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By Sadaf Siddiqui
Precious and semi-precious stones always manage to please the eyes and conquer hearts. A jewellery exhibition titled ‘Parayish’ — a word derived from Persian, literally meaning adornment — comprises exclusive collection of jewelled pieces designed by Parveen Khan, which have a timeless appeal.
Residing in Lahore, Parveen Khan was motivated to design jewellery from her travels around the world. Different gems and stones inspired her and sparked in her a passion for jewellery. This resulted in designing her own collection using a mix of precious and semi-precious stones that render rubies, tourmaline, aquamarine, amethyst and the like in creative and innovative designs.
“I was always fond of art and jewellery. The various, stark and unique colours of the stones inspired me to start designing jewellery myself. Previously the jewellery handed down from one generation to another was such that it was kept in lockers only. While travelling, the realisation dawned that jewellery should be wearable and practical as well. It should not be stored for special and big occasions only but should be worn by women to office parties, gatherings of friends and the like.”
Initially starting off with holding exhibitions at her house in Tech Society, Parveen introduced her collection for the first time internationally in Northern California in June 2002. The exhibition was a huge hit with the crowds for its creative designs, brilliant colour contrasts and quality gemstones. Since then, Parveen Khan has gained a name for her work and has held various displays in Toronto, San Francisco, San Jose, Houston, Dallas, Dubai, Karachi and of course Lahore. While in Karachi she displays her collection in a shop at Zamzama, in Lahore as yet she has no proper outlet and her upcoming exhibition is to be held at the Hamail Art Gallery in Gulberg.
Basically inspired from the past, Parveen likes to create new styles with the same traditional touch. “My aim is to create an element of surprise. It can be termed as transforming the past into the present or turning dreams into reality with quality products and the aid of skilled, specialised artisans.” At present, Parveen is just happy entertaining would-be buyers at her house and being free from the tensions of running around from one place to the next to showcase ‘Parayish’.
But even then the designing process is not simply a matter of drawing and ordering. For a jewel is born after a long and arduous process including high temperatures and other complicated processes. First of all is the designing phase in which jewellery design sketches are made beginning with extensive research into trends in colours and textures. The sketches are then sent to the lapidary technician who is responsible for eliciting from each gem the best sparkle and shine. Many different styles of lapidary polishing exist. One of the most common is called the brilliant or round cut which has 58 facets cut into a round stone.
Pair of earrings, though, needs to be cut more carefully as they must be perfectly matched. In the next stage, the goldsmith determines the design proportions of height, depth, and width and the best way to execute it in order to bring it to life in gold or other precious metals.
Then comes the setting of the stones in gold. The setter carefully places the stones into their mounts avoiding scratching them or any other damage. The final stage is polishing. Traditionally, gold was polished to a mirror-like finish but texture has grown very popular in recent years. A different kind of rotating brush is used to achieve each type of finish. As Parveen says “It’s the grand finale. In man’s hands nature is transformed into jewels, dreams, and emotions.”
From complete sets to individual pairs of earrings, bracelets and even rings, Parveen’s classic and daring designs are beautifully crafted to be treasured and worn often. Each individual piece is stamped with the 22 karat gold trademark and prices fluctuate depending on the make of the jewellery items, the use and cut of the stones, et cetera.
A necklace and earrings set made from rose quartz, diamonds and tourmaline would definitely cost more than an emerald and zircon set. Whatever the costs, Parveen likes to reiterate the fact that her jewellery is for women from all walks of life, open to and affordable by many.
Her first exhibition in California has left Parveen with many a heart-warming response, encouraging remarks and praises from many. And of course, the sales too were very good. She remembers a woman who came up to her saying “Parveen, I don’t know what to buy and what not to buy.”
Leaving that aside, Parveen is trying to reach out to the masses more. And because stones of all shapes, sizes and colours remain in vogue always, Parveen hopes to be of service to jewellery aficionados.