Interview with Georgian Self-taught Jewelry Designer Maia Mikashavidze
Tell us about yourself, your background and the place where you live.
I am a psychologist by professional background and I have ten years of musical education. It may sound surprising but I ran a successful pharmacy business for almost twelve years. I was never thought of by anyone as being capable of creating luxury jewelry and I do not have any formal education in jewelry making. However since a very young age I've been distinctive from others by my individualism. I never wanted to be like anyone else, I loved dressing with taste and differently. In other words, I had almost all the qualities, creative talent and desire that were necessary for my present work.
Unfortunately, for a long time becoming a jewelry designerwas just a dream, as I lived during difficult times, in a small country, called the Republic of Georgia. My country had remained unknown to most of the entire world outside of the former USSR. It was difficult and almost impossible to find the materials, that I needed to realise my dreams. For the last ten years everything has changed. We had a revolution in Georgia. Now we have a government who cares about people and our wellbeing. Now I want to say that today I live in the same small Georgia, but known to the entire world. And today I can do what I desire thanks to the changes that have happened in my country.
When did you realise you wanted to be a jewelry designer?
I love traveling. Once wile visiting Dubai I came across my dream boutique shop by accident. In that shop I found all of the materials that I needed to create my first jewelry pieces! Without hesitation I purchased different varieties of materials, returned to my hotel room and created my first finished piece. It was a necklace which I keep for my private collection and it will remain with me always. As soon as I returned to Georgia I set a goal to start working on my first public exhibition. I realised my plan shortly after that and the result exceeded all expectations. I sold more than half of my first jewelry exhibition and I made the decision that making jewelrywas to become my profession.
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What types of material do you use for your jewelry designs and what makes your collections unique in the industry?
I use only the best materials I can buy. Some of the materials I use are: semi-precious stones, Swarovsky crystals, Venetian glass, cultivated pearls and Cameo. My jewellery is remarkable as each piece is different and is never repeated, each item is unique.
Could you tell us a little bit about your jewelry making process?
It would be difficult to describe the process of jewelry making. Most of the time it just happens spontaneously.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love making jewelry and it is the greatest passion in my life. Each piece is created with love and I think that is what makes my jewelry special. I've been in this business only three years and so far it has been a silk road for me.
What have been some of your favourite jewelry pieces that you've created and why?
I cannot decide on a favourite piece, I love them all especially my new works.
What kind of person wears your jewelry? Who is your ideal customer?
Every customer is ideal for me. It gives me tremendous pleasure when I see that my jewellery gives happiness to those who wear them. Among my most devoted clients I would like to mention Georgian theatre star Marina Kakhiani, who does not wear anything but my jewelry. She plays in some highly rated Georgian dramas. I have a working collaboration with the film and TV industry. Another ideal customer is Nanuka Gogichaishvili, a young Georgian model, who wore my jewelry during the Miss Universe contest. Everyone says that my jewelry brings some luck too alongside its aesthetic pleasure.
Several celebrities in Georgia have worn your designs. Who would be your dream person to see wearing your jewellery?
I would love to see my jewelry on the First Lady of Georgia Sandra Roelofs. I will try to accomplish this dream as I am planning to design something especially for her as a present.
Who are your favourite designers?
Among my favourite designers are many Georgian artists, as Georgia has a long tradition of Jewelry making. I would like to name Irakli Nasidze, Avtandil Tskvitinidze, Teona Elizbarashvili, Tamuna Ingorokva, Ika Boboxidze and Irakli Rusadze.
What are your plans for the coming future?
I would call my plans my wishes. I would love to see arranged an exhibition of my jewelry works outside of Georgia.