Houman Jewelry Design’s LUZ is more than just a jewellery collection; it has its own emotional range.
HOUMAN OMIDIFAR, on the island of Coronado near San Diego, puts a lot of feeling into his jewellery designs. He describes his latest collection, LUZ, as “a love story set to the cycle of 12 emotions, some dark, such as Breakup and Anger, and others more uplifting, such as Lust, Obsession and Enigma. ” Each piece is designed to reflect the emotion for which it is named. For example, rubies represent passion in this collection; therefore they are set into Enigma, Flirt and Lust. The Anger pieces, on the other hand, incorporate raised surfaces denoting scars. Obsession’s circle of black and white diamonds embodies “the insatiable nature” of this emotion.
Omidifar says his aim as a designer is “to create items that are not typical, but represent pieces of wearable art. There is a story behind each piece and a great deal of passion and love has gone into creating them. They are individually handmade and not mass produced.”
Omidifar was born in Iran, where his father operated a jewellery store, but he has
also lived in the south of France and later in Canada. Certain of his destiny. Omidifar was single-minded in pursuing his passion. He studied jewellery arts at the George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology in Canada, which he believes is the best technical jewellery school in North America. After working briefly for a retailer in Nantucket, Omidifar started his own wholesale business in 1998, quickly earning a reputation for his high level of quality and craftsmanship. During this time, he won an award in a Platinum Guild International design competition.
In 2000 Omidifar relocated his business to San Diego, to affluent Coronado Island, where he opened a design/retail/manufacturing outlet. He designs – using 3D CAD technology – and manufactures on the premises, while clients look on through glass walls. “There are large windows from the retail store, to the design studio, to the production area,” says Houman Jewelry Design marketing manager Sura Al-Naimi.”Every person who arrives at the store is able to see everything happening from the front of the store. People are surprised that everything happens in one location, as so much is made overseas. It adds authenticity to the collection and gives the consumer an experience that they don’t normally get.”
A light at the end of your journey
Omidifar’s latest design is the LUZ black diamond engagement ring, an edgy departure from tradition. A caviar-black diamond presides as the centre stone, complemented by two carats in pave set black diamonds in a three-band combination. Red rubies punctuate the cornerstones. “This black contrasting with light represents the multifaceted nature of love,” says Omidifar. Best of all is the name: LUZ is Spanish for “light.” The LUZ engagement ring then, symbolises the light at the end of the journey as well as the love between two people (or the light returned from the diamonds). The inside of the ring is engraved with: “you are my LUZ” (“You are my light”).
LUZ designs can be made from any desired metal, from sterling silver up to platinum “The range of metals we offer allows us to provide LUZ at different price points,” he says, “The labour, quality, gems and craftsmanship that go into making a silver ring are identical to what go into making a gold or platinum ring. If someone falls in love with LUZ but cannot afford the platinum ring, they can have it in gold instead, or in sterling. We cater to current market conditions.” This combination of unique design and flexible pricing helped LUZ make a distinct impression on buyers at Baselworld in March, where the company exhibited for the first time. “I am confident that there is nothing like LUZ in any jewellery story where it is carried,” says Omidifar.” It does not follow a trend, but rather, is setting a trend. It has its own path and destination.”
Everything happens on-site
Houman Jewelry Design has grown steadily since it was founded, with the current momentum propelled by the LUZ collection. LUZ has quickly become the
boutique’s best seller, gaining a slew of national press coverage, serving as accessories at NewYork and Miami Fashion Week, garnering commissions from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and gracing the hands of A-List celebrities such as Rosario Dawson, Slash, Kidd Rock, Susan Sanderson, Michael J. Fox and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Because of its uniqueness, the LUZ collection is being marketed as a niche product, not just in one market, but in various markets internationally to select retailers, according to Al-Naimi. “Our business is sustainedby creative drive,” says Al-Naimi. “We want to surprise and engage our clients.”The collection can be seen, for example, at Neiman Marcus locations in Las Vegas and Coral Gables.
Next on the drawing board for Houman Jewelry Design is the LUZ watch collection. Stay tuned. [Carol Besler]
Source: World One, September 2009, By Carol Besler