Exclusive Interview with Nazan Alhas Jewellery!

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the beautiful and ethereal Nazan Alhas in Battery Park last month after the DRAFTspace: COMPLETE PARTS exhibition. What we thought would be a lovely interview, ended up being a much longer (and much enjoyed!) night of connecting artistically and personally. Here are a few gems from our lovely encounter!
We talked about art, jewelry, spirituality, life and the great Rumi over drinks- and of course snapped some shots of her lovely treasures!

AurumEve: So, you graduated in 2003 in design, but how long before that had you been making jewelry and was it always your passion?

NazanAlhas: I had actually been interested in crafts since I was very young. As a child I often observed the silversmiths and craftsmen in the local market, fascinated at how they turned precious and base metals into beautiful pieces of art at local markets and at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. When I was even younger, I used to playfully compete with my elders in crochet, knitting and cross stitching. So, creating was really always a part of me.
Before moving to London I had this dream, where Mason Sinan, known as ‘The Great Architect Sinan’ handed me a ceramic globe decorated with these intricate, elegant Ottoman patterns. This dream must have been the sign that I was going to be a jewellery designer. When I moved to London, I decided to follow my passion. In this same spirit, I actually ended up training with a jewelry designer who had earlier been making repairs on various pieces of jewelry for me, and it grew to a beautiful mentorship and friendship.

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AurumEve: What are your favorite stones to use energy wise?

NazanAlhas: I am drawn to emeralds, rubies, and sapphires:  these stones express deeper emotions and support healing energies. I also love mystical lapis, malachite, onyx and spinel.  I love to connect gems to my concepts for their healing, transferring and balancing aspects. I use pearl and corals too but only in my limited edition pieces- sourcing them as vintage material or from other ethical sources.

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AurumEve: We both clearly believe in the spiritual aspects of creating jewelry- what do you feel are the strongest elements from you that go into creating your pieces?

NazanAlhas:  Mainly my personal journey, and I how I look at, understand and feel things. I find that through this journey I manifest my desires, feelings and life experiences creatively. Some of the concepts are highly intuitive – a sort of ‘silent communication’ with the world around me. I am heavily influenced and inspired by the music and poems of Mevlana Celaleddin- of course known universally as Rumi, and my strong desire to express my heritage artistically, as my heritage in integral to my creative approach. I research both my cultural and spiritual heritage: If we do not know our roots we may become lost.

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AurumEve: Yes! I see Rumi ever present in your pieces and descriptions- tell me more about Rumi in your work-

NazanAlhas: In Rumi’s poetry, he reveals the joy in giving – which is key in my work. I think I have evolved, as I was younger I was taking, and learning – and now I have the opportunity to give, and experience Joy and Love in doing so.
Mevlana Jalaluddin (Rumi) was actually my inspiration for part of my “For Love” collection DRAFTspace.  The New York connection actually worked out very well – many Americans, particularly in the cultural hub that is New York love Mevlana and his themes of love and spiritual depth. Through wearing one of my pieces, the wearer is connected to this ancient spiritual leader. It is a link with those who appreciate the divine and both look for and give something deeper in their lives.

Capture3My pieces are created to enjoy the symbolism without revealing all their subtlety at the instant.

AurumEve: Do you perform Sema (and can you tell us a little bit about it?) and is it personal or in any way a part of your jewelry creation process?

NazanAlhas: {Throws hands up happily!} I actually just completed my Sema training this February! Oh yes, the Sema ceremony is quite personal- it is a spiritual dance to connect to the Divine creator and be a part of the universe and experience a divine Oneness and connection through mysticism. This spirituality is in every part of my creation and production process: finding a way through Mevlana Rumi connections, inspired ideas, becoming ‘alive’, sketching objects, taking shape and form, meeting people, suppliers, and craftspeople-  all of this is in this spiritual dance. The entire process becomes a Sema!

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AurumEve: What I love about the heart pieces is that they are not that typical commercially styled heart.  The slight natural, organic lines as well as the other pieces it’s framed in allude to something deeper- it’s clearly intentional – how and why do you do this?

NazanAlhas: I do hope so!  {laughs} The heart shape is designed to express the process of letting go of attachments to pain and purifying the heart. The left corner of the heart has a carved part and is blackened by rhodium and enamel to express the scars in the heart which stop us from loving. There is the agony of separation. The details of the heart are inspired by Mevlana Celaleddin’s words:

The wound is the place where the Light enters you

I was raw, cooked and then burned…

In Sufism there is a polishing and forgiving process. The ruby set heart symbol aims to draw attention to life and the possibility of innocent love.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it…

These Heart pieces, like many of my pieces, are not for the traditional masses but designed for individuals to inspire the masses to love.

DSC07182The Lion Project, Nazan’s next collection to be launched- Inspired by the Babylon period in Mesopotamia.

AurumEve: Where do you hope to be in five years?

NazanAlhas:  I hope to own my own boutique! -to see my jewellery worn by leaders of society- the kind of leaders who create opportunities for disadvantaged lives. Nazan Alhas Jewellery aims to be a source of funding and creating projects to help people in need, to provide emotional and social healing for wounded souls. I am in the process of approaching women’s charities to aid them by offering a portion of the proceeds of my sales to support their causes. Through my artistic work, I want to establish quality and trust and a genuine link to our deeper connections.

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AurumEve: Can you tell us about a piece of jewelry that has been significant in your life, and how?

NazanAlhas: Oh yes! My grandmother had given me a beautiful cuff bracelet with corals when I was younger, that I still have {smiles happily}, but at the time it was too big for my tiny wrist. So I tightened it to fit my wrist, and made earrings with the remaining material. It was so lovely to receive this beautiful piece from my grandmother and connect to it artistically in a way that I did not even expect!

All images courtesy of Raymond Bourraine and Nazan Alhas.

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14 Comments on Exclusive Interview with Nazan Alhas Jewellery!

  1. James and Graciete // August 15, 2015 at 3:14 PM // Reply

    Beautiful and ethereal indeed — as is the fine work wrought by Nazan. Congratulations to Nazan on her successes in New York and London, and on her eloquent answers in this interview.

  2. Really nice pieces and great magazine! I especially liked this excerpt “‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it…’ These Heart pieces, like many of my pieces, are not for the traditional masses but designed for individuals to inspire the masses to love.” I love how much thought seems to be put into each of her works; Also how it can certainly be appreciated by the masses but she is more focused on helping the individual ”unlock’ oneself so they can ultimately share this enlightenment, effectively reaching the masses. Great post, keep up the good work!

    • Agreed @Sebastien! I love that the work is highly personal yet has the ability to be appreciated by so many people! Her work is one of a kind!

  3. Loving this interview because of the spiritual and cultural aspect. Great job Aurumeve in finding such a unique designer.

  4. Danielle Denis // July 21, 2015 at 1:17 PM // Reply

    Great interview, absolutely insightful. The artist, and her work, are truly inspiring. Thank you, AurumEve, for introducing us to such soulful beauties.

  5. Thank you Aurum Eve for interview! and introducing Nazan Alhas jewellery in your magazine,
    It was a great pleasure meeting you and big Thank you for featuring our “For Love” collection.

  6. The jewelry is so unique and beautiful! Love the story behind it 🙂

  7. Beautiful! Love your blog and all the artists you introduce us to 🙂

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