What inspired you to design jewellery?
My cross with the jewellery industry was more of a topple over. My formal education was in child psychology, however I have always been artistic and always managed a doodle here and there. After having visited several fairs and gem shops, I decided to design a few pieces for myself and from there my love for the gem and jewellery world began. I started educating myself on the various raw materials and stones available in Sri Lanka and it was just a love affair waiting to happen.
How do you keep your designs original?
I am fortunate enough to travel quite often and this allows me to draw inspiration from different parts of the world. I won’t design or produce a piece of jewellery that I wouldn’t wear myself, and I think that is what allows me to keep it real! Some pieces are ornate and others are simple. I don’t produce “collections” I simply design and manufacture whatever I am in the mood for. Every piece is handmade and I am very particular not to repeat a piece unless a customer really wants it, this allows us to keep our brand and its pieces exclusive.
How would you describe your Brand/Products?
Aiyaana is simply affordable luxury! I try and keep my products under a certain price range. Every piece is set in 925 sterling silver and is embellished with semi -precious gems. We offer our customers value for money, you are investing in a piece of jewellery that you can pass down to generations to come without having to break the bank. Our pieces are very intricate and can easily be considered ‘real’ jewellery, allowing our customers to take them as travel accessories and enjoy them hassle free.
What draws you to Sri Lanka’s precious and semi-precious stones?
Sri Lanka is truly a land like no other. The variety of stones both precious and semi precious, colours and textures available truly baffles me. It’s like being a kid in a candy store with everything at your reach. The kaleidoscope of colours and gems and how readily available they are, was something that inspired me to start my brand and take my little doodles to a market. I thoroughly enjoy playing around with the gems and their colours until I find the perfect pairing and colour combinations that will suit my designs on almost a daily basis, colours that would combine with several outfits and pieces you could always carry with you knowing they would match whatever you decide to wear.
Do you have a favourite piece/collection and why?
I have many favourite pieces. Every time I receive a piece from my workshop I stare at it and actually want to keep it for myself, and then I have to remind myself that I am trying to run a business. I am a firm believer in loving what you do, otherwise it is just a waste of time. I put so much love into every piece that invariably I fall in love with it.
Are you inspired to design pieces for a certain type of woman? Who is she?
I don’t really design thinking about a particular woman, I like to think of my pieces as jewellery that would attract the young and the older, the casual and the sophisticated women. However, my pieces are very defined. You will never see me venture towards anything Bohemian. I like to design pieces that are wearable.
What is your favourite Sri Lankan gem stone and why?
I am totally biased towards Sri Lankan moonstones. They have so much lustre and they shine in a different manner depending on the angle you look at it from. I try and use them as much as I can, I feel they combine very well.
What is your vision for the future of your brand?
Aiyaana was something I started almost 5 years ago, I never intended for it to be a full time job, rather something that I did for fun! I absolutely enjoy my work, the whole process from drawing up designs to the selection of stones and sitting with my workmen and explaining the intricate details of an earring or how I would like a design to follow. Thankfully I have two wonderful little children and a very supportive family who encourage me to strive for more. We turned five this October and to celebrate our milestone we launched our brand at two outsanding multi-designers store in Colombo: Trunk and Zudhora together with our very own website www.aiyaana.com. In the near future I’d like to reach out to other shores and try and tap into other markets. There is nothing like seeing a woman confidently wear your designs, It brings me great pride!