Tanya Farah launched her collection over ten years ago and since then has been designing pieces that are feminine, wearable and beautifully detailed. Tanya feels, “Women want jewelry with designs that are understated, creative, unique and manage to express their individuality. They also want jewelry that accentuates their beauty and yet works on all levels of their hectic lives.” Her use of rich yellow gold and beautiful colored stones immediately intrigued me and drew me to her work.
|Q&A with Tanya Farah|
What inspired you to pursue a career in jewelry design after earning your Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology and consulting with Fortune 500 companies?
My first exposure to the magical world of jewelry, and the inspiration for my career, was when I was a little girl in Iran. I remember sitting on my glamorous grandma's bed one night when she was dressing up to go out. She opened her jewelry box, sparkling with diamonds and precious gems. Eyes widened with amazement, I asked her, "Are those real?" She laughed lovingly and assured me they were. Then she proceeded to try on different sets, one more magnificent than the other. Watching her, I was hooked. But as I grew older, it became clear to me that my family prioritized academic excellence above all else, which meant that pursuing an artistic career was out of the question.
So, I attained my Ph.D. at the age of 26 and after a few years in the corporate world and some serious soul-searching, I took my first steps towards my journey in jewelry-making. I started out by taking design classes, which then grew into a private apprenticeship with a well-known designer in New York City. In 2001, I finally launched my line at a design show and literally sold out. I knew I found my calling. Until now, when I design and manufacture jewelry, my litmus test for each design is the feeling of awe I had as a little girl, seeing my grandma's splendid jewels for the first time.
My inspiration is also sustained by my desire to prove myself as a successful female entrepreneur. I come from a family of successful male entrepreneurs, and I always felt like the burden fell on me to show that a woman can do it too. Starting my own jewelry line made me the first woman in my family to become an entrepreneur. I have always been a women's rights advocate. I love the idea of a woman running her own business! I can't discredit the hardships I face, but even on the days that I want to close my door and cry (trust me I do sometimes), I still love the freedom and independence of running my business. I love bringing my ideas to life and watching them grow. I always wanted to leave a legacy and I do this by producing pieces that I am proud of, that embody femininity and strength.
Describe your design process.
My design process differs from project to project. The process starts and ends in New York City where everything is designed, casted, and produced! Some of my designs start from hand sketched drawings to a hand carved wax, into a mold then finally the jewelry. Many start directly from wax. Several times I find myself sitting with my wax carver, translating my vision as he brings it to form. My design process is similar to writing a book. When one begins the writing process, their creativity takes form within the pages. It's much like my designing. I get more creative as the designing process continues. I start adding this and changing that. I'm always looking to be different, but produce something that expresses formidable style with functionality and purpose.
Where do you find inspiration?
I draw much of my inspiration from my own Persian heritage, which is rich in art and history. I also draw a lot of inspiration from traveling. Visiting and experiencing so many parts of the world has allowed me to incorporate many artistic elements from various cultures into my designs. Many aspects of the natural world inspire me as well. In many of my pieces, you will find integrated elements of the beauty of the flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, etc. The world around us is an inspiration, we just have to pay attention to the beauty of nature, of new and familiar places.
I want Tanya Farah pieces to tell a story of a strong woman, but the story is designed to be open-ended. Every piece eventually reflects the clients' own stories and beautiful memories that will later be passed down the line, transforming with every generation.
Your collection features some really beautiful and unique colored
stones, do the stones inspire those designs or vice versa?
Certain stones inspire many of my one of a kind, unique pieces. I purchase my stones in Tucson. Searching through gorgeous and special gems for my line can sometimes make me feel like a child in a candy store. I want one of each in every color and shape. I can't help myself. I'll see a beautiful bamboo from Australia and I won't know exactly what to do with it, but it will eventually come to me.
What is next for Tanya Farah?
My goals have always included making an impact on the jewelry industry as well as the rest of the world. With that being said, I want my hard work and dedication to continue. For me as an artist, it never stops. I am so proud of the success the Tanya Farah Jewelry collection has already achieved and I want to make sure it continues and grows.