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11 october 2021
dina_nasyrova_xxz.pngDina Nasyrova is a vice-president of the International Jewelry Exhibition-Congress J-1 recently hosted by the Atrium of Gostiny Dvor in Moscow. As a partner and the Muse of the famous jeweler Ilgiz Fazulzyanov, she actively participated in the preparation of his personal exhibition at the Moscow Kremlin Museums and in the opening of the galleries in Paris and Moscow. Having worked for 25 years at the world’s leading exhibition venues - from Las Vegas to Tokyo and Hong Kong (including Vicenza, Geneva and Basel), she set herself the ambitious task of using the best of her experience gained.

Dina Nasyrova told Rough&Polished how she managed to make the J-1 not only a jewelry exhibition but also a working platform where the professionals in various fields, vocational training institutions and relevant ministries gathered for cooperation and dialogue.

Are you satisfied with the results of the J-1? What did you particularly succeed in and what did not work out for some reason?

I must say right away that I am very pleased with the J-1 results - both with the fact that, in general, we succeeded in everything, and that there is still something to improve. I am sincerely proud that we were able to create a special atmosphere at the exhibition - festive, business-oriented and motivating, as well as to conduct an educational program brilliantly. All three projects - the congress, workshops and a school for retail - were held at the highest level.

So, as part of the Congress, we had discussions with the experts of the Federal Assay Chamber of Russia, answered live questions related to the SIIS PMPS (State Integrated Information System in the Sphere of Control over the Circulation of Precious Metals and Precious Stones), outlined the plans for working with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries, had meetings with leading industry players such as Inessa Kovalyova, Ksenia Podnebesnaya, Oksana Katayeva, and others. In general, we covered all the topics relevant to the market - from design and brand development to government regulation.

The “theory” was fully revealed at the Congress, and the “practice” was reflected in our unprecedented new product - the workshops for professional jewelers, the “J-1 Masters”, which we organized in cooperation with the International Jewellery School. For 3 days, non-stop workshops were held on the setting, engraving, enameling, casting and other components of manufacturing jewelry. This has never happened at any jewelry exhibition in the world! The workshops were very popular as together with numerous in-person participants they were viewed online by users from New Zealand, Australia, the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and other countries! So, we will definitely continue this successful initiative.

And the third educational project - another premiere - organized in partnership with Natalia Perfilova, was a school for retail. As organizers, we aim at covering all the industry’s segments, and - you should agree - the picture cannot be complete without our buyers. And I am proud that as a result of the work of the school for retail, the factories’ representatives drew attention to today’s designers and understood how their fresh ideas can be integrated into their production, and the retailers have been trained in the competent implementation, sale and presentation of their goods.

Talking about the shortcomings, I would like to emphasize once again that for me, it is rather an advantage to have them. Let me explain: when an exhibition is 100% successful, I am not fully satisfied with the results, because it means there is nowhere to grow and there is nothing to strive for.

The main difficulty was working with the construction company. Difficulties were also added by the fact that the exhibition that preceded our one moved from the Gostiny Dvor to Manezh and took some equipment with it. As a result, the terms of returning the equipment have shifted. And this is a lesson for the future. We have already made two important decisions - first, we will replace the construction company, and second, we will change the equipment.

Are all the exhibitors satisfied? Did they make any comments, suggestions? What would you like to improve, add and develop?

Of course, the option “everyone was happy” is a utopia. This never happens. We always said that we provide a platform and equal conditions for everyone. And if an exhibitor has charisma, good jewelry, then it has every chance of ensuring good sales under any conditions, moreover, with such high traffic as was at the J-1 this year. Of course, there were comments and suggestions, which are very valuable. Once again, I want to emphasize that within the framework of our next projects we will take them into account and continue to make efforts to ensure that most of the exhibitors remain satisfied and keep on cooperating with us.

What would I like to improve? I am looking for ways to get rid of the Octanorm “plastic things”, which, in my opinion, make the very concept of “jewelry” look cheaper. I don’t really want to display the masterpieces in such display cases. But, unfortunately, the choice on the domestic market is limited as we do not even have black-color equipment - everything is only white or made of aluminum. And not everyone can afford to have their own display cases. We will continue to look for some alternative stylish and beautiful options.

And I would like to make the exhibition wider, of course, inviting new exhibitors to expand it as much as possible. We will continue to develop the project in the field of private servicing. We are talking not only about “high-end” brands that offer big stones and goods at high prices but also about the creative industry’s companies in general. I am very glad that the “street of designers” has grown 4 times compared to last year, and I have no doubt that it will keep on expanding further. I am sure that the designers and small-scale companies are the future of the jewelry industry both in Russia and in the world.

How was the J1 jewelry competition? What was different compared to other similar ones? What can you say about the works displayed by the participants? Are there any trends? Any tendencies?

The J-1 jewelry competition went well. We have fixed all the mistakes made last year, and the project has become much larger and full-fledged. As for the differences from similar competitions, usually, they are held only for exhibitors. We do it some other way. We invite jewelers and designers from all over the world to participate in it, and this is important.

We are also really proud of our expert jury. Ilgiz Fazulzyanov, its chairman, is both a master, designer, and a craftsman, he has an incredible designer’s visual experience and know-how. This gives us a great advantage. Veronika Yurievna Voldayeva, Gokhran’s best leading expert, helped us. The award panel includes academic consultants and ‘veterans’ of the jewelry industry: Elena Vesyolaya, Marina Korotayeva, Evgenia Mironova who joined us this year. The competence of all the award panel members is beyond question.

By the way, another important difference from other similar competitions is the attitude of the award panel members towards the participants. They work a lot with the participants, conduct live broadcasts, and give consultations. Every day, at the stand with works that were shortlisted, one of the award panel members was on duty and explained the reasons for getting or not getting into the finals, the principle of choosing a winner in each nomination, and so on. The award panel members really want to help the participants show their potential and find their creative flavor. In fact, in my practice of participating in the international competitions with Ilgiz, I do not remember that someone treated the participants in the same way. And this really differs us from other similar projects and gives a huge advantage to the participants.

As for the award panel, I would also like to add that we hope very much that the borders will reopen soon and we will be able to invite foreign experts. This is our plan.

As for the works submitted, honestly, I am delighted. They are all different and interesting. We had a heated debate, the reason for this is another difference between our competition and other ones as we do not have the 1st, 2nd, 3rd places. There can be only one winner in each of the 11 nominations. Because this is the “J-1”, the principle is already in the name. We see a tendency towards creativity and reinterpretation, we see that the participants are able to express their vision of the world. It seems to me that it used to be easier earlier: designers looked at a butterfly and made it in their own way. But it is not the case now. The designers express their feelings through the jewelry, share their experiences, express their emotions for ages, and that’s great.

What do you think about the state of the jewelry industry in Russia and in the world? What do the jewelers lack to be able to create a real brand and make their mark on the jewelry art?

I think that the Russian jewelry industry needs to be upgraded - and in a serious way. Our exhibition can contribute to this. I really want the jewelry industry to go beyond the borders of the country, to have the customs “shackles” removed from us so that we could show the whole world how many creative and skillful people work in Russia. And in principle, I think that’s okay if someone from abroad comes to us and works with us. Interaction and collaboration are the drivers in the world, and the fact that Russia is “locked in a sack” is a huge minus. This hinders the development of the jewelry industry. I really hope that our project carried out with Konstantin A. Zakirov can become the upgrade required in the industry at all levels; the J-1 has already been made an official Eurasian Economic Union’s exhibition, which means that more than one country is engaged in the process. And this is just the beginning.

Becoming a real brand means recognition not only in one country but all over the world. I say again that we lack the openness of the jewelry industry, so a real brand will not work until it succeeds in providing global coverage. Although, for example, the SOKOLOV company was able to do this, but it required huge investments.

I know firsthand how to create a brand from scratch because Ilgiz and I have come a very long and difficult way. Frankly speaking, our success depended on the fact that we did not look back at our colleagues and never expected anything from the state. We just “took our decision and walked the walk”.

In general, a successful brand is a combination of factors. Of course, this needs money, and, of course, this needs much work. You must have some flavor, your own DNA, which is not similar to that of anyone else. In fact, now I cannot say that there are companies that need to attract investors, scale up, and create a world-famous brand. I don’t see them yet. There are good, creative companies making beautiful jewelry that reflects the inner world of their buyers. The customers buy them with pleasure, but this is not the level of a world famous brand. There is no impression that a new real jewelry house has appeared in the market.

As for how to leave a mark on the art of jewelry, I will say that, first of all, it is necessary that the representatives of art “pay attention” to the jewelry industry. Our big common problem is that the industry belongs to the Ministry of Finance. Neither the Ministry of Culture nor the Ministry of Industry and Trade is looking in our direction. Until people of art begin viewing the jewelry pieces to display them in museums and start interacting with jewelers, no success can be expected. We will not be able to show the Russian jewelry art of the 21st century to our future generations. Not because it does not exist - of course, it exists, but nobody collects jewelry art pieces, buys or exhibits them.

Therefore, in order to make your mark on the art of jewelry, it is not enough to have good craftsmen - they really exist. It is necessary that the others would pay attention to them, especially the Ministry of Culture. We have repeatedly applied to this ministry because Ilgiz really has works that deserve to be displayed at the world museum exhibitions. We are very grateful to Elena Yuryevna Gagarina, Director General of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, for the purchase of the jewelry pieces and designs. However, this is an isolated case, but it should not be a one-off event.

And donating jewelry pieces to museums is too expensive for jewelers. You may say that painters donate their artworks, but let’s think about the cost price - buying paints, canvas and related materials is not the same as buying gold or diamonds to make a jewelry piece.

I believe that just being a talented jeweler and a good designer is not enough to leave a mark on jewelry art. The support of the state is really needed.

What are your plans for the future regarding this exhibition and other ones?

We have already begun to prepare for the J-1 Christmas, a pre-Christmas exhibition, which will be held from December 10 to 12 in the Gostiny Dvor. It will be designed primarily for retail customers and held simultaneously with the legendary doll show. Without a doubt, our exposition will be incredibly beautiful and create a unique atmosphere. In January 2022, we plan to hold an exhibition in Sochi - this is our exhibitors’ wish. And then, we will start preparing for the J-1 Eurasia. We plan to make it really big and substantial, because in Eurasia, in fact, there is not a single jewelry exhibition designed not only to unite the two continents but also to invite the public from all over the world. Therefore, the plans are grand and ambitious - to improve what has already been achieved, to develop further and to hold exhibitions where the jewelry manufacturers can feel comfortable working.

Galina Semyonova for Rough&Polished