From a kaleidoscope of vivid hues to classic regal gems, colour continues to charm fine jewellery designers – and Dubai-based Resham Khan, founder of Arkay, is leading the charge in the UAE.
Fun, stackable, and full of personality, Arkay Jewellery was founded in 2018 after Khan noticed a gap in the market for demi-fine jewellery with an Instagrammable edge. Khan artistically tackles with ease the ability to reimagine classic pieces (we’re looking at you, tennis bracelet) into something charming, eclectic and high-octane. If there were ever a piece of jewellery destined to bring you joy, it will be one of these.
Affordable fine jewellery may sound like an oxymoron, but thanks to a recent boom in direct-to-consumer brands, the landscape is changing. In her first-ever media interview, GRAZIA talks to the Pakistani-born designer about new jewellery trends, being a woman in business, and how her third-culture upbringing has shaped her career.
Tell us about the first piece of jewellery you designed when you were 12. What was it? Do you still have it?
When I was 12 I made myself a plain gold eternity band with my name engraved in it. Little did I know that a simple piece like this would spark my creativity for the design.
What is it about jewellery that made you know you wanted a career in it?
Collecting fine jewellery pieces is something I’ve always been passionate about- not only because of the beauty of the pieces but also due to the fact that jewellery is an investment that just makes sense to me. Over the years I had designed pieces for myself, some of these pieces stood the test of time but there were also many that I re-worked to suit current trends. Through doing this I realized that jewellery and design were something I really enjoyed, and the responses I got from people around me made me believe I could design for a greater audience than just myself.
How did you know the time was right to create Arkay Jewellery?
I had reached a point in my previous career where I realized I was leading a business I was no longer passionate about. I felt like I needed to reorganize my priorities and do something that fueled my passion and creativity. I can’t pinpoint exactly how I knew it was the right time for Arkay, but sometimes when you know, you just know.
What has been your biggest lesson since becoming a brand founder and a woman in business?
Owning a business has so many challenges, and being a woman in business comes with even more hurdles. My biggest lesson has been to trust myself and to demand respect in an industry that is dominated by men. I know my product and I’ve made huge efforts to learn about my industry, I won’t settle for anyone treating me differently just because I am a woman.
Your Rainbow Tennis Bracelet is arguably your most iconic piece. Was this intentional? Why do you think people are drawn to this piece specifically?
The Rainbow tennis bracelet was one of the first pieces I designed specifically for Arkay. I think this became our most iconic piece because of how unique it is, yet it’s still totally wearable for every day. It elevates any stack and that’s why our customers love it.
What sets Arkay apart from the rest of the jewellery industry?
Arkay pieces are truly unique- we work with a very select combination of suppliers and producers that provide us with amazing quality stones, and impeccable stone setting that you cannot easily find and we get them to our customers for the best prices possible. You could try to replicate our brand but I guarantee you cannot match our amazing quality and our reasonable prices
How has your third culture upbringing (being between Pakistan and UAE) influenced your design aesthetic?
Having seen designs from both Pakistan and Dubai definitely influenced my own tastes. If you are familiar with Pakistani design you know that it is generally unique and maximalist, which is beautiful in its own right, Dubai is definitely more on the sleek and modern side. I’d like to think my pieces encapsulate elements of both of these styles- unique and bright yet sleek and wearable for every day.
Who is the Arkay woman?
There is no definition of the Arkay woman. There are no bounds to the person I design for, I want everyone to feel beautiful, special and unique when wearing our pieces no matter who you are and whatever walk of life you are in.
How would you describe your brand in three words?
Unique, Wearable, Elevated
What is the process you undertake when you want to design a new piece or new collection? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Designing new pieces is a collaborative process. I have the pleasure of working with my amazing team every day, we draw inspiration from each other, and I get inspiration from my clients, my friends, and even my children. I truly believe that if you are passionate about something- you will find inspiration in everything.
Do you have a muse that you keep in mind when you design?
Our amazing customers are our muse. Every piece we work on with clients, and every suggestion we hear goes into consideration when we design. Our customers are top of mind for us every step of the way- we love them!
Shop the full Arkay Jewellery collection or book a private appointment via their website.