The story starts with a high school girl who wanted a piece of jewelry that no one else owns… but that soon every one coveted… And Shay Jewelry is born! Created in 2002 by Tania Shayan and her mother Ladan Vahdat, the fine jewelry brand is all about stacking, layering and mixing-and-matching to create a jewelry wardrobe that seamlessly transitions from coffee to meetings to a night on the town… Shay Jewelry is exclusively sold at Joanna Dahdah boutique in Achrafieh.
How did the Shay Jewelry adventure start? Tania Shayan: when I was in high school around 15 years old, I drew a bracelet for myself, and found a jeweler to produce it. It was actually a Link bracelet, which is part of our essentials now. It was such a success… That’s when my mother suggested we sell this bracelet. So we visited some stores, who bought our sample and ordered it in different colors… And that’s how the story of Shay Jewelry came to be.
What are the advantages and the disadvantages of working with your mom? Tania Shayan: I’m lucky, I have a good mom. There are more advantages than disadvantages because we trust each other no matter what. We have the same taste, the same aesthetic, the same style… We like the same things and it really works in our design process and most importantly we get along with each other.
Who is the creative mind, who is the business and administration mind? Ladan Vahdat: Tania is mostly the business mind and we do the creation together. We wake up in the middle of the night, we picture things in our minds, we make sketches and show them to each other. We don’t design season by season, when ideas come in our mind, we start sketching and making them. We go beyond trends.
How does the dynamic mother-daughter influence the creative process? Tania Shayan: Our line is very successful because it fits all types of persons, from the trendy young woman to the classical one. It is not only for one niche or one age group. I could wear our pieces and my mom and her friends would wear them as well and still be fashionable.We both would wear the same exact jewelry all the time and it just works!
How would you describe the Shay Jewelry style? Tania Shayan: The Shay Jewelry pieces are cool pieces that you can wear anytime, from a relaxed day out to a black tie event… The main philosophy of Shay Jewelry is to be able to stack multiple pieces. It’s simple, but has a power to it.
Would you say you are taking the classic and giving it a little twist? Tania Shayan: Our jewelry is versatile. People wear most of our pieces all the time and we have people wearing our jewelry on red carpet events, like the Oscars, and the Grammy Awards…
What are the different collections of Shay Jewelry? Tania Shayan: We have our main line of contemporary pieces, The Essentials Collection, that has all our bracelets and links, stacking bangles and pinky rings and all our chokers. We also have the Heritage Collection, inspired and composed of one-of-a-kind estate pieces, actual Victorian pieces, that might have been part of a crown, but that we make into a necklace or earring. Or it might have been for example a brooch that no one would wear, so we change it and make it look cooler by adding chains.
With the choker, the pinky ring is your signature piece, taken from the masculine jewelry… Tania Shayan: Kind of… But we added diamonds, baguettes, and made it a little more feminine.
1- Mini Pavé Link choker, 3,5ct diamonds, 18ct pink gold.
2- Pavé Essential Pinky ring 18ct rose gold, 1,7ct diamonds.
3- Pavé Essential Link bracelet 7,85ct diamonds, 18ct rose gold.
What differentiates Shay from other jewelry brands? Tania Shayan: The quality! Everything we do is handmade, the way all our diamonds are set is so particular. Nothing goes into production that we don’t love. Everything has to be perfectly made and super comfortable to wear. We’re one of the first people to make chokers, which are flexible, comfortable, and fit everybody’s neck, while our competitors make them stiff, difficult to wear… Our aesthetic and style are very new and modern with vintage inspiration. My mom used to always collect antique jewelry and we have a lot of Victorian and Art Deco inspiration in our jewelry. All of that is incorporated in us producing our jewelry, it’s modern but still has a little of that Victorian or Art Deco vibe…
In your opinion, what lacks in the jewelry world today? Tania Shayan: You could find the less expensive custom jewelry or you had a lot of people wearing the very high end like the Van Cleef or the Cartier. All of our clients have that but it’s something that every single one of their friends own too. There were no mid-category, between the very high end and the custom jewelry when we started. Our jewelry is high end but still trendy, cool and fashionable.
Do you think your pieces would last from one generation to another? Ladan Vahdat: I can definitely picture my grand-child wearing our jewelry… Our pieces will be passed on from one generation to another.
Shay Jewelry is sold in Beirut at Joanna Dahdah boutique… Tania Shayan: It is very important when you go into a store to buy jewelry, to have a person well educated in the field to answer the questions you could ask about the quality, the style and where the jewelry is coming from. Women buy more easily when they trust the vendor.
What is your go-to piece of jewelry? Tania Shayan: The link bracelet, I usually stack of a few of them. Ladan Vahdat: The bangle bracelet with the baguette cut diamonds and the pinky ring.
What was your first piece of jewelry? Ladan Vahdat: I had a diamond antique moon which I was collecting and which we continue making for Shay too. Tania Shayan: An Art Deco chocker my mom had given me in platinum.
What should a woman look for while buying jewelry? Tania Shayan: Of course, you have to make sure you are getting a good deal, that the quality of the diamonds is good, and the jewel is made beautifully… But most importantly, you have to love it. You want to buy something that you are going to wear and enjoy and not just throw in the safe. Conducted by Maria Nadim