Inbar Fine Jewellery is an Israeli brand run by two people – Oded Burstein and Galit Chlouche. This creative duet creates work that combines art, fashion and innovation. In doing so, they subtly highlight women’s natural beauty, rather than masking it with the blinding sparkle of diamonds.
I met up with Galit and Oded during COUTURE show in Las Vegas to talk about the unique style of their creations, and to find out how both fashion and diverse cultures influence their designs.
K.P.: To begin with, let’s go back a few decades to the birth of Inbar.
Oded: Initially Inbar Fine Jewellery was my family business, and a successful one at that. It grew with every passing year, and culminated in me opening the first Inbar boutique in the Nothern Central district of Israel, Netanya. That was in 1984. Some years later I met my current business partner, Galit. After a fruitful partnership we opened another boutique in 1999, this time in Ramat-Gan – the diamond district.
K.P.: And now a strictly family business has become an international brand. Was it always all about jewellery?
Oded: Art and design have always been at the forefront of my endeavors, and I believe that jewellery is one of art’s most fascinating forms. The alluring beauty of gemstones marries the charming sparkle of precious, polished metal to create a blend that is truly magical. It is, however, up to us to blend them together in a sophisticated, artistic combination. I live, think and breath art and I have always wanted to be in this industry.
K.P.: So what do you and Galit do together in Inbar, and what is done separately?
Oded & Galit: When it comes to designing or buying gemstones, we always do it together: we want to combine two individual tastes and perspectives. We believe that this brings a broader visual spectrum to our jewellery, which caters to a variety of clients equally well. After we have finalized a design, Oded monitors the production process to maintain the highest standard of quality in our pieces; Galit covers marketing and client relations.
K.P.: As you said, you both design the Inbar jewellery together. Does Galit’s style differ from Oded’s?
Galit: It is true that to begin with we had different styles; but now, after working together for 16 years, we know each other’s tendencies in taste and design very well.
K.P.: Would you say that combining two tastes is your strong point – are ‘two heads better than one’?
Oded: Uniting two tastes in one piece of jewellery helped us to cultivate a unique style, whose aim is to compliment and enhance the natural beauty of a woman rather than stealing the limelight as the focus of her appearance.
K.P.: Is your style similar to traditional Israeli jewellery? In fact, what is the traditional style?
Oded: Since Israel has, for many years, been a home to all kinds of exiled peoples, it hosts an eclectic range of traditional styles. The cultural mingling of Yamani, Moroccan, Russian and Polish roots certainly manifests itself in Israeli jewellery. In addition, since we live in the Middle East, carved and oriental shapes are prevalent, adding to the complex style of Israeli jewellery.
K.P.: So you mix a bit of traditional style together with some European trends, which you pick up on your travels? Does travelling so much, seeing such different cultures, influence your creations?
Oded & Galit: We do travel a lot, and every place inspires us in one way or the other – sometimes it happens without us realizing it! For example, when we travelled to Moscow, we were completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the colourful cathedral domes, and now numerous dome-shaped earrings appear in our collections.
K.P.: This is why Inbar jewellery has such a variety of designs. Is there something that unites them all?
Oded & Galit: It is true that all our jewels are unique, but what unite them are the carefully picked, precious gemstones and the ornate designs that are inspired by both the East and the West. You have probably noticed that the lines are soft and round, without any sharpness. Most of the time, we only combine two colours in one piece, and the colour palette always strives for harmony – no yellows and blues together!
K.P.: Yes, I have certainly noticed the soft shapes of Inbar jewellery. Many pieces are made with carved and variously shaped gemstones. With what criteria do you choose your gemstones?
Oded & Galit: For us a gemstones must have ‘life’ – it should entice us from the very second we cast our eyes on it. Without a doubt, the quality of a gemstone is paramount for us because we only produce one-of-a-kind pieces. You will notice, judging from a variety of Inbar jewellery, that we mostly choose gemstones with soft and rounded shapes: for us, they compliment femininity and the female form.
K.P.: What gemstone would you never use and why?
Oded & Galit: We would never use a synthetic stone in our designs, but otherwise we do not restrict ourselves to using certain specific gemstones.
K.P.: Galit, every time I see you, you look like like you have come off the pages of a fashion magazine. How do you translate you passion for fashion into your jewellery designs?
Galit: First of all, to be up-to-date with the hottest fashion trends, I do not restrict myself to just magazines – I also use Instagram and, sometimes, Facebook. And when I travel, I always pay attention to how people dress from country to country. It is very important for me to ensure that our collections match fashion trends in their colour, materials and, of course, the way in which people wear jewellery with clothes. This is why some of our latest creations include both full-finger and two-finger rings.
K.P.: So, do you have a favorite fashion designer?
Galit: Wow, there are a few: some of them from high-end fashion houses; others from the high street. For example, I like Celine, but I could easily wear it with Zara; or Prada with H&M likewise. It is the same with Inbar jewellery. We playfully juxtapose non-precious quartz with diamonds, and set expensive gemstones in modern settings for daywear.
K.P.: There are many cocktail rings in your collections. How would you wear/style them?
Galit: We are strong believers in “less is more”, and so we would suggest just wearing a ring with a pair of statement earrings. If you choose a full finger ring, it should be the only item on that hand – no bracelet is required.
K.P.: A slightly random question to end with: what accessory would you never leave your house without?
Oded & Galit: Oded always make sure that he has his mobile and a Faber Castell pencil (in case he gets inspired to make a quick sketch). And Galit never leaves her house without sunglasses – a fashionista’s number 1 accessory!
Inbar Emerald Flower ring
You will undoubtedly agree, after reading this interview, that Inbar jewelleryis classically elegant and fashionable thanks to the combination of perfectly matched colours and soft rounded lines. As a result, you have a piece that does not have to be kept in a jewellery box for a special occasion – you can enjoy wearing Inbar jewellery every day.
If you want to see more pieces (or even purchase one), go to the Marissa Collections – the online retailer from Naples that features a wide assortment of Inbar’s recent designs and deliver purchases worldwide. KP