Jewellery is imprinted in her DNA, and Rahma Shirazi, a director at Bahrain Jewellery Centre and founder of RAZ, knew since she was little that creating beautiful pieces was in her future.
“Be passionate about what you do so that it becomes your daily pleasure.” – Rahma Shirazi
OHLALA -Tell us a bit about yourself and how you reached the position you are in today. How was the path to arrive here?
Rahma Shirazi – I am a director at Bahrain Jewellery Centre (BJC) and the founder of my own jewellery line, RAZ. My work consists primarily of taking on commissioned pieces as well as launching an annual collection. Jewellery is very much in my blood; as a young girl, I enjoyed spending time at Bahrain Jewellery Centre, the family business established by my late father in 1978. Growing up inside this industry and having a passion for artistic creation paved the way for me to pursue my studies at Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts in the UK, where I received my BA in Jewellery Design and Manufacturing. I then continued my studies and became GIA-certified in Coloured Stones, Diamond Grading, and Jewellery Rendering. Additionally, I completed an intensive course in stone setting at the School of Gemmology and Allied Studies in the UK, and I have been happily creating ever since.
OHLALA – What have you achieved that makes you the proudest in your career?
RS – There are many things that I have achieved so far that I am truly proud of. For one, I am incredibly proud of the trust and relationships I have built with my clients and jewellers in the industry. Another aspect I am proud of is that I am always true to myself and my designs, despite what is currently trending in the market. When it comes to my pieces, colour is an essential factor for me. I love using a combination of playful hues to create a twist of modernism with a classic touch. Minimal metal is key in my work, and my pieces are made primarily in titanium by artisan manufacturers. I am genuinely proud when people come to recognise the distinguished identity of RAZ that I have worked so hard on.
OHLALA – What do you think was the biggest challenge you had to face?
RS – I don’t find myself drawn to the typical or expected ways of creating jewellery. I have great appreciation for quality craftsmanship and using traditional techniques in ways that differ from the norm. I love to see how my clients interpret my creativity as original artisanal pieces that are appreciated and cherished. Being different and finding the balance between old and new techniques challenges me to represent my art through my jewellery. Respecting my clients’ requirements and preserving their stories through my work but still allowing myself to maintain my identity and style in their pieces is my greatest challenge.
OHLALA – How do you feel about conquering so much as a woman? Is there any woman that served as an inspiration to you?
RS – Every woman is able to achieve her dreams, and I believe limitations are a thing of the past. There are many inspiring women, especially in Bahrain, who are leaders in their field. By all these women excelling in what they are best at, they have been able to achieve their goals. With this being said, I think we are surrounded by inspiring and hardworking women who motivate us with their qualities each and every day.
OHLALA – What’s your motto in life?
RS – “So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.” – Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth. I believe that nothing in life, no matter how complicated, challenging, and out of reach, is impossible. Everyone can make their dream come true if they are persistent. The key is to be passionate about what you do so that it becomes your daily pleasure.
OHLALA – How do you balance your personal life and work?
RS – It has never been an issue for me to find a balance between work life and personal life. I have somehow managed to dedicate time to both without compromising one over the other.
OHLALA – What do you do that allows you to disconnect from work?
RS – I can’t really disconnect from my work as I enjoy being creative and I am constantly seeking and absorbing inspiration on a daily basis in one way or another. However, the best way to disengage from work is to spend time with my family when I solely focus on them.
OHLALA – What piece of advice do you give to young ladies out there starting their careers?
RS – Part of the process is always to learn and grow and make mistakes along the way. Discipline is necessary to achieve your goals. You have to be accepting of failure to succeed. Strength comes from picking yourself up after the mistakes, and that is when progress is made, and goals are achieved. I have made decisions that weren’t necessarily perfect, but every experience has pushed me to learn how to work hard independently, accomplishing my dreams as a woman.