. It means that you don’t expect your first visit to be very successful. Time should pass before you become recognized, and, of course, your pieces need to be suitable for the market.
6. People throughout all Arabian countries are used to large discounts. Therefore, prices should be set “specifically”.
7. Foreign companies are prohibited to sell pearl pieces in Bahrain. Not a single pearl should be found in the jewellery. That is how they protect the rights of families, who have been engaged in pearl hunting for centuries and kept unique jewellery collections. Moreover, we are talking only about natural pearls! In modern Bahrain, imitation pearl trade is not allowed.
Well, now we got back to gorgeous natural pearls.
Initially, pearl possesses its native beauty unlike other stones
that require separation, grinding and faceting.
Edwin Streeter “Pearls and pearling life” (1886)
Elizabeth Tailor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn… Many famous style icons preferred jewellery with noble natural pearls. The only pieces you might often see female politicians to wear are made with pearls.
In this vein I would like to introduce Mattar Jewelers to you, who focus on production of refined jewellery with natural pearls and possess a unique collection of them. I was honored to meet Talal and Faten – the sixth generation of the family business established in 1850. Besides those pieces placed in the window, Talal showed me two small bags. With pearls! You know, love is seen in the eyes, but a touch will be enough to get in love with pearls. And you will feel love through your hands.
You might ask what a pearl collection is. For example, have a look at the photo below. All pearls are of same color, size and glitter. Such pearls are born and formed naturally inside the shell, which means that people cannot influence them. Therefore, it takes time to create a piece of identical pearls of impeccable quality. And this time is measured in years.
For example, in the end of XIX century a tradition arose in the emperor Romanov’s family: the wife of the last Russian tsar Alexandra presented her four daughters with a big pearl for every birthday. When they turned 16, each of them already had a beautiful string of pearls.
Let me also introduce you Al Hashimi Pearls – a Bahraini company, focused on natural pearl trade since XIX. Ishita was taking out every piece so affectionately! It was my first time to see such variety of traditional pearl jewellery. I distinguished them, because they unite traditions of the past with modern fashion.
Meet Vishal (Vishal Kothari) – the founder of V.A.K Fine Jewels, a successful businessman, who threw down a challenge to himself at the age of 40 and decided to design his own line of exclusive jewellery.
Vishal is inspired by the grand and unique oeuvre, created for the imperial Mughal dynasty, jewels of the British Empire, the Art Deco. He has a workshop in Mumbai with 30 jewellers working there, and is creating 50-70 jewellery pieces a year.
– Basically, you use Rose cut, the old European cut, carved emeralds, beads ... Why?
(Rose cut is one of the old diamond cuts with flat facets, the layout of which resembles rose petals. - Author's note.)
– All these cuts are old cuts. As for the Rose cut, only this cut is applied for making flower petals, leaves, wings. In my opinion, it perfectly suits for visualization of nature. Yes, it does not have as many facets as brilliant cut, but the point is in how you use it. For me, these diamonds shine in a mysterious way.
A diamond is like sunlight: it plays with colors, but remains transparent, as a water drop. Next ring is my favorite one.
– Your jewellery pieces look so light, transparent, romantic, and live. Metal is almost invisible in these pieces. I also like your movable petals, they make the piece alive.
– Very few people do movable petals. You must do this expertly and technically correctly, because the petals are movable and can cling to, and thus be damaged. Therefore, proportions are important, and diamond petals should be set properly.
Alessio Boschi is a great artist of the modern world. He is incredibly gifted, and every meeting with this man makes you fall in love with him again and again. Although you have already seen most of his creations, and it is probably hard to surprise you, still his creativeness, romance and passion continue astonishing your imagination.
He is a self-made man, and his sister, as well as all the nearest and dearest, are always next to him, paving together an artistic path. Because the most important for him is the ability to continue creating beyond the boundaries or limitations, and amaze people with his art.
His every jewel is a story with main characters and scenery. Each story is lived through and only then transferred into gold, diamonds and precious stones. Every creation is saturated with passion and enthusiasm, which people need today and tomorrow to overcome all their troubles. In this sense, we can say that “beauty and enthusiasm will save the world.”
AENEA means in Greek “to praise” relationships between people and their feelings, as well as the brand idea lies in celebrating life and love. AENEA is a brand of creative, beautiful and smart young people. Their jewellery bears lively, radiant energy and unique design and as Costan, a founder and a creative director of the company, pointed out, “ability to wear even with a T-shirt and jeans, which is so important especially nowadays.”
– What is special about art that people strive for it?
– For me it’s humanity. One of the biggest downturns of mankind, in comparison to animals, is that we find pleasure in killing. No other animal has that. But the greatest merit of people is art. When you look what people can create, how much love and craziness they express in their craftsmanship, you are lost in admiration. For me art is pure emotion. Art is what people of different epochs bequeath. It can even bring people together, and we won’t be where we are now without it.
“Once, one of my friends told me about Maggie and Rudi. He saw them dancing together and it was the most breathtaking experience in his life. So I decided to create a range of jewellery that proclaims this amazing partnership”, says Costan Eghiazarian.