Friday, June 9, 2023
27 C
Brunei Town
- Advertisement -

Shine, shine: Glittering for the occasion

Izah Azahari

Growing up, 33-year-old Azri had always dreamt of designing his own line of gemstone jewellery.

In 2017, he took the an opportunity to do so as a convenient way to earn an income while undertaking his postgraduate studies, adding that he needed something he could work on at his own time.

His first few pieces impressed those who he had worked with, and he was encouraged to pursue his own brand. “It became only a matter of working hard to succeed,” he told the Bulletin during an interview.

He found it difficult at first, as he wasn’t consistently making sales for an entire year.

However, towards the end of 2018, he met Fadzil Hadin, the founder of Chantique Brunei, based in Dubai.

“He brought my necklaces to Dubai and I collaborated with him on my first runway there,” he said. His designs next went on a runway in Torrino, then Milan, and from there he began getting a circle of fans and more clients.

Custom jewellery made by Azri @ for a wedding. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI

“Most of the comments I have received are supportive. I was lucky to be surrounded by many successful people who gave such an endorsement, such as Mienan Yunos who wore a few of my jewellery pieces during the 2020 Pelangi Awards.”

Azri never had formal training, and picked up his knowledge through videos and online research. Being self-taught, he went through a lot of trial and error.

“I’ve also discovered two Malaysians who were in jewellery design and learnt from watching them.”

For him, the entire process from design to laying the last stone takes an average of eight hours.

Some could take weeks, depending on whether clients want a similar design made from samples, or something completely unique.

He makes custom brooches, necklaces, earrings, the detailing on dresses – usually for occasions such as weddings or Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“Brooches are much harder than necklaces, and my favourite ones to do would be earrings.”

“My designs can reflect my mood and inspirations,” he said. It is an outlet for him when he is stressed during his studies, he said.

“Sometimes my designs look angry,” he said.

Asked if he would share his knowledge and skills in making jewellery, Azri said that he has had a number of people approach him to teach them, but felt that he still did not have a stable foot in the profession.

“I feel that to teach, I would need to first be more established and knowledgeable in the field.”

It was a challenge to build custom jewellery pieces in Brunei, he said, being limited in materials, as well as exposure. While social media such as Instagram helps, sales in the local market isn’t great.

He has received orders from overseas, however, while he was still actively creating.

He sources most materials from local stores, as buying in bulk didn’t make financial sense, as he wouldn’t be able to use it all up. “I still have materials from the last time I bought in bulk,” he said.

And sometimes, customers balked at the price. “It is one of the problems any designer faces in Brunei. Customers judge the product just based on the materials.

“They do not really value the time and effort spent making the finished piece,” he said.

His business took a dive during COVID-19 as public celebrations and mass gatherings were curtailed. Customers who had booked pieces for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration in 2020 cancelled their orders.

His last customer was at the end of 2021, after which he decided to take a break, with plans of coming back with different, ‘fresher’ designs. “It would be a waste to stop now,” he said, adding he plans to start again soon and, if possible, expand in a few years.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest article

- Advertisement -