Designer Nilufer Kizilkaya talks about her design inspiration for GfG
Nilufer Kizilkaya tells Jewellery Outlook about the inspiration driving her designs for new jewellery brand GfG.
Q. What made you decide to become a jewellery designer and a leave a successful career in the City behind? Can you draw any parallels between your two careers?
A. In 2002 when I took a gap year in my city career, I decided that I wanted to do something in the fine arts industry. My love for jewellery, which I inherited from my mother, my fond childhood memories of the atmosphere of frequent visits to the jewellers at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul with the sparkle of gemstones, had always been on my mind. And when the opportunity did arise to invest time to have a solid foundation I started my adventure by attending courses in silversmithing at Central Saint Martins, and then continuing to build the foundation through improving my drawing skills by studying interior design at Chelsea College of Arts, Jewellery Schools, and increasing my gemstone knowledge through the GIA.
The parallels between my two careers… First of all, I believe I am a very lucky person to already have had one career which I loved and then been given the opportunity to follow my passion and start a second career. My city career gave me tremendous experience from broadening my math skills, meeting enormous amounts of people from different cultural backgrounds to developing a strong work ethic and attention to detail. To step into the world as a jewellery designer, you need to not only be creative but also have an incredible attention for detail, as well as math skills (every piece is created with geometrical skills to sit perfectly on the skin) to create your designs. Furthermore, if you want to make your passion your business, you need to understand your clientele and be able to communicate with them. You also need a good grasp of economics as you are running a company.
Q. What is your design ethos and what especially did you learn from the jewellery artisans in Istanbul who you studied with?
A. My ethos is to design pieces that you can wear from your day to night look and that you will enjoy wearing. I do not believe that jewellery should be created for special events only, as I feel that jewellery should be enjoyed every day – to be bold I would even say, every moment. My designs and creations are made to make the wearer feel pretty, happy, feminine.
Q. How many collections have you designed to date and what are the key signature pieces?
A. How many collections I have designed to date…. That is one of those questions which is hard to answer, as the design process is not something you actually can switch off. Everything that I see inspires me and gives me new ideas. The positive part is that as I design and create bespoke pieces, I am able to incorporate some of these inspirations. At the moment though I have launched a couple of collections, which are the Dafna and Ellie collections, in which I have used precious metals with different cutting techniques to create a distinctive ‘sparkle’; the Lara collections where I use different gemstones; the Lily collections which feature gemstones and hammering techniques, and the GfG Exclusive collections where I have used sapphires and quartz on precious metals and handcrafted earrings in 14 karat gold.
In summary, my key signature pieces are the Niki Rings which are part of the GfG Exclusive collections, the Ellie bracelets, the Dafna Necklaces, Lily Earrings and Lara rings.
Q. What collections have you coming up which reflect the trends for Spring/Summer 2016?
A. For Spring/Summer we have launched an addition to the Niki Ring which is the gold rutiled quartz with white sapphires. We have also added to the Ellie collection pearl and 14 karat gold necklaces and we have added black diamonds, blue and white topaz to the Lara collections, which now include ear cuffs and necklaces.
Our jewellery actually is already ahead of trend, we launched the Niki Ring in rose quartz with blue and white sapphires in autumn last year and, as you are aware, 2016 is the year of rose quartz. I believe that jewellery is becoming finer and all our pieces fit well within this description. Rose gold colour is still a trend, though I do not think it will ever go away. We have Lily drop earrings, studs, Ellie necklaces and bracelets, and our new white topaz Lara rings and Niki white sapphire studs that fit into the rose gold colour category. I think colour-wise people will start to appreciate the notion of mix and match much more, and hence we will continue our dual colour pieces. The one trend though I would love to see increase is the appreciation of pearls, as some people still associate them with being old fashioned – and I hope that with our Ellie pearl & gold necklaces we can change that perception.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. Business wise the plans for the future are to grow the company steadily and to increase our exposure through a couple of selected stores in the UK and Europe. After that I really would like to enter the U.S. jewellery market.
Creative wise, I would rather not tell you yet what kind of designs we have in store … it is a fiercely competitive market!
Q. What words of advice would you give to anyone thinking of changing career to become a jeweller?
A. First of all, I would advise them to do what they love as I believe this will only lead to success, as they will need to work very hard and for long hours which only will be sustainable if they have a passion for it. Also, try to create something different and know your gemstones.