By Malak Nour
Nahla El Gizawy is the face behind Analogie jewelry. She’s the designer who brings the beautiful accessories to life. Analogie – which basically is “analogy”, but with a twist on the spelling – was the name she chose for her brand as her jewelry creations are all meant to be analogies of something else. Much like spoken or written analogies, her jewelry pieces are meant to highlight that which inspired their creation. Be it an animal, a place, a person, or anything else.
Nahla sees herself as someone who’s “influenced greatly by color, texture, observation, conceptualization, abstraction and giving a new perspective to things”. She’s also a global nomad who has been on-the-go ever since she was a kid. Moving from one place to another has given her a keen eye to her surroundings, allowing her to find infinite inspiration.
Notably, she has taken part in the Rijksstudio Award 2015 competition in Amsterdam, creating a necklace inspired by Pieter de Ring’s 17th century Dutch Painting: “Still Life with Golden Goblet” that’s exhibited in the Rijksmuseum.
I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Nahla about Analogie, the idea behind it, finding inspiration, her custom jewelry, and much more….
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a self-taught jewelry designer born in Cairo, raised travelling, and currently living in Amsterdam. A big foodie. And animals are very dear to my heart.
How did your passion for jewelry-making start?
My mom had this special wooden jewelry box that had the jewelry pieces she’d collected from her years of travel. As a little girl, I loved hearing about her travel stories and the context of each and every piece she owned. I grew up to collect my own jewelry pieces and learned to cherish their individual stories. I’ve always had a craving for making things, I loved how an idea in one’s head can be tangibly brought to life.
I think that jewelry is what adds that extra kick of personality to an outfit of women and men. When I create a beautiful piece of jewelry for a client, I’m extremely happy!
What inspires your jewelry making?
I’m generally very aware of my surroundings, so constantly, on my daily life I’m always observing things and finding things. We’re always surrounded by so many interesting things, and so many different cultures that are very inspiring to me, so I guess it just comes to me from observing my surroundings.
What does “art” mean to you? And why is it important?
Art, to me, is expression. I really like how art talks to people, so I’m not necessarily a fan of “art for the sake of art” per se. But, I like when a piece – if it’s a painting, a sculpture, or a jewelry piece in this case – has a sentimental value to a person. And looking at this piece, every single time, pushes positive vibes towards you, and that’s what I really enjoy.
How did you come up with the idea of Analogie?
A long time ago, since university time, I was always thinking of creating my own jewelry pieces, and jewelry pieces for friends. Usually, I was making pieces that were inspired from their characters. So, I was making pieces for each of my friends; let’s say an anklet or a bracelet that highlights their character, and their favorite colors, and their favorite things. And they always liked these gifts. I also did some jewelry for myself, and it always feels very special to have something that’s personalized to you. And generally speaking, I was at Product Design school, so it kind of just clicked!
What is the process you normally go through when you want to make a new jewelry piece? You find inspiration and then what do you do?
At that point, it’s usually finding the right materials that would represent that piece, and it depends on what kind of piece it is. If it’s a necklace or earring…it’s always different what kind of materials I can use, what would best compliment that particular part of the body. And yet again, that’s directly linked to the inspiration where you can directly see how this was inspired from that.
Can you tell me a little about your choice of materials, what materials you usually work with, and why those in particular?
So, basically, up until this point, I’ve always been working with natural gemstones because I always found them very unique and there’s just endless possibilities when it comes to gemstones, and so much natural variance. Each unique gemstone has its own story. Each and every one is very unique.
Once you got the idea, how did you actually start bringing it to life?
Well, I started researching themes because the pieces are not necessarily inspired by characters, but complementing characters. And basically, I wanted to create jewelry that when you choose it, you feel like: “ok, this is me”. I love, let’s say, a certain bird or whatever inspiration it is, so this kind of speaks me, that’s why I like this specific piece. So, it always has a story behind it. I just went ahead and bought some materials I can experiment with, and considered how I can use these materials to convey the inspiration I’d picked.
What do you do when you lack inspiration? Have you ever come across that situation?
Yes, of course. There’s always those blocked days when I feel like it’s not happening, and at that point, honestly, it’s usually very useless to keep going because it’s not going to happen! So, I just try to do something out of the box. Completely not related to finding inspiration, just to get my mind flowing a bit – doing something I enjoy, maybe going for a nice walk, or going to some sort of sports class.
When it comes to your work in general, you care to tell “stories” through your art. On Analogie’s website, you constantly emphasize the value of “stories”, so I want to ask you: how are stories important to you?
Well, I always find it very interesting how what we own, and what we wear kind of speaks about us. And I like making those conscious choices of what I’m wearing, and what it says about me. And when I’m wearing something that doesn’t necessarily compliment my character, it doesn’t bring the best out of me; I don’t necessarily enjoy wearing it. And, also, if I’m wearing something that is, let’s say, just “in” – for the sake of it, I also don’t feel very comfortable with myself. I feel there’s no point in doing that because it doesn’t compliment me as a person, and I feel like the more unique to me it is, the more it looks good.
Is that what makes Analogie jewelry different, from your perspective?
Yes, it is not for everyone. It is specifically for people who do like to go their own way, and they like to feel that they’re expressing themselves through the jewelry, through their whole attire generally, and they’re not scared of showing that they don’t just want to look like the rest of the crowd. They like being their unique selves.
Stay tuned for part two of the interview next week!