Jewellery designer Madyha Farooqui unlocks her vault and talks about her venture, The Gem Suite. Specialising in precious stones and diamonds, Madyha has established her business in Lahore and New York. She shares her journey of how her passion turned into her brainchild
How/when did you become interested in jewellery?
Ever since I was a child, I was attracted to sparkling objects. I would always finger through my mother’s open jewellery boxes and admire the pieces that she had in there, some newer pieces, other’s heirlooms passed down through generations of women in my family.
What are your favourite pieces of jewellery (precious or costume)?
That’s a dangerous question to ask a jewellery designer! I have acquired and inherited a tonne of jewellery both precious and costume, new and vintage, designed by other brands and my own designs as well. It’s safe to say if I own it, I love it for some intrinsic design aspect. That said, I do have a stunning, massive, carved crystal and brass necklace and pendant I purchased from Lanvin, many years ago. I also love my 22ct Colombian emerald and diamond cocktail ring. The emerald is a stunning perfect example of a Colombian emerald and it’s huge – my friends have nicknamed it, the “Colombian boyfriend” because it demands to be counted as a whole person in any room it enters.
Where did you get them? Share a story with us about how you acquired one of your favourite pieces?
I acquired the emerald in India, by luck. My gem dealer pulled out this exquisite gem which was out of my budget but I walked out owning it! The Lavin necklace was purchased during one of my business travels. The first time I wore this piece, it slipped from my grasp, and went crashing to the marble floor beneath. Let’s just say I went through a lot to salvage the piece. This piece is design museum quality, so I try to preserve it and wear it carefully, when and if I do.
Is there any piece you are emotionally attached to and why?
I’m emotionally attached to any object that is a family heirloom or gifted to me on an occasion. If it was worn or kept in the home of a grand or great-grand parent for example, I have many such pieces. Whenever I look through my collection and come across older pieces that I don’t wear as much anymore, I still remember the occasions, places, moments they were presented to me. Jewellery almost always evokes memory, and more often than not, it reminds us of wonderful important milestones or relationships in our lives.
Is there anything on your radar that you want to get or make in the future?
The list is too long to even try to get into! I’m constantly at the auction houses, or estate shops looking for vintage items. However, as a jewellery designer, I’m in a constant state of creating – therefore there’s always something that I’m in want of, but that desired acquisition is almost always gemstones and not finished jewellery. Designing jewellery is a creative and artistic outlet for me and while it’s not without its challenges and frustrations, like any business - I do feel grateful to also have this as my career.
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