GFG Jewellery By Nilufer AW17 Interview
We spoke to fellow gemstone lover Nilufer Kizilkaya about her brands, GFG Jewellery, AW17 collection and why she never runs out of inspiration
What sparked your interest in jewellery design and when did you decide to make it a career?
My interest in jewellery began from childhood. I was born in Istanbul which has this wonderful heritage of a city that has been highly opulent throughout history. I think I was also lucky to be born into a family where my mother and grandmother had a great appreciation for jewellery, with a view that jewellery was a key attribute to your everyday wear.
It was in 2001 that I decided that I wanted to follow a career in jewellery design, and from there I studied the silversmith craft and broadening my knowledge on the business I was so keen to build.
Tell us about where you trained in jewellery design?
My early career was actually in investment banking following an MA degree in Economics. I knew from an early stage that I wanted to work in jewellery design so I eventually took the plunge into studying the silversmith craft, technical drawing, fashion marketing and interior design at various colleges in London including Central St Martins, Chelsea College of Arts and the Jewellery School of London.
It was through my studies that I realised the importance of a strong knowledge of the different gemstones so I’m also a GIA alumni.
Above all of my studies however, I believe that the time spent with and being trained by artisans at the Grand Bazaar has given me the most invaluable inside knowledge, and that training is very much an on-going process.
Tell us about the inspiration for the AW17 collection? Do you find it easy to find inspiration or do you have to search for it?
I believe that this creativity is set in your DNA and thankfully inspiration comes very easy to me, so this might be the luck of being an only child. Although I was born in Istanbul, I was partially raised in Amsterdam, have spent time in Madrid and am currently based in London. I think you become very observant of your surroundings when you have lived among different cultures whether it’s a conscious effort or not. I also love travelling, so inspiration is really the easy aspect for me.
I rely heavily on mood boards throughout the creative process as I am always in need of narrowing down my ideas. The actual design starts after I have purchased the gemstones and I am able to visualise the design more clearly once I have the physical gems in front of me.
Describe the collection in three words?
Fiery, geometrical, elegant.
What was the most difficult part about bringing the collection together?
Narrowing down the ideas is always the most difficult part as it has to flow while I always have the intention of the ability to mix and match all collections together as well.
And the most rewarding part about bringing the collection together?
When the clients fall in love with the items and wear them as a part of their daily lives.
Which celebrity would you love to see wearing your creations and why?
I create jewellery for everyone but I do admire strong woman with a voice – I would love to see my designs on the likes of Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson for this reason.
This is the first year in the new BFC show space– how was the experience for you?
I think it was a great move by the BFC to move LFW to this space, as to have all jewellery designers together in a really strong great space gave us the necessary attention. Personally I do love LFW as I believe that jewellery is such a significant part of your daily expression, much like your clothing and accessories.
What are your ways of dealing with a design block?
I have been lucky enough not to have many of those, but the best way for me to clear my mind is exercise – anything from yoga to spinning. I see this as the time of not to be able to concentrate on anything else then the physical aspect of it and this gives my mind a break.
Do you have a favourite jewellery designer?
To be honest I love many designers – everyone has their own style. Though there are only a few I would personally wear. Artisans that I do love for their creativity are Sevan Bicakci, Stephen Webster and Lorraine Schwarz.
As a London based designer what are your thoughts on Brexit and the impact it may have on your business?
That is actually something that has a deep impact on me. By nationality I am Dutch, though I have lived in the UK for a long while and the Anglo-Dutch relationship is historically very strong. As such, it does have an impact, evoking sadness that is very much on an emotional level.
On the financial side, all gemstones and precious metals are priced in USD and we have already substantially lost much of our purchasing power due to the devaluation of the British Pound. Being out of the single market, I am sure that the UK will stand strong but until the bilateral trade agreements are in place, for any company the operational side – i.e. paperwork that will be involved – is currently up in the air.
On a business level I don’t expect there to be much impact as we in a growing stage in a very large sphere.
We would love to expand to the US and the Middle East in future.