JEW­ELRY PRODIGY

U Magazine - - UTRENDS - By AYY­OUB TAM S

In our en­counter with Ralph Masri – the fresh tal­ent in jew­elry de­sign – we ex­pose the in­ner work­ings of his cre­ativ­ity, ge­nius col­lec­tions and jour­ney thus far.

An amal­ga­ma­tion of in­ter­na­tional in­spi­ra­tional resources – from Le­banon to Canada, France and the United King­dom – is nes­tled in the mind of out­stand­ing Le­banese jew­elry de­signer Ralph Masri. A grad­u­ate of Cen­tral Saint Martins, win­ner of the Swarovski Award as a first-year stu­dent and the youngest nom­i­nee (at the age of 20) for the UK Jew­elry Award, Ralph Masri is es­tab­lish­ing his reign in the world of jew­elry de­sign, un­de­terred and with stead­fast steps. This young mind is cap­ti­vated by the fine allure of every­thing glam­orous, re­sult­ing in fine jew­elry of the high­est cal­iber in crafts­man­ship, artistry and a sharp eye that spots minute de­tails. Who is Ralph Masri? Tell us about your back­ground. I’m Le­banese. I was born in Beirut in 1989 to­wards the end of the war; soon af­ter that, my fam­ily moved to Paris then Montreal, where I lived un­til I was six, and then we moved back to Beirut where I went to school un­til I was 18. As a kid, I was al­ways into arts and crafts. I loved work­ing with my hands and be­ing cre­ative – I was not sporty at all! I kept de­vel­op­ing my cre­ative side all through­out my ado­les­cence. My first love was paint­ing and I thought I wanted to be­come a painter for a long time. Then, at the age of 18, I moved to Lon­don to study at Cen­tral Saint Martins. When did you first dis­cover that you wanted to be a jew­elry de­signer? My par­ents were both in the jew­elry field, so it’s some­thing I grew up with. But as a kid, I wasn’t re­ally in­ter­ested in fol­low­ing that path; it never seemed like an op­tion for me. I even­tu­ally dis­cov­ered my love for jew­elry as a stu­dent dur­ing my foundation year at CSM, where we ex­per­i­mented with a bit of every­thing. Al­though I had orig­i­nally planned to spe­cial­ize in graphic de­sign (since paint­ing didn’t seem like a re­al­is­tic ca­reer op­tion for me any­more), at the last minute I had a change of heart and re­al­ized I re­ally love the world of jew­elry and de­cided to spe­cial­ize in that, which is what I ended up do­ing my BA in. That was the best de­ci­sion I have ever made. Need­less to say, it be­came my pas­sion. Your first ma­jor mile­stone is marked with a Swarovski Award as a first-year stu­dent. Tell us more about that. Swarovski hold an an­nual com­pe­ti­tion for first-year stu­dents who are sup­posed to de­sign and make cre­ations us­ing their crys­tals. I ended up be­ing the win­ner of the com­pe­ti­tion dur­ing my first year and I was of­fered an in­tern­ship at their Lon­don head­quar­ters, which re­ally gave me my first glimpse of the busi­ness side of the jew­elry field. See­ing things from in­side such a huge multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tion was incredible; I learned a lot from that ex­pe­ri­ence - a lot of which went on to help me launch my own busi­ness. What was the first jew­elry piece you cre­ated? How have your de­signs evolved since then? The first piece I cre­ated was just a ba­sic cop­per ring band back in my foundation year for a project we were given - it was re­ally noth­ing spe­cial; just a tech­ni­cal ex­er­cise. That was back in 2007 when I had zero knowl­edge about any­thing and hadn’t dis­cov­ered my­self as a de­signer yet - eight years later with a de­gree and my own line, there’s ob­vi­ously been a lot of evo­lu­tion.

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