We are very proud to launch the collections of recent graduates from the Turquoise Mountain Institute of traditional arts. When a country is in turmoil, the arts can be the first thing to go. The school is a 3 year course that gives a City and Guild accreditation upon graduation, with the aim to revive and find new markets for traditional Afghan arts and craft and architecture.
We are showing the work of 11 students whose work is exciting, beautifully made, full of story and meaning. I visited the design centre in Kabul last year to give a set of briefs and hold talks and discussions with the students about ideas and inspirations for the collections we are now showing.
We are so proud to be supporting them and giving a show case for their beautiful work at
201 Westbourne Grove
Meet the students and their stories…
Ajmal Hakimi was born in Kabul, surrounded by jewellery-making cousins in his family. Despite his father’s dreams of Ajmal becoming a lawyer or engineer, he graduated in 2015 from school and followed his passion at the Turquoise Mountain Institute to learn how to create jewellery.
His Khana (home) collection is made of different textures and material to represent components of a house. He also incorporates lattice patterns to represent windows, and a more textured pattern to represent walls and the base of a house.
Shazia Amiri started jewellery making at Jaweed Noori Jewellery Production in 2012 and managed to start her own business with two other female jewellers in 2013. Shazia never thought her family would allow her to work independently, but seeing as she was working with other women and how Turquoise Mountain provides them a safe space to do so, Shazia is able to work freely.
Shazia’s Gul collection is her first collection that she has designed, with the help of her colleague Nasrin. Her inspiration was Moghul motifs, where she simplifies patterns and/or uses only a small part of a pattern to create minimalist pieces.
Monawar Shah was born in Kabul in an established jeweller family in Kabul who worked for the king as his personal jewellery makers. Having graduated from the Turquoise Mountain Institute in 2012, Monawar has now set up his own Jewellery workshop in the old city of Kabul where he works with his younger brothers and sisters.
Monawar’s collection is inspired by nature. His main subject is pistachios and its natural movement of the shell opening when the seed is ripened. The stones he uses are roughly cut peridot to capture the colour of pistachio.
Other Talented Students
Arif Khan Khaliqi comes from a long line of coppersmiths, and decided to learn jewellery making as it was close to his family trade. After graduating from Turquoise Mountain Institute, he now works in one of the jewellery workshops where he tries to make a living for himself and his newly wedded wife.
Arif’s Dorang Collection is inspired by Islamic geometry that is used in Afghanistan architecture. Arif loves traditional architecture and meanings behind shapes. His designs are traveling around the world for him, which gives him hope to look forward to follow his dreams through his jewellery.
Nasrin Ibrahimi is a self taught Jeweller that found her passion after 25 years of teaching chemistry at public schools After her return home from Peshawar, she started to work as an entry level chain maker in one of the jewellery workshops. She learnt the basics of jewellery making before she started her own workshop two other female jewellers. Nasrin never went back to teaching, instead she focused on jewellery making and perfecting the craft.
Being one of the most educated jewellers, Nasrin takes pride in designing her own collections and going far and beyond to make sure she is a step ahead. Her Panjara (cage) collection is inspired by Moghul art and architectural motifs and focuses on movement. Her necklaces have a mechanism that can be opened and closed. She likes the idea of her customer keeping something hidden inside the chest – a prayer, a secret or something close to their heart.
Idrees Sadat is from Kabul and started jewellery making in his dad’s workshop alongside his elder brothers. Idress was interested in gems and jewellery making for a long time, and his ultimate goal was always to work towards a viable business where he could employ other jewellers. Idress is now working independently with a team of 10 jewellers. He is also working with national and international designers to produce their lines. He also enjoys having his own line of jewellery, which brings him a lot of pride.
Idree’s new collection Rangin Kaman, is inspired by stones’ natural shapes. Idress likes to use gems in their natural forms and keep them at the central focus of his work.
Masooda Kohistani started jewellery making when she was only 16 years old. Her parents allowed her to go to the workshop after school as she was passionate about jewellery making. She started her own workshop in the incubation space that was provided to her by Turquoise Mountain. Massoda works along to female jewellers and has been selling in national and international markets.
Masooda’s Mohandisi collection is inspired by Afghanistan’s 14th century architecture.
Saeeda Etebari is the maker of the The Emerald Necklace that was designed by Pippa Small and was displayed at the Smithsonian Museum, Buckingham Palace and Clarance House. Saeeda’s family immigrated out of Afghanistan into Peshawar where she was born. She returned to her home Kabul after the fall of Taliban and started learning jewellery-making at The Turquoise Mountain Institute.
Saeeda has her workshop where she produces one-off pieces. Her latest Cherma collection is inspired by her grandmother’s traditional Kochi dress.
Zabi Akbari is a gem-cutter from a family of gem sellers and jewelles in the Parwarn Province. He started working in his uncle’s workshop from a very young age. Later he learnt professional gem-cutting at Turquoise Mountain Institute and started his own workshop as soon as he graduated.
Zabi’s Monaar collection is inpired by Islamic architecture. He has picked up his shapes rom the monaar’s of the mosques.
Waris Sadat is 17 years old and loves to design and make his own jewellery. He often goes to his father’s workshop to learn jewellery making. His dream is to have his own one day like both his father and his uncle. He sees his future in jewellery making as a professional designer and jewellery maker.