When you design and make jewelry, you are not always creating within yourself. It’s just as important to see what other designers are doing. Not to copy, but to get inspiration for my designs.
Or simply pause in admiration for the other person and enjoy all that beauty. It also sometimes has something familiar, like Ilgiz Fazulzyanov.
The beginning of a career in the jewelry world
Ilgiz Fazulzyanov was born in 1968 in the Republic of Tatarstan. That is a province in the western part of European Russia and is located more than 700 kilometers east of Moscow.
He was 8 years old when he began to take an interest in art, which led to training at the Art Academy of Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, where he graduated as a designer in 1990. He initially started his art career as a designer of stained glass and silk, where traditional motifs of the Tartars predominated.
In his hometown of Zelenodolsk, he came across a group of artists on a mission. They wanted to bring the traditional jewelry of the Volga Tartars back to flourish. Ilgiz Fazulzyanov then had the idea to open his store in 1992, where he sold his jewelry.
Design was his profession, so that was not a problem, but he initially had to learn the technique of making jewelry from books. And a lot of practice with instruments adopted from a dentist and materials from chemistry.
From Volga Tartars to Art Nouveau and Art Deco
Initially, the jewelry designs were mainly based on the traditional colors and shapes that were common in the culture of the Volga Tartars.
But time and development continued and after he came into contact with the style of Art Nouveau, it became his source of inspiration. This style makes extensive use of flowers and natural colors and shapes.
When Art Nouveau was ‘replaced’ by Art Deco, his designs took on more geometric shapes.
Ilgiz Fazulzyanov is not a designer who makes designs that he only likes and does not care about the customer’s wishes. He goes much further.
When he receives an order for a piece of jewelry, he wants to meet the customer, get to know her, what her preferences are, what she looks like, and what her tastes are. Only then did he design a piece of jewelry that was completely tailored to the customer.
King of the enamel
But we are moving a bit too fast because Ilgiz Fazulzyanov wanted so badly to execute his jewelry designs himself that he practiced almost non-stop to master the technique and he succeeded.
Only 2 years after starting as a jewelry designer and jewelry maker, Ilgiz Fazulzyanov won first prize in 1994 at an international competition for jewelry designers from Muslim countries with a frame for a Koran.
When a friend from St Petersburg came to visit in 1996, they thought he should try working with enamel. You were able to achieve such beautiful colors and especially so much variation in colors. After all, Fabergé had proven that with his Easter eggs for the Russian Tsar.
That visit had major consequences. Working with email is difficult, very difficult. You work with high temperatures, the enamel may crack and the colors may not turn out completely to your satisfaction. The latter was important, as he wanted to combine the enamel colors with gemstones.
The word ‘enamel’ comes from the Old German word ‘smelzan’, which means to melt. This technique has probably been used by jewelry makers, especially in the East and around the Mediterranean, since the 12th or 13th century BC.
The technique Ilgiz Fazulzyanov uses is called ‘hot enamel’, which means that a glass-like paste or enamel is applied to silver or gold and fired in an oven of more than 950 degrees. That 950 degrees is the melting point of enamel, but that of gold is 900 degrees. The two materials merge, as it were. But the temperature does not have to be a fraction too high or the enamel layer will crack.
In an interview, Ilgiz Fazulzyanov explains why he started enameling, a particularly difficult technique to master. He indicates that he misses the shade, nuances, and variations in the colors of the gemstones.
This lack meant that his ideas for jewelry designs never fully became a reality. And he was able to achieve that by using enamel.
Moreover, he liked to work out his designs in wax and the technique of enameling could be perfectly combined with this. It is not without reason that Ilgiz Fazulzyanov has been called the king of enamel for more than 25 years.
A nice advantage is that it is so difficult to get a perfect result when using enamel that others cannot copy it. Something I appreciate! After all, a woman is unique and therefore does not need to wear jewelry that everyone already wears.
Ilgiz Fazulzyanov becomes known all over the world
In 1997 he designed a collection in France using clear and stained-glass enamel. The French went wild with enthusiasm and he appeared in all the famous magazines, such as le Matin and de Figaro. And he was allowed to exhibit everywhere in France.
But famous jewelry houses such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and Tiffany’s also wanted to collaborate with him. The President of Tatarstan even gives designs by Ilgiz Fazulzyanov to his guests.
Ultimately, Ilgiz Fazulzyanov moved out into the world and since 2012 you can find him and his collections in New York, Paris, Tokyo, and Geneva. But don’t think that the same jewelry can be found in every store. He designs and makes his collection for every city, for every country, based on their culture.
Ilgiz Fazulzyanov designs and makes all his jewelry himself. He mixes modern styles and traditional shapes, colors, and materials to create the most beautiful jewelry. But his favorite style, from which he draws a lot of inspiration, is Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
He is appreciated in the jewelry design world and has received many recognition awards, such as the Grand Prix of the International Jewelry Design Excellence Award in Hong Kong, which he won in 2011 and 2013.
In 2014, Ilgiz Fazulzyanov won a competition organized by the Ministry of Culture of Russia and the main prize was a solo exhibition at the Kremlin in Moscow. This exhibition took place in 2016. It was the first jewelry designer with a solo exhibition since Fabergé. But since 2000, Ilgiz Fazulzyanov has been regularly featured in important exhibitions in Russia.
Ilgiz Fazulzyanov has created many theme collections, such as the last ‘Great Mountains’ consisting of 5 rings, which depicted the largest mountains on this earth.
In this blog I would like to highlight 2 theme collections, starting with the Portafortuna collection, consisting of 72 pendants or amulets, which show the results of the rich creative mind of Ilgiz Fazulzyanov.
Portafortuna means amulet or talisman in Italian, or actually; something that brings happiness’. Each pendant in this collection has a deeper meaning or symbolism for the wearer.
An amulet is often passed on from generation to generation, especially if it is said to bring good luck. Ilgiz Fazulzyanov wants to give the wearer more energy with these amulets, in addition to good luck of course.
The natural motifs (Art Nouveau style) are combined with legends from different cultures, such as Egypt, India or China. So everyone can find something in this collection that appeals to her inner self, where an exclusive and beautiful piece of jewelry is added to the motifs and legends.
From a different collection but using the same motifs are these elephant earrings, which are made of rubies, aquamarine, diamonds, and white gold. They symbolize the traditional family values of loyalty, love, and well-being.
Bovet watch collection
In 2016, the watch brand Bovet announced that they were entering into an exclusive collaboration with Ilgiz Fazulzyanov. Ilgiz Fazulzyanov was supposed to enamel 13 dials of unique watches, all of which were different. The 13 watches would initially be displayed in the Kremlin.
The dials have themes of mythology and nature. Knights appear on each dial, indicating to the wearers that their decisions affect not only their own lives but those of the entire world.
It took Ilgiz Fazulzyanov 6 months of design and training to get the dials made according to his quality standards and ideas.
Ilgiz Fazulzyanov is a great jewelry designer, who I admire more than anything. Unfortunately, the designs are a bit too pricey for my wallet, but it is a joy to look at them.
Moreover, there are some similarities in how FlorenceJewelshop and Ilgiz Fazulzyanov view designing and making jewelry. We both believe that all designs should only be executed once. We both believe that you should look carefully at the customer to offer or make the right piece of jewelry for her from your collection.
We both work with gemstones and find culture as a source of inspiration. And there the comparison, if it applies at all, ends entirely. I recognize my superior in this virtuoso jewelry designer.
FlorenceJewelshop has brought together the stories behind the gemstones and birthstones, which Ilgiz Fazulzyanov regularly uses, in an e-book. Are you interested in this free digital edition? Then you can download it via the link: https://florencejewelshop.com/the-stories-of-the-birthstones-lp/. Or use the form published here.
Florence from FlorenceJewelshop