Hania Kuzbari, creative visionary behind the eponymous fine jewelry brand, is maintaining historic traditions of inspired design and fine craftsmanship. What’s more, she is doing this while addressing the modern need for sustainable practice. A true artisan, she is involved in every aspect of the making process from design to production, including ensuring the fair trade sources of all her materials. Her jewels are classically elegant and thus can be effortlessly paired with any ensemble. Simultaneously, everything she designs is reflective of her personal vision to the point of being unique from anything you’d have seen before.
Born and bred in Syria, a region historically known for its exceptional hand-done metalwork, Hania’s graceful aesthetic and interest in jewelry were inevitable. Her passion led to her study goldsmithing and gemology at Toronto’s George Brown College and Florence’s Alchemia Contemporary Jewellery School in Italy. She subsequently became an international exhibitor, presenting work at renowned venues across North America, the Middle East and Europe such as the Toronto and London, England branches of Aga Khan Museum, Canada House and London Fashion Week. In two words, Hania is a global citizen and like any good artist her rich life experiences inform her equally lush creative output.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Hania before her departure to England for her next international exhibition. We discussed her life-long inspirations, creative process, and future plans. We also delved into why expertise, sustainability and narrative are integral to her craft.
From where do you draw inspiration to create your collections?
Usually, any incident that happens around me or anything that catches my eye or draws my attention, I try to imitate in the form of jewelry. I’m attached to the idea and it stays in my mind until I somehow incorporate it in my designs. It represents a part of me and the message I would like to send. I love architecture, specifically the architectural landscape of my homeland; in buildings, houses, or any ornaments that we use in our daily lives.
The Aghabani, Levant and Horseshoe collections were all inspired by the details found in objects, patterns and things we see and use in our daily lives. My Smile collection was my way of replacing the ugliness in the world with beautiful smiling designs filled with hope and meant to give people a reason to smile and spread love.
Can you describe your process of creating a collection, from conception to completion?
As with any design, it starts with inspiration. Then, I draw my design and research the translation of the design into metal. The sizes of stones are then assessed, and I make decisions regarding which colored stones and diamonds to use. We then begin creating a sample of the piece to ensure everything is correct before molding. We sample the piece and wear it to test its functionality and sizing logistics (in terms of things like chain length). Then, we begin the casting process and bring the piece into its final form in gold or silver. After that, the piece is refined and the stones are set. The piece is polished and finalized, and voila!
What is the biggest challenge in creating a collection? What is the biggest reward?
The biggest challenge is coming up with new and trendy collections that people love to wear. Creating long-standing relationships with clients and potential customers is important to ensure they trust the brand and truly appreciate the work. The most rewarding thing to me is when a customer comes back after purchasing the piece to express how much they love wearing it – how happy it makes them feel when they wear it.
If you could choose one piece in your collection that symbolizes you as an artist, what would it be?
I can’t choose a piece that represents me. Each collection represents a different part of me. When I designed the Horseshoe Collection, it was inspired by my childhood memories. I observed the horseshoe symbol hung on doors and walls to bring luck and positive energy. That goes to say that all my collections have a story, and there are many more to come.
Why is it important to you to create not only beautiful jewelry, but also jewelry that is made with sustainability in mind? Where do you source your stones and metals?
I am proud of our process of bringing these beautiful collections to life. Our team and handcrafters are passionate about what they do and about sharing their talent with the world. We only work with conflict-free diamond suppliers. At the heart of the business, we care about being sustainable. That includes caring for our environmental and social impacts regarding the source of our stones and metals. We use fair trade gold as well, meaning miners are being paid fairly for their labor, giving them financial security for themselves and their families.
Right now you have earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and keychains. Do you have any plans to diversify your offerings into other kinds of fashion accessories?
Jewelry is any decorative item that adds a twist to what you’re wearing, making it look pleasant and fun. So, there is always something new to create and design in this realm. Yes, I am working on new ideas and new materials and I’m excited for what’s to come.