“My art is my life style and sense. When I create new products, I put pieces of my heart and the warmth of my soul in them,”
Ilya grew up in the city of Karaganda and dreamed of being jeweler since he was a small child. He realized that dream and has been working as a jeweler for 15 years. He uses traditional methods and materials to create his unique pieces.
Silver jewelry has a long standing tradition in Kazakhstan, women grow up wearing this jewelry from a young age. It is believed that if a woman is preparing food without wearing her silver jewelry, the food will be dirty.
These centuries old traditions are coming back into fashion and extend into the Kazakh marriage ceremony. The groom gives the bride silver earrings for as a symbol of their engagement and on her wedding day a Kazakh woman are adorned with a full set of traditional silver jewelry.
Ilya uses a variety of silver, wood, bone, stones, and leather in his jewelry, which is helping to bring this historic tradition back to life. The fact that Ilya’s jewelry is created using these materials gives his work its vintage feel. To enhance this, all pieces are made by hand with traditional equipment and methods; Ilya forges, stamps, and hammers each piece by hand to create its unique beauty.
Ilya explains, “I think this is an opportunity to revive the craft of jewelry and to try and pass on this knowledge to our posterity. Many of my customers say that these ornaments are like their Grandmother’s.”
The pendants, rings, bracelets and earrings Ilya and his artists create incorporate traditional shapes which represent life in Kazakhstan; such as the sun, mutton horns, birds and home. Listening to the master jewelers before him helps Ilya preserve and pass these stories to younger generations and shares Kazakh traditions with those who may never otherwise experience them.
Marrying the past and present together in his jewelry helps to create a future for Ilya and his family. He explains that through his work as a jeweler; “I will be able to pay for good medical care, pay for my daughter’s education, and improve our home and to invite more people to work with me.”