Armed with a unique aesthetic and flair for the culturally dramatic, Nigora Tabayer is an up-and-coming jewelry designer. She launched her namesake brand and debut fine jewelry collection, Eye, at the high-profile Paris Fashion Week with a retinue of VIP guests, friends, and global models Caroline Vreeland and Coco Rocha. We spoke to Ms. Tabayer to understand more about her eponymous brand.
Just how big an influence were your parents in shaping your design perspectives?
My parents were a huge influence in shaping my design perspectives. They were both very creative, so I guess you could say it’s in my DNA. As a young person, I would spend time watching my mom work on her designs and I was constantly exposed to creative people who were creating beautiful things. Of course, as an architect, my dad was always sketching. They were definitely very encouraging of the arts, but they didn’t force me into it; they were open to letting me pursue my own path. Initially, that was business management, in which I have a degree. But that was not my passion and I didn’t love it. I loved designing, and so I ultimately decided that I needed to follow my passion.
Did you receive any formal training in jewelry or accessory design? (After all, talisman jewels are not a unique idea but your execution is remarkable)
As the expression goes, it’s just in my blood, so no, I didn’t receive any formal training. I grew up in central Asia, but I also travel a lot. I’m exposed to beautiful things that inspire me everywhere I go. And when I was young, my mom would put an eye on me everywhere I went to protect me. That’s what inspired my first design, which I did for myself. My pieces are definitely luxury pieces, but it’s more than that. Everything I create is fine jewelry that has meaning.
You mentioned that a big source of inspiration was your mother’s jewelry collection, can you share what some of the crucial pieces have shaped the unique aesthetics of your own namesake collection?
I wouldn’t say there were only one or two pieces. I just love jewelry in general. I love going to and being a part of shows. It’s my passion. Growing up, I remember my mom had so many beautiful pieces that I couldn’t wait to wear. There were earrings and diamond bracelets. I was always drawn to the pieces that had more design rather than those that centered on the stone.
The “Evil Eye” is named frequently as a design motif for you, was that largely inspired by your own cultural experiences in Central Asia?
Yes, that’s definitely the source of the inspiration. The eye has become more universally known now, so you’ll see it throughout the world and not only in Central Asia. It’s a very positive, protective symbol, which is why I love it so much.
What was your first real piece of jewelry?
My very first creation was a piece I designed for myself. It was a pendant with an eye – my initial N and the eye. I still have it and wear it all the time.
Emeralds and diamonds feature very strongly in your collections, are these your favorite stones?
To me, all stones are special and have special meaning. I love them. So I’m always looking to make something beautiful with any type of stone. Often it’s an emerald or a sapphire or a diamond because they fit with the idea and the design, but it doesn’t have to be. If a customer wants a different stone—one that has a meaning to them—then I work with them. Stones of every kind are very special.
As an upcoming designer, what was it like preparing for Paris Fashion Week?
It was so much fun. I love meeting new people. It was an incredible experience and it was very special to me.
Lastly, what wisdom can you impart to other aspiring designers hoping to debut in Paris?
Have patience. Follow your heart and follow your dreams 100 percent. It’s not always an easy thing to come by, but it’s so rewarding. So if I had one piece of advice, it would be to never stop trying and never stop pushing.