Today's conversation is with Sima Vaziry, an award-winning jewellery designer, curator and the inspiring artist. I came across Sima in a BBC interview when she was presenting her collection with each piece expertly curated and given life through the telling of the stories behind the designs. My favorite collection of Sima was 'the Alina collection'. The collection “Alina” was created in collaboration with Turquoise Mountain and celebrates the diversity of the Afghan tribes. I was so intrigued by her collections, the collections that are so charming, attractive and they were inspired by Persian, Afghan and Middle Eastern designs, precious metals and gemstones that were sourced from Afganistan.
Alina collection, Star lapis and turquoise jewellery pieces, Sima Vaziry.
Sima's work has been recognised by the British Museum for whom she has created several commercial jewellery collections and her jewellery is part of the core range at the British Museum luxury shop.
Sima came into jewellery making as a second career from a graphic design background, after re-training, she launched her own brand 'Sima Vaziry'. It wasn’t long before her work was picked up by the British Museum and her first collection for them became one of their most popular and best selling ranges. To date, Sima has designed four collections for the British Museum and currently working on her fifth collection "Assyria". Sima has also received enquiries from the Louvre in Paris. Her award winning piece was used on the cover of a new book, “Silversmithing for Jewelry Makers”. Her endearing work has been recognised in the form of press, TV and radio appearances including Sky TV and BBC Persia as well as BBC London radio. Her jewellery designs and personal story have been featured in “Woman & Home”, “Tatler” online and many more. Sima also creates bespoke items for private clients and supply the British Museum. She also passes on her knowledge through teaching and delivering talks in and around London.
I had the pleasure to speak with the creator and designer, Sima Vaziry, who is behind the rich and breathtaking jewellery pieces. And here's what she said...
Alina Star lapis and turquoise earrings, Sima Vaziry.
Jewellery Pursuer; Why a career in jewellery making?
Sima Vaziriy; My journey into jewellery began as a child, when I used to dress up and play with my mother's jewellery. As I grew older, my father would buy me small pieces of jewellery, some of which have remained treasured possessions of mine, with turquoise and carnelian and other materials I associate with home. I was always artistically inclined, painting and crafting from a very young age.
JP; How did the jewellery making and designing started?
SV; After completing a diploma in graphic design, I went on to obtain a BA in Visual Communications (graphic design) at Ravensbourne and completed a Master¹s at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, which led to a successful career as a graphic artist and designer. I eventually felt the need to express my history, art and ideas through the medium of jewellery. Taking a number of short courses over the course of two years, I managed to successfully develop my jewellery design from hobby into a serious career, and I have been teaching at the London Jewellery School in Hatton Garden since April 2010.
JP; Can you tell me more about your jewellery work with the British Museum? How did the interest come about? How have you been discovered?
SV; I was showing my very first collection at the Afghan Fashion Show charity event and my work was seen there. They were looking for pieces to sell in their luxury shop in support of their major upcoming exhibition, Afghanistan: crossroads of the ancient world and liked my pieces. I was very happy to supply the chosen pieces and they did very well, becoming one of their fastest selling ranges ever and sold out many times over.
JP; What can you say about your latest collection, Alina, which you created for Turquoise Mountain? How did the idea come about?
SV; I knew of Turquoise Mountain’s work in Afghanistan and wanted to get involved, helping and working with the artisans they support. I designed the Alina collection for them and it has been inspired by the diversity of Afghanistan’s tribes and their coming together to build a peaceful future. The collection takes embroidery motifs such as stars, flowers and petals combined with Afghan semi-precious stones such as Lapis and Turquoise to create authentic and stunning pieces.
“Alina” collection, created in collaboration with Turquoise Mountain and celebrates the diversity of the Afghan tribes, Sima Vaziry.
JP; Let’s talk about the use of Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise and the poetry in your jewellery. Why do we see those gemstones more often in your work?
SV; The best lapis and turquoise are found in Afghanistan and Iran respectively and I have a deep affinity for them since childhood. In fact I remember as child, the whole family would sleep on the roof terrace to escape the heat of my native city by the Persian Gulf and it was there that I first heard of lapis lazuli, the word used to describe the deep blue colour of the sky when the day turned into night.
Alina Blossom lapis ring, Sima Vaziry.
JP; You are with a creative mind always after something inspiring and always in search of something new. What can you say about your other skill, such as Calligraphy?
SV; I love calligraphy and I am in fact taking classes to improve my skill. I find that apart from the artistic and cultural side, it feels almost like meditation, watching the dance of the pen on the paper.
Alina Flower turquoise ring, necklace and earrings, Sima Vaziry.
Alina Flower turquoise ring, Sima Vaziry.
JP; What can we predict for Sima Vaziry jewellery in the near future?
SV; I am very pleased and honoured that I was recently commissioned to produce my fifth collection for the British Museum in support of their exhibition I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria which will be running from 8 November 2018 – 24 February 2019. The pieces have been delivered and will be on display in the Grenville Room and online soon.
Afghanistan Peace brooch. Sima Vaziry.
Afghanistan Peace brooch. Sima Vaziry.