Born and raised in Iran, designer Mana Besharati crafts jewellery rooted in a love of both architecture and typography. Through the label’s various collections — on display in this photo series — the brand showcases these ideas through a series of timeless pieces, all designed around the idea that jewellery is “more than just an accessory”. Schön! spoke to the mind behind the label to discover more about the brand.
What is your history as a designer?
I’m not a classical goldsmith. I came to Europe for my design studies. My initial work was actually industry and medical design. Only later did I decide to study for a Master’s degree with a focus on jewellery in Düsseldorf. Since the students were mostly goldsmiths, I was very lucky to learn the craft for my work. Therefore, my approach to finishing my jewellery is a mix of craft and the latest 3D technology.
I never thought before that one day I would be a jewellery designer. But when I saw the possibilities of expression I have with jewellery, I knew it was the right decision. For as long as mankind has existed, people have been wearing different types of jewellery. jewellery is simply part of the culture of man.
How does your youth in Iran influence your work today?
No matter where you grow up in the world, childhood and youth shape you very much. As a child, you unconsciously perceive your surroundings much more intensively. Smells, shapes and emotions that do not seem significant and relevant in the moment are reflected on in later years of our lives. These impressions from back then are very present now and influence my work a lot.
I see jewellery not only as an accessory but a way to express emotions and show one’s story through forms and language — what one has felt, heard and seen. As a designer, I tell my story and those who wear my jewellery tell theirs.
You have an appreciation for architecture. Where do you see that in your work?
In that I simply could not keep my hands off it in my designs and created a collection specifically for it. Basically, I never intended to design architectural jewellery. But my love for architecture was just too great. I’ve used the style and aesthetics of the work of my favorite architects like Zaha Hadid or Norman Foster in my jewellery. They are virtually small architectural sculptures that you can wear.
Introduce us to the works we see photographed in this series. What are the collections, their inspirations, etc.?
Besides architecture, I have other preferences such as typography and ancient Persian art. Here are collections inspired by these areas respectively. In the Lilly collection, there is a play of Persian and Arabic letters that do not form a specific word. The Babylon collection is inspired by the beautiful ancient Persian jewellery of the Achaemenids. It is a modern interpretation of the jewellery from this dynasty.
Can you remember where you were when you decided to start your own label?
I remember exactly. At that time I worked in a design office where we also designed for big brands, products and art installations. Each manufacturer had its own design guidelines to which we had to strictly adhere in the designs. These restrictions always bothered me as a designer. At that point I knew I had to do my own thing.
Now, I enjoy the creativity and freedom I have and am fearless in trying my projects in new and unconventional ways. I am very grateful that I can go my own way with my passion and even be more successful and fulfilled.
What makes MANA BESHARATI unique?
Life is just too short for boring jewellery. I think my different backgrounds and our approach to the design process sets it apart from others. It is a combination of tradition and modernity. We make the jewellery individually and exclusively in Europe. We make custom pieces for singers and artists. It’s not mass production, and I think that’s also appreciated by our customers, who are mostly designers, architects and photographers themselves.
What else inspires your work?
For decades, the fashion world has been talking about Paris, Milan, London and New York. But I find that cities like Tehran and Beirut can keep up. You just have to walk through the streets and alleys in Tehran. It’s unbelievable how creative and individual the street style is in this city. Tehran is all the inspiration anyone could ever need.
What are your plans for the future of MANA BESHARATI?
We have many plans as long as Corona plays along. Our plan for the future is to slowly but qualitatively establish MANA BESHARATI internationally.