ASTANA – In the past two decades, Kazakhstan has seen a revival of its traditions, customs, art forms and crafts amid its efforts to restore its history, cultural heritage and national identity. The centuries-long art of jewellery making has naturally evolved.
Jewellery making occupies a special place in the history of Kazakh culture. The art is heavily based on the symbolism of ancient Turkic ornaments and filled with deep, sacred meaning. Jewellery items were often made as ancestral amulets that were passed down from one generation to another.
The traditions are alive to this day and embodied in modern jewellery making, combining the energy of the past and present. Tengri Soul is one of the local manufacturers whose products are gaining popularity among the connoisseurs of vintage jewellery.
Rakhat Kalieva, a former computer modelling instructor, was surprised to learn her daughter and her friends, young professional women, were unable to find traditional jewellery that could be worn in everyday life. Most of the traditionally-made pieces available on the market were bulky and celebratory, designed to be worn on special occasions. This is how the idea of creating authentic yet modern adornments that a young progressive woman could wear on various occasions was born.
In 2014, a team of just a few novice jewelry makers sat together to design the first collection under the brand name Tengri Soul. The industry newcomers have subsequently earned acclaim showcasing their silver and golden pieces at different fairs and exhibitions.
Kalieva, a partner in the company, sat down with The Astana Times to share interesting insight into the growing business.
What does Tengri Soul mean?
Tengri is the supreme god in the Turkic culture. Tengri Soul embodies the association with the divine spirit. The title is a combination that represents history and modernity. We want to promote these two elements in international markets.
What inspires you to create your designs?
I get inspiration from many things. I grew up surrounded by the elements of the Kazakh culture, traditional ornaments and patterns. These elements are present in every household; they are recognisable to all of us. Therefore, we use the Kazakh national ornaments in our designs. Every designed item and collection has its unique theme and name. We brainstorm the designs, concepts and names within our team. Every jewellery item carries a concept behind it. It is a talisman, a reflection of beauty, culture and national traditions.
What are the manufacturing stages?
First, the designers draw the sketches, then after the approval of the sketches, we hold a discussion with our manufacturers. It may take one-three months from an idea to the design’s approval with the manufacturers. It is important that a sketch is turned into a final product of high quality and great design. We want our products to be passed down from mother to daughter. Therefore, we pay close attention to every step of the production.
What are the peculiarities of a family business?
The business has evolved into an alliance of loyal partners, many of whom are family members. We work for one cause. This unites us. Quality, excellence and reputation are at the forefront of our work. Therefore, our knowledge and experience from different areas are reflected in every product.
Who is your customer?
Our client is a bright and confident young woman who loves to experiment with classic, traditional patterns and modern styles, as well as a mature woman with a refined and perfected taste but who is open to new trends. We are pleased to see mothers choosing our products as gifts for their daughters and daughters presenting our products to their mothers.