Armenian Culture Meets Queenly Jewelry

I’ve recently discovered a passion for exceptional jewelry. Beautiful pieces are beautiful no matter what. But sometimes, stories behind the creation of a certain piece – are as captivating as the item itself.

Scrolling through Instagram, I came across Narinée. It’s a contemporary collection, inspired by the authenticity of the Arminian heritage. Beautifully crafted and designed, the items that this line carries seem to be hidden symbols – each delicately assembled to dress you elegantly and flaunt your details.

Each part is meticulously garnered to reflect the true voice and cultural traits of Armenia. Be it through architecture, dresses, or letters, Narinée embodies the older story of her people in the newest possible form and craftsmanship.

It’s an amalgam between gold-plated and architecture. When I first saw the collection – the Araz earrings in particular, and I have a list of what to get next – I directly fell in love with the contrast and the royal touch that it portrayed. The work itself is so clear-cut and full; they’re fundamentally statement pieces, but they’re incredibly simple.

When you first try to decide on the piece that you want to get, there is a story. It’s like choosing the book based on its title. Once you like the title you go over the summary and then, the book is yours. Narinée’s collection is quite close to that. Each element reveals a deeper story. If you’re familiar with Armenian culture, you’ll love it even more and if you’re not, well, you’re in for an enchanting read!

The range of colors from black, gold and cerulean blue – is bluntly captivating. They don’t go unnoticed, and trust me it’s love at first sight!

Her jewelry line speaks volumes, but here are few words from the designer.
You can shop the collection here. Enjoy!

You’re an interior architect. Why jewelry?
I grew up in a family of designers – my father a fine jewelry designer & manufacturer, my mother an interior designer and my sister a graphic designer – I was therefore always encouraged to develop my artistic skills while being exposed to the different design fields.

Interior architect by education and training, I furthered my education by specializing in multidisciplinary design and industrial design respectively in Alta Scuola Politecnica and Politecnico di Milano. My graduation thesis “Beyond Traditions: Armenian Contemporary Design” was a detailed study of contemporary and innovative designs applied to my own Armenian cultural heritage.

After completing my graduate studies, I moved back to Beirut in 2011 and worked in various disciplines from professional to academic, all the while, determined to make my thesis dissertation a real life project.

The concept behind the jewelry line was therefore already well founded but I spent a lot of time experimenting with materials and shapes, studying the feasibility and improving details. I launched ‘NARINÉE’ in the summer of 2015.

What inspires you?
Materials and textures, construction details, stories, traditions, old and new, architectural details, clients, inputs, books, etc.

My collections are inspired by the rich Armenian architectural and cultural heritage; the essence of all the motifs, symbolism and narratives behind my pieces.

Coming from an architectural background, it feels almost innate to incorporate them in spatial compositions and shapes. My formation in industrial design, on the other hand, has pushed me to experiment and work with an unconventional marriage of materials.

What do the names refer to?
Most of the names from my first collection make reference to Armenian regions, landscapes or architectural monuments, from which the jewelry motifs are extracted from f.e. Kéghart is the name of a monastery dating back to the 12th century.

Whereas my latest collection’s pieces are named after Armenian women. f.e. Hasmig is an Armenian name meaning ‘Jasmine’.

What’s the message behind your pieces?
Sharing a story.
I love seeing my customers narrating about the inspiration behind the piece they’re wearing. Its value doesn’t solemnly reside in its aesthetic beauty; it becomes a conversation starter, a communicator and a way to share and revive traditional and cultural values.

What’s the one thing you wish your client to retain from these pieces?
The joy of wearing them while feeling a special connection to it, whether it’s for the narrative behind it or its symbolism or just a personal resonance in their life.

Can you give us an example of a piece and how it came to life?
The ‘Araks’ and ‘Ani’ series layer rings.
The idea of multi-layering stemmed from the Armenian traditional costumes, rich in layers: each element in the costume was a marker of social status, marital status, role within the family or simply an adornment used as a lucky charm or amulet.

The Araks & Ani series of stackable rings are one example focusing on these elegant details of head adornments, giving to the user the possibility to select different layers/shapes/materials.

The concept of merging traditional with contemporary is also reflected in the choice of materials, mixing gold-plated pieces of traditional craftsmanship – with silicone elements, a relatively contemporary material maneuvered through technological manufacturing techniques.

What’s in the pipeline?
It’s now 2 years since I launched my first jewelry collection, and things have evolved quite harmoniously and I’m very happy with where I’ve reached thus far. It wasn’t easy, but definitely worth it. But the road is still long. This is my stepping stone into bigger projects that I’ve been working on in parallel, I only could wish that over the course of those years, I can evolve as a designer and as a person, invent and reinvent myself.

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