The jewelry industry is surely growing with new, young designers looking to lead the way. One of them is Saudi Arabia's Lillian Ismail, who sat down with Cosmopolitan to discuss her brand and her past.
When asked to describe her brand as well as her role within the company, Ismail said, "Lillian Ismail jewelry blends contemporary elements with Islamic inspired concepts in one-of-a-kind designs. My “artwork", as I refer to my designs, are used as a medium to express concepts from my culture and background. Each collection and piece tell a unique story of its own representing the designer and the individual wearing it. As one of the very few trained female Saudi bench jewelers and makers, I believe that the soul of the designer is reflected throughout the piece, giving it a different feel when handcrafted. A religious relationship of a different kind raises between the artisan and the material. My goal is to encourage the rise of artisans in my home country, especially in the field of jewelry that lacks the female hand in the production process. The modernist jewelry movement in the 1940s profoundly influenced my insistence on raising the awareness of craftsmanship and the importance of jewelry as a form of wearable art."
"I completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewelry Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NYC," said Ismail when asked what she studied in college and if it helped her on the path to a jewelry business. "I was a trained as an Art Jeweller at Pratt leaving it with a strong belief that jewelry is not only a commodity bought or worn for its materialistic value. It is a piece of art worn to express who we are as an individual. It is a medium of expression the designer uses to tell a story. It is a piece of art that echoes the soul of the maker, who built a strong relationship with the material. That is precisely how it did come about. A huge shift in my perception of jewelry, leaving me with a lot of questions, such as: “what is jewelry?" As a designer, I was able to apply what I learned and bring my creativity into everyday designs and creations to sell.
"The quality of great education also helped me understand the field from all aspects. I left with great knowledge I can share as I teach my courses and classes. With a strong foundation In the field, I was able to participate in multiple consultancy projects to support the field in my home country."