For Ana Khouri, jewelry should be an extension (albeit an exquisite one) of the body. Rather than adorning oneself with “random” pieces that sit or hang off limbs, jewelry should enhance the body–it should take shape on the wearer. This idea, that jewelry, more than any other item, has the ability to create deep connection with the wearer, is what drives the Brazilian native to create simple, sophisticated and precious pieces that mold to a woman’s form.
“I don’t believe we need to look outside for beauty,” says Khouri, who first studied sculpture in Sao Paolo before attaining degrees at the Gemological Institute of America, Parsons, and later, Central Saint Martins. “Our body is perfect and I don’t believe adding random objects such as jewelry or clothes will ever make it look better or make the relationship between the person and body be better,” she explains. “However, if there is a way to enhance the beauty of our human form, calling attention to the beauty that is already in you, that is clever for me. My jewelry is about connecting to your own human form. It is more a connection to your own form than looking for outside objects.”
Indeed, Khouri’s limited edition and one-off pieces weave and mold to the wearer’s ears, fingers and wrists; delicately wrapping gold and precious gemstones around the skin. Since launching her namesake line in 2002, she has specialized in crafting modern fine jewelry that women can appreciate wearing without “the requisite hauteur it once held,” she says. “I make jewelry for a sophisticated, artsy women with an ‘eyes wide open’ aesthetic.”
You often look to Brazil’s past as inspiration for your jewelry. What about the country’s history influences you?
Brazil is a melting pot. In a way everyone came from abroad as immigrants and learned to co-exist with differences all around. So you have a Japanese community next to German, next to Portuguese, next to Libanese. Brazilians learned to accept each other and learn from the different cultures. Also you learned not to be afraid of being different, but to see beauty on difference.
You originally trained as a painter and sculptor. How does this inform your design process?
All my pieces are thought of as work of art, so that makes a difference. They are edition pieces and all numbered, when not a one of a kind piece.
Can you take us through your design process? How long does it take for a piece to go from concept to product?
A lot of trial. If you are working on a sculpture for example, you don’t need to focus on functionally as the main aspect. if you are working with jewelry your pre-conceived idea must be also functional, because it needs to work, it needs to mold to the body working around it and being comfortable. It takes a lot of trial and error to make sure the piece is wearable but still keeps the aesthetic I am searching for.
How do you think jewelry is best worn?
Jewelry should be a pleasure to the self. there should be no specific rule, time or way to wear pieces you love and connect to you.