And just as all women are all completely different in character, so they express their individuality in different ways: through their clothes, jewellery and accessories. This is why Lebanese designer Alia Mouzannar has created a series of perfect collections for the dynamic, independent 21st Century woman which consist of transformable pieces and can be worn in a variety of stylistic variations depending on what you are wearing, the time of day, or simply your mood.
Alia’s passion for jewellery art developed in childhood, growing up in a family of jewellers who ran AW Mouzannar, the Lebanese jewellery house for whom she creates work today. Alia is one of few contemporary jewellery designers to create whole collections of transformer jewellery. The most famous designs from her oeuvre are perhaps her Arabesque earrings with detachable decorative elements transformable into brooches, and her folding In-Folio earrings, which can be worn in varying lengths: studs, medium length earrings or practically down to your shoulders. She has also ventured into the realm of original finger jewellery, conceiving the Caché line of interchangeable ring ‘jackets’ crafted in gold or enamel that encapuslate smaller rings.
“I enjoy creating modular jewellery because it allows the modern woman to change their look morning, noon and night, whether they are on the ski slopes or in the office. I want women to have jewellery which they can adapt to suit their own particular tastes and styles, giving them the opportunity to use a single piece of jewellery to express their own versatility,” Alia explains.
Alia’s taste for designing unusual jewellery for women is complimented by the important skills she picked up during the course of her years as an architecture student. She has this grounding to thank for her flashes of ingenuity and her ability to come up with the intricate mechanisms which enable one piece of jewellery to transform seamlessly into another. Impressively, the individual designs do not look as if anything has been done to them to achieve the transformations – there are no extraneous mounts or fastenings. So, in the Caché line there are no conspicuous locking mechanisms from ring to ring – the case does not need to be fastened onto to ring below, the carefully and boldly calculated design means it simply wraps around the top and holds itself in place.
Alia first fell in love with jewellery transformers when her father brought her mother a plain ring from Italy with five switchable stones: tanzanite, tiger’s eye, onyx, lapis lazuli and coral, all in an oval cut, which attached to a gold frame with the help of two beads which held the stone from inside. This was in 1963, when it would have been impossible to even imagine a design of this kind in Lebanon. Alia acknowledges that her exposure from a young age to a multitude of different countries and cultures thanks to her father’s constant travelling served as a source of future inspiration, as demonstrated by her mother’s unusual ring.
Alia’s latest innovation for jewellery house AW Mouzannar is the ‘Pompon’ sautoir of hematite or pyrite beads with two detachable pendants which transform into lively tassel earrings. And this magical transformation is not even the end of it: the earrings are reversible and can be worn with two different sets of designs on the gold cap. As you can see, imagination has no bounds – you just need to be brave enough experiment to your heart’s content!