At first, braiding and beading satisfied Nadirah’s artistic urge, but it wasn’t long before she began teaching herself how to wire-wrap, eventually gravitating toward soldering and metalsmithing. As her interest in artisanal jewelry grew, Nadirah found her way to
Read on to discover where Nadirah finds inspiration, why her jewelry is perfect for everyday wear, and her best tips for stacking rings.
Do you identify very strongly as an Aquarius, and what characteristics do you love about that sign?
When I started my shop, I became heavily interested in
What is it about rough-cut gems in particular that attracts you?
You can really draw from the power of gemstones when you wear them in their raw form. I also love the imperfections of things. It fits with my aesthetic, which is feminine, delicate, and something out of the ordinary.
Where and when do you feel most inspired?
I used to go to Tucson, Arizona every year for
Did it take you a while to develop your aesthetic?
I’ve always made really
Your tagline is “delicate jewelry for everyday wear.” Is it important to you to create jewelry that people can live in, no matter what the occasion?
I say “everyday wear” because I’ve personally been wearing the same pieces for six years! I’m still wearing the first set of rings that I made as thumb rings, and I have the same hoop earrings as well. I’m really active, so I wear my pieces to the gym, to yoga, and to dance classes. I do live in them! I know they’re something you can wear all the time, every day. They’re comfortable but still beautiful.
You create everything from necklaces to earrings, but it seems like rings are your true love.
Rings are my favorite pieces to make. I had been stringing and wire wrapping for so long, but when I got a torch in my hand and started soldering and metalsmithing, I felt like I had found exactly what I wanted to do. To be able to bend metal and then adorn that metal with gemstones was everything for me.
Do any of your designs have a special personal meaning for you?
Are rings the most popular items in your shop?
Yes, and my customers tend to buy a few at a time to make their own looks. Some people even buy the
Wow! Were you surprised people wanted to propose or tie the knot using your rings?
When a guy sends me a message and says, “My girlfriend loves your rings and I want to get her one as an engagement ring,” I’m always surprised. Women sometimes have such expensive and fine wedding jewelry. But it makes sense, because my own wedding ring, I don’t even wear! It’s big and set with citrine, which is a success stone. And yet I’m always wearing stacks and stacks of my own tiny rings because I can be so much more active in them.
What’s your best tip for stacking rings in new, interesting ways?
I would say mixing, and the more the merrier. If you mix the metals and
Customers will ask me, “Do you think these go together, or is it too much?” And I’m like, “No, never too much!” There’s no wrong way to do it.
What’s next on the horizon for your shop?
I’m in the process of teaching myself some different stone-setting techniques. I just bought a whole bunch of new tools and I’m so excited. People can expect some new ring styles from me in the coming year.
Photographs courtesy of Aquarian Thoughts.
Sharon Steel is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her heroes are Jane Austen, Carson McCullers, Lindsay Weir, Shirley Jackson, Lillian Ross, and the renegade crew of the spaceship Serenity. Read more of her work at sharoncsteel.com.