By Anthony de Marco in New York
Big, bold and colourful creations inspired by nature and accented by generous multi-coloured gemstones are trademarks of Zorab Atelier de Creation. Based in Lebanon, this family jewellery business has been selling limited edition and bespoke pieces to wealthy clientele for four decades.
According to Henri and Liza Istamboulian, the second-generation family members who now run the business, Zorab's distinct character has seduced oil tycoons from Russia to Texas as well as international celebrities including Elizabeth Taylor, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion
In addition to its headquarters and flagship boutique in Beirut, the company has gem-cutting facilities in Bangkok and an office in San Diego, California designed to cater to its American clientele, its largest market globally.
Zorab produces about 500 pieces a year, and, as Henri explains, each item can take from six months to a year to complete. They are fully integrated in the production cycle, from mine to market and source their gems from Africa and South America, including Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar. Henri and Liza show me a few pieces with neon-blue tourmalines from the Paraiba mines in Brazil that have nearly depleted their supplies of the stunning gem which is now sourced from Mozambique.
I was shown a fiery-red horse head bracelet animated with multi-coloured diamonds, orange, red and yellow sapphires, spessartite garnets and white diamonds on rose gold as well as an impressive tiger-striped flower ring made of black, white, yellow, and blue diamonds.
The company also produces more classic pieces such as a yellow gold Zorab bracelet covered in blue sapphires, diamonds and peridot and a pair of gold and palladium drop earrings dripping with white diamonds and contrasting blue sapphires.
Zorab jewellery has been present in the US market for the past 20 years and Henri and Liza are pleased with the business they have generated and their range of clientele. Their specialty of strong-themed pieces and their willingness to produce whatever their wealthy clients desire has earned them a niche in the US market.