Farah Khan Ali
Farah Khan Ali (???? – ) When, in October 2013, Farah Khan became the first Indian designer to launch an online store selling jewelry, it was a logical step for the renowned artist and gemologist. Khan began creating jewelry by chance after taking a course in Gemology at the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California in 1992. She graduated at the top of her class and soon realized she was born for designing.
Despite her famous Bollywood family’s hopes that she would pursue a career in acting or filmmaking, over more than two decades she has established herself as one of India’s most celebrated designers and gemologists. In a 2013 interview with the Indian magazine, The Jewelry Editor, she said that her Bollywood connection did help to propel her success in design.
“The Bollywood angle encouraged customers to walk through the door, but my designs made them stay … (M)ost potential buyers who like my work think my jewelry is super-expensive. To break this myth, my new store is [located] in the biggest high-end jewelry retail market in Mumbai. In the midst of all that competition, I hope that even if guests walk in just to browse, they will realize that my jewelry is equally affordable as my neighbors.”
Khan’s signature style incorporates tigers, snakes, insects, floral motifs and Egyptian heads, encrusted with diamonds and gemstones. As might be expected, she has designed for some of the top Bollywood and Hollywood stars as well as for many of India’s famous families. Her designs can be seen in intricate cocktail rings, chandelier earrings, bold cuffs, and neck pieces that are often chunky, trendy, and classy.
She believes that, “… jewelry should make [the wearer] feel like a princess …no matter how big or small the piece … it should be eye catching and make [one] feel special. I am captivated by our natural environment and any form [or] shape that catches my fancy stimulates me to translate that inanimate thought into an animate object of beauty and art.”
Unusual colors combined with exotic gems are the basis for Farah Khan’s designs and all the pieces are set and crafted utilizing superior manufacturing techniques. This includes the finish.
All Farah Khan pieces are manufactured in house in the 9200 sq. ft. design workshop that houses 80 craftsmen who maintain rigorous quality control and check on every piece her label produces.
Between 2004 and 2010, Farah Khan had five runway shows where she introduced some of her most successful collections. In 2004. It was the Amore Collection that depicted the variety of emotions that fuel love. Ten top female Indian celebrities walked the ramp for her including Lara Dutta, Esha Deol, Celina Jaitley, and Sheetal Mafatlal.
The runway show of 2005 launched the Jamevaar Collection that catered to free-spirited women who live life on their own terms. In 2006, it was the Celestial Collection. It was also the year Khan introduced her first men’s collection.
In 2009, she launched Cascades. It explored the natural flow and forms created by cascading fabric across a woman’s body and translated this graceful elegance into handcrafted jeweled ornaments. The 2010 Adaayein Collection celebrated the rich and varied design traditions of India.
In 2011, Farah Khan’s jewels were seen at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles where well-known personalities wore her jewelry. Celebrities who have been ambassadors for Khan’s pieces include tennis pro Serena Williams and pop star Beyonce.
The latter wears a crown designed by Farah Khan in the artwork for her album, “4.” The inspiration for the crown was “Goddess” and Farah says, “Beyonce is the embodiment of a goddess in the true sense of the term as she is adored for her talent and beauty world over.”
Farah Khan’s many awards include the ”Lion Clubs” Award for Best Jewelry Designer of the year and the “Retail Jewelers Award” for Most Innovative Jewelry of 2010. In February 2011, Farah Khan Ali was awarded the “Great Women’s Achievement Award” for her contribution to the field of Jewelry.
In December 2011, Farah won “Best Fashion Contemporary Jewelry” at the Indian Jewelers choice design awards and in 2012, Farah Khan Fine Jewelry was chosen by the Retail Jewelers body as one of the “Trendsetters” for the year.
The year 2015 saw the launch of the second edition of the Farah Khan collection, designed exclusively by her for Tanishq. The collection extends this elaborate diamond jewelry line first launched in 2014 that mixes diamonds and other precious stones.
According to Farah, the designs are a take on the “…royal rhapsody of the Persian and Mughal aesthetics, presented in a contemporary perspective. This collection is a recreation of a glorious era of grandeur, splendor and preciousness. Using intricate floral and bird motifs, it marks a royal celebration of exotic new forms, inspired by striking silhouettes and enchanting colors,” says Farah.
The collections include pieces with intricate floral designs that have both traditional and modern appeal. An assortment of earrings, finger rings and pendant sets, the beautiful diamond accessories are crafted in 18k yellow gold with different stones like rubies, emeralds, pearls, citrine, amethysts, topaz and several others that make the designs traditional yet contemporary.
Over more than twenty years, the Farah Khan Fine Jewelry brand has emerged as a desirable high-end fine jewelry brand in the Indian Market and is also recognized worldwide for quality and craftsmanship.
In her Jewelry Editor interview, Farrah expanded on her inspirations and work ethic. “Designs need to have a definite language. I believe in reinventing the past along with creating something new.
“I make jewelry to suit not just Indian garments but also Western outfits. Most of my inspiration comes from nature. I absolutely love designing bejeweled, three-dimensional animals and insects so that they appear almost alive.
“I use only gemstones that are lively and have a beautiful luster [in] stones that sparkle and leave a twinkle in the eye.”