Our experiences during childhood have a power to direct our lives into where we ought to be in the future, despite the winding road that we have to go to get there. Maybe it’s why we love asking children about their dreams and what they want to be—because these details make a mark and help the young ones find what they want to pursue later in their adult life.
Ana Khouri, a current well-celebrated modern jeweler has such a background; with jewelry becoming a common part of her life since she was young. She can vividly remember her mother picking out jewelry first, even before choosing her outfit for the next day. Who would have thought that it would take her to her current modern-day fame for producing topnotch jewelry?
While she was born in Brazil, Ana Khouri have travelled back and forth New York and Sao Paolo all throughout her childhood. She didn’t set out to have a career in jewelry-making right away, as she took a sculpture course in art school. However, such time spent learning about sculpture gave huge inspiration to her jewelry designs, especially the earliest ones she has launched.
Encouraged and filled with ideas from her experience of showcasing her work with nude models, she then continued studying at Central Saint Martins in London, but this time, with a jewelry design course. She was able to have a break through when she created her eponymous label and impressed the jewelry industry with her fresh designs.
The brand’s signature style
Credit: Makeup artist Deanna Hagan gives model Sheila Marquez a barely there look for an Ana Khouri jewelry shoot with photographer Matthew Sprout.
From its launching in 2002, the Ana Khouri brand experimented with various earring structure and design, breaking boundaries and exploring possibilities of extending traditional structures. Surprising forms and molds are are signature styles of the label, with inspirations coming from works of Alexander Calder and Richard Serra.
The rise of the label to fame is characterized by its yellow and white gold pieces, of course with a touch of sculptural features. The proportions, precision and design of each piece gives off a feeling of affinity to geometry, shown by their mismatched earrings and playful take on traditional silhouettes.
The label shapes its designs on its common modern clientele: empowered women or men who buy their own jewelry. They are called the “self-purchase” market, a growing portion of the population who often would not wait for jewelry to be gifted to them, and instead purchase them on their own.
Ethereal look and eternal quality
Photo: John Aquino
The brand’s founder easily jumps onto her love for sculpture and how she uses jewelry as medium every time she is asked about her designs. Such deep passion for what she does translates to the charm of the brand’s pieces, with their looks that are beyond beautiful, and their essence beyond just looking gorgeous. The ethereal appearance of Ana Khouri’s jewelries shows their oneness with the vast, majestic space, and making them more than just extravagant accessories.
With such deep meaning behind the brand’s pieces, it is apparent that the brand’s jewelry are all coming from an artist’s perspective and not just a view of a business person or a commercial jeweler. With the use of a very traditional material like the timeless yellow gold, which is admittedly Khouri’s favorite material to work with, the brand is able to connect the modern take of the design with the classical feel of gold.
On top of the usual gold pieces are accents that range from pearls, diamond, emeralds, garnets, and other colored gemstones, being more able to convey a feminine feel without losing the elegance and beauty of the pieces. Another thing that never goes missing in the brand’s items are the notion of intimacy, stemming from Khouri’s profound belief that pieces of jewelry can establish a deep connection with their wearers. From this thought came the inspiration of having female names to label the brand’s styles for a more intimate feel. Example of such names are Lourdes, Norah, Francesca, Ophelia, and Gina.
Reception and recognition
One of the most acclaimed collection of the brand is the ‘Dichotomy’ collection launched in 2016, with gorgeous curved slide and drop earrings made with diamond-encrusted yellow and white gold. Such kind of collection, plus other gorgeous pieces brought the jewelry designer to heights, even awarded in 2017 with a special ANDAM prize for young talent in the accessories category.
Another measure of the great reception of public to the brand’s jewelries are the numerous celebrities and known personalities proudly wearing the brand’s pieces. Some of these big names include Katy Perry, Emma Watson, Lupita Nyong’o, Lily James, Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Zoe Kravitz. Not only do these celebrities wear Ana Khouri on the red carpet and evening parties, but also casually, as the brand’s pieces can work as easily with t-shirt, jeans and slip-ons, as they also seamlessly blend in with a gown or a gorgeous dress.
Jewelry connoisseurs and enthusiasts rejoiced about the recent expansion of Ana Khouri into the bridal industry, 15 years after its creation. Despite the heavy competition in the bridal market, the young brand was unfazed, with the direction and inspiration from Ana Khouri herself.
The label brought in a new viewpoint in the design of engagement rings, with its unique open-band design. It’s as if ‘imperfection’ is highlighted, which in turn, makes them perfect. Also, just a hint of gems are added on some of the pieces, to make an understated elegant look.
But beyond how the rings look, their symbolism is on a different level, altogether. Khouri herself explained the reason behind the open bands, where she mentions the difference of marriages for each couple; some even not wanting to get married, but live together. Hence, the rings on the bridal collection include some that can easily be commitment symbols, and not exactly wedding bands—another proof of the label’s modern take on their pieces.