One of the most sought-after jewelry designer and gemologist of the country, Farah Khan Ali has worked her way to the top of the realm. Born into a Bollywood family; contrary to popular belief, Farah’s success was hard earned. Apart from her niche Bollywood clientele, the luxury jewelry designer has created Bijoux for music and sports legends like Beyonce and Serena Williams. Inheriting the creative gene from her parents, Khan studied at the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California and later launched her brand Farah Khan Fine Jewelry in 2004. Her impeccable taste resonates in her delectably crafted pieces. Khan Ali’s diaphanous jewelry narrates modern-day feminine attributes with an elegant hint of glamour. In an elaborate conversation with the designer, we talked at length about what inspires her and the celebrity whose jewelry collection she’d rather have.
1-BEING BORN INTO A FAMILY WHERE THE FATHER IS AN ACTOR/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER AND THE MOTHER-AN INTERIOR DESIGNER, HOW DID YOUR INTEREST IN JEWELRY DESIGN COME ABOUT?
“I never intended to be a jewelry designer. I couldn’t tell an emerald from a ruby up unit I was 21. When a friend decided to go to America to do a course in Gemology, I decided to tag along because the prospect of spending 6 months in America enticed me more than the course. Also, I needed an excuse to convince my parents to let me go. I guess destiny had other plans because instead of becoming the party animal I had hoped to be, I became the Indian nerd and I topped my class in Gemology at the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica. I later followed it up with a jewelry design course because I was extremely artistic by nature and thus began my journey of jewelry design 25 years ago.”
2-WHERE DO YOU DERIVE YOUR INSPIRATION FROM? HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF FROM WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING?
“You have to feel to be inspired; my inspiration comes from the world around me. I am a highly curious person and am always seeking to discover and learn new things. My quest to seek and know helps me to inspire from everything that catches my fancy and captivates my senses. I then translate that inanimate thought into a three-dimensional object of beauty and art. I don’t consciously seek to differentiate myself from others. I am a perfectionist and guess that shows in my work. I am also very inspired by color and textures and I use gemstones to paint my stories in metal and now in my new lifestyle products.”
3-WHO DO YOU DERIVE STYLE INSPIRATION FROM? WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE LIKE?
“My Personal style is eclectic. I don’t like to fit in and rather stand out so while most will covet the “in” bag or accessory, I would prefer something else that not all have access to. I don’t like to look like the herd. When I dress it’s because it is an expression of my individual style statement. I usually wear mono tones and accessorize them with chunky accessories because I love accessorizing. I also like bright colors and bold prints. I will never be overdressed because I believe less is more, but I will always have one statement piece that stands out. I derive my style inspiration from mother Zarine Khan who has always been a very elegant dresser. Have watched her dressing up as a child and been fascinated at the way she throws things on mixing and matching everything so effortlessly.”
4-CELEBRITIES LIKE BEYONCE, SELENA GOMEZ, SANIA MIRZA, KAREENA KAPOOR ETC. HAVE ADORNED YOUR JEWELRY. DID YOU EVER IMAGINE BECOMING THE ‘IT’JEWELERS FOR STARS GLOBALLY?
“I am grateful for the exposure that my work has had among the celebrity crowd. I guess I design pieces that are ‘head turners’ so they make perfect red carpet accessories. Recently Deepika Padukone wore one of our statement earrings to the GQ awards show and looked every inch of the Diva she is. It feels great when celebrities wear my jewels because they make the perfect muses for my eye-catching designs.”
5-A JEWELRY TREND YOU ARE LOVING RIGHT NOW?
“I love working with carved gemstones because they are all irregular in shape and no two pieces look exactly the same. Also, it has an old world charm to it and I like to mix and match colors translating it to everyday wear.”
6-WHOSE PERSONAL JEWELRY COLLECTION DO YOU ADMIRE?
“I loved Elisabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection as she had great taste and style.”
7-WHAT IS NEXT ON YOUR JEWELRY BUCKET LIST?
“Lots of new things on the agenda – everything that involves the design space from lifestyle to accessories, beauty and more.”
8-HOW WOULD YOU CATEGORIZE THE JEWELRY CHOICES OF TODAY’S WOMEN?
“Women in India are becoming more adventurous in jewelry today. In the past, they stuck to their diamond solitaires. Today they want unique pieces that can be mixed and matched. They want jewelry that can be worn both on contemporary as well as traditional wear. The woman of today wants to ‘stand out’.”
9-YOU WERE A PART OF OUR #IAMFEARLESSSTRONGPOSITIVE CAMPAIGN. HOW DO YOU THINK MEN AND WOMEN CAN TOGETHER WORK FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT?
“I believe in the feminine and masculine. Like Yin and Yan and Fluidity and Structure. Each compliments the other for there would be no other without either. I was happy to be a part of the FSP campaign because it focused on a woman’s strength in society. It encouraged more woman to be fearless positive and strong and to follow their dreams. I think Men should realize that a woman can multitask much easier than a man and that he can help to empower her by encouraging her to go and work and make her dreams come true.”
10-WHAT’S NEXT FOR FARAH KHAN ALI?
“The day I discover myself I shall cease to exist. I thrive on becoming the flow. There is so much yet to discover, learn and create. I am an ever leaning soul who will always be busy creating for I don’t love to design. I live to design.”
Photographer – Tina Dehal Singh Photography
Location – Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Editing – Ponmariappam S
Hair – Mehboob Malik, Kromake