By Lama Alem
Named the youngest Saudi jewelry designer at age 18, Lillian Ismail has been gaining repute for her jewelry line, Banajir by Lillian Ismail.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a freshman at Pratt Institute in New York, a proud graduate of Dar AlFikr School in Jeddah (2013). I grew up under the hands of a fashionable and artistic mother who helped me become the artist I am today.
How did your jewelry line, Banajir by Lillian Ismail, come to life?
It all started as a high school graduation project at Dar AlFikr. After months of brainstorming, I decided to create a collection that would help in solving two major local problems. The first problem was that our society lacks Saudi female jewelry designers who compete internationally with world-renowned brands. And secondly, our Saudi culture is not valued in society nowadays. Therefore, I thought of celebrating our culture through traditional jewelry pieces designed in a modern way that would make them part of our everyday life once again.
What inspires your designs?
When I started, I had to research and work on different kinds of collages regarding the Hijazi and Bedouin traditional jewelry pieces to get a vivid image of what they looked like. Afterwards, I chose several pieces as a source of inspiration and redesigned them giving them a modern twist.
What are your next steps?
As a student, for the four coming years I will be working on my bachelors in Fine Arts in jewelry design and metalsmithing. I am planning to do my masters in the GIA to learn more about the world of gemstones and gemology. Furthermore, living in New York is an advantage as I will get to work with some famous jewelry designers and brands.
Did you find the support and encouragement you needed?
Yes, I would specifically like to send my love and thanks to my parents and family for their support, and most importantly, Mr. Jamil Farsi, the dean of jewelers in Jeddah for advising me and producing my pieces.