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Ilgiz Fazulzyanov: For a creator, the quarantine is the time to work on future masterpieces

04 january 2021

ilgiz_fazulzyanov_fullsize.jpgIlgiz Fazulzyanov is a successful and internationally recognized jewellery designer. He received his academic art education in Kazan and moved to Moscow in the 1990s where he lives and works now. His brand, Ilgiz F., is well known among true connoisseurs of the jewellery art, and his clients include many celebrities.

He won numerous prestigious international jewellery competitions, worked with the Christie’s and Bonhams auction houses. He is the only Russian designer jeweller now who has the honour of exhibiting and selling his works at Christie’s in London.

The Fazulzyanov’s works, mostly in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles, were exhibited twice in the Kremlin’s Diamond Fund, and in 2016, his solo exhibition was held in the Kremlin Museums - from his earliest works to today’s ones (his exhibition ranked second in the number of visitors, the Cartier’s one ranked first). His jewellery was purchased for the collection of the Kremlin Armory and by the museum of the Van Cleef company where he gave a lecture on enamels.

In 2017, he opened his own Ilgiz F jewellery gallery at the Art Residence, where exhibitions of works by contemporary jewellers are held, including the annual Jewellery Winter exhibitions traditionally bringing together the top famous designers.

In November, the third edition of Jewellery Winter was held, about which (and many other things) Ilgiz Fazulzyanov told the Rough&Polished correspondent.

Jewellery exhibitions have become rare events lately. What is remarkable about Jewellery Winter and how does it differ from other jewellery exhibitions?

First of all, this exhibition differs from the others in that it is held at the Ilgiz F gallery. This gallery has been functioning since December 2017, and every year, it arranges a project for private jewellers and jewellery companies. The goal of the project is to support not only young emerging designers but also established companies. There are not so many jewellery galleries in our country, so this format is not high-profile yet, but I really hope that in the nearest future, other cities will support this format and unite talented people from their regions.

How were the exhibitors, so different in style, selected? Do they have something in common?

The main focus is on the jewellery of the highest standards of design and craftsmanship. This is what unites the participants in our exhibitions working in various styles - from a bio-space avant-gardism to an ethnic style. The rest is a flight of imagination and a combination of materials, which can be very different. This year, the exhibitors were jewellers Vladimir Markin, Elena Okutova, Rem Sultanov, Felix Tsirefman, Yulia Tsvetkova, Diana Dzhanelli, Zakhar Borisenko, as well as diamond expert Sergey Izmestyev, the Denis Nesterov’s DOGUMA jewellery house and the Russian Kaleidoscope guild of masters.

Tell us a little about the participants - what each of them is famous for?

The EPIC Jewellery brand is one of the few in the world that works with such rare materials in jewellery as titanium, bronze or carbon fabrics, in addition to the usual gold and platinum.

Vladimir Markin (Markin Fine Jewellery) is a prominent representative of the kinetic jewellery and he produces jewellery pieces with moving parts and creates all kinds of jewellery using different materials.

Elena Okutova combines the modern style, fabulous magic and the Middle Ages motif in her jewellery. In her Tolkien collections, there are luxurious massive rings with large stones and intricate interwoven ornaments.

Rem Sultanov creates truly masculine, ‘harsh’ jewellery made of coarse materials, full of symbolism, with mystical creatures such as dragons and ravens.

In his jewellery, Felix Tsirefman achieved an amazing synergy of ethnic motives and ancient jewellery practices in their modernist rethinking version.

Donna Yolka creates authentic sacred jewellery pieces with their philosophy based on the magical practices and beliefs of the Bali island.

Diana Dzhanelli (Dzhanelli Jewellery) has a pronounced ‘feminine voice’, although some attention is also paid to the ‘the sterner sex’ and the brand also has a men’s collection.

The Izmestiev Diamonds company relies on the quality of the jewellery pieces, as well as on the precious stones used and their cutting and polishing quality. Sergey Izmestyev descended from a jewellers’ family and personally selects only the best diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and other natural stones to create the brand’s jewellery pieces.

The DOGUMA brand creates nielloed gold jewellery with pavé using sapphires, emeralds, rubies or coloured diamonds, combined to make a very special pattern in each collection.

The Russian Kaleidoscope Guild of Masters creates handmade top-quality souvenirs for the interior (kaleidoscopes, souvenir telescopes) with cases decorated with ornamental painting (often, these are Zlatoust engravings or Fedoskino miniatures) and precious stones.

The Custom Dandy brand works with almost all types of electronic gadgets and decorates them to the customer’s taste and choice in various jewellery techniques, using both classic and rare exotic materials. For example, one of our joint works is the iPhone 12 PRO lined with carbon fabrics and decorated with my Art Deco poppy in gold and red spinel.

P. N. Jewelry brand is distinguished by their designer jewellery, mainly for ‘urban perfectionists’ looking for an accent for the perfect image - bright, laconic and cheerful - in all its diversity in colours, shapes and moods.

The Tsvetnaya Raduga (Coloured Rainbow) company offers their ready-made jewellery and creates exclusive custom-made jewellery pieces; their highest standards of craftsmanship and original design were repeatedly awarded with the diplomas of the Russian jewellery exhibitions.

Master Exclusive Jewellery creates jewellery and in the centre of their compositions, they often use exclusive gemstones (from diamonds to pearls and natural quartz) of large and medium sizes, of various cuts, and the source of inspiration is the changeable and unique nature.

Architect and designer Viktoria Strizhak (Vertigo Laboratory) strives to combine the architecture and jewellery and applies design methods based on computer algorithms. The exhibition featured the jewellery pieces made from bone china and other amazing materials.

Olga Shatrova, a certified gemologist and an expert in jewellery, creates premium class jewellery pieces from precious metals and natural stones, laconic, stylish, and various approaches are used to make a jewellery piece, for example, a client can choose the suitable precious stones and metal of the frame on his own.

What is your assessment of the results of the exhibition, as an organizer - have all the goals been achieved?

The main goal of our exhibition is to expand the audience for our exhibitors and exchange the clients. After all, all the participants are completely different, with their own style and manner of work. They are not competitors to each other; rather, they are a community of talented and ambitious craftsmen and companies. This time, I can say that every goal has been achieved!

How did the quarantine due to the Covid-19 affect the creative work of the jewellers and designers?

If a person is motivated to work, he or she can find advantages in every situation. For a creator, the quarantine is the time to work on future masterpieces. And if you are a designer, this is a great time to rethink your ideas and translate them into new designs and sketches. As for a positive side, many jewellers have begun to give theoretical online courses and also share their practical skills. I also want to note that one of the advantages of the quarantine is the undoubted increase in the interest in the national manufacturers. This includes attending the exhibitions, almost every event is held in Moscow, and the result is the recognition and acquisition of works in new companies.

You said once that an artist could have only one crisis - a creative one. How do the jewellers cope with the changes in the economic life, what is changing in their work, in their relations with their clients?

The jewellery industry itself in Russia is a very dynamic story. The prices for materials constantly change, the legislation also changes. Unfortunately, all these factors do not make the jewellers’ work easier but rather complicate it. And I admire our craftsmen and companies. In my opinion, it is practically heroism to be creative in such conditions. Unfortunately, we constantly hear that talented jewellers are leaving our country, and this is very sad.

What trends have you seen in the jewellery industry lately? What’s new in the jewellery design?

Today, customers are happy to buy ‘multi purpose’ jewellery pieces that can make their everyday online-work from home more pleasant, which is partly due to quarantine. Therefore, the demand for customized, designer items has grown a lot.

What is Ilgiz Fazulzyanov working on now, what new is happening in his creative life, at his gallery and in his business?

The gallery is preparing for an exhibition to be held at the end of February that is aimed at the support the women working in the jewellery business. Its rather formal name ‘Woman designer, woman jeweller’ is a contrast to the male profession.

What is the mood, what are your plans for the future - your personal plans and those of the jewellery community?

Of course, I want to hope for the best - that the state will be more loyal to jewellers and will not use a punitive approach. I also hope that the people’s incomes will allow them to buy beautiful things! My hope is that there will be more projects, including jewellery exhibitions where you can present your jewellery pieces and find new partners and buyers.

To your opinion, what is the difference between the jewellery art and other arts?

The fact is that it combines almost all types of the existing arts and sciences such as painting, sculpture, architecture, as well as chemistry, physics, mathematics, design... You can develop as a mechanic engineer, design engineer, grow as an artist and create paintings, your unique works with enamel, or sculptures and carvings from stone... This is the most exciting occupation in the world.

Galina Semyonova for Rough&Polished