Katarina Tarazi is a Lebanese jewellery designer born into a family of artisanal craftsmen and antique art dealers dating back almost two centuries. Having her formative years in London and then in Beirut, Katarina was immersed in a marriage of French, British and Middle Eastern culture. Throughout her adulthood, Katarina cultivated her interest in the cultural and historical role of artefacts and their layers of social and individual interpretations. Meanwhile, she never outgrew her childhood fetish for collecting Victorian miniature toys and trinkets that moved, opened, or spinned. The above laid the foundation for her fascination with the idea of creating pieces that hold secret sentimental messages and interact mechanically with their keeper. After various technical courses that helped shape a comprehensive understanding of the beautiful and complex world of manufacturing, Katarina returned to Beirut and sought out bench jewellers that are both technically proficient and passionate about the intricacies of craftsmanship. These experts, gifted with patience and dedication, joined her on a long-winding journey which started in 2019. In 2021, Katarina launched her eponymous brand, offering jewellery that is tactile and appealing to our most familiar superstitions and our innate desire to play.
Katarina has a BA in Psychology and Minor in Anthropology (American University of Beirut), an MA Museum and Gallery Practice (University College London), a GIA Certificate (NYC), a Bench Jewellery Training Certificate (Studio Jewelers, NYC).
Katarina’s childhood was spent pouring over beautifully illustrated storybooks. Like many children, she carried these stories in the back of her mind as she grew. Storytelling became her way of making sense of the world, of forging deep and authentic bonds. She saw this as her purpose in life, and it ultimately manifested in making objects.
Each piece of jewelry she creates is infused with a story, and incorporates design elements from a specific historical era. They are imagined to have been made during that time by someone who lived and breathed their culture, and who believed in the objects’ supernatural powers.
Like the human soul, jewellery can be in perpetual motion. It is also totemic – embodying parts of our personhood and memories.
By pushing mechanical boundaries as well as aesthetic ones, these pieces follow the principles of technology of enchantment. Their size challenges the notion of how small an object can be while still allowing a gap for movement. With motion comes energy. Small objects are able to express big feelings.
Katarina’s jewellery is aesthetically artisanal and mechanically ambitious, expressing an existential balancing act between sentimentality and practicality. On the one hand, we adhere to the notions of cosmic order, fate, spirituality, superstition, and determinism. And on the other, we believe life to be ludicrous, whimsical, playful, and arbitrary. Each piece of jewellery possesses tangible and well as intangible value.
This tension is temporarily resolved when tactile movement is associated with an object and performed repeatedly, creating and satisfying a personal and intimate fetish.
In an ever-changing and often alienating world, jewellery offers a sense of agency, a possibility to write a story by offering an introduction and an opportunity to the wearer to write the rest. In this world, we spin, flip, push, press, twirl and ask.
Engage with these tiny treasures, cherish them, and above all, remember to have fun.
Katarina Tarazi pushes the boundaries of jewelry innovation while recognising the value of both product engineering and design. Her process of creation begins with thorough historical research and an added layer of fantasy. Katarina makes sketches followed by technical hand drawings of the pieces to be ultimately assembled. Once the drawings are turned into 3D renderings by experts, they are transformed into tangible golden objects, meticulously handcrafted by talented artisans with years of expertise in the heart of Beirut. From its conception to its completion, each piece takes months, sometimes up to a year, of trial and error and is the result of many individuals’ passion.
Made with 18K gold with the brand’s signature artisanal semi-matte semi-shiny finish, KT jewels are ethically produced to the highest industry standards with exclusively VVS white diamonds, and precious as well as semi-precious natural gemstones.
“It wouldn’t seem all that strange to me
To write down the familiar things I see
To play the music I sometimes feel
To photograph the resounding notes
Of the bittersweet melody that can reveal
The most intense memory one can quote.”