Established in 2009 by Sharon Chandally, Chandally is a jewelry brand rich with heritage and one that had its designer rediscovering her roots to create. A New York City native with Yemeni lineage, Chandally honed her craft—and stepped into her grandfather’s legacy—with an apprenticeship in Israel, taught by her grandfather’s brothers, for three years.
Now based in Tel Aviv, Israel, the designer crafts jewelry that honors her heritage and also has wild appeal across the globe. Plus, as a member of Ethical Metalsmiths, Chandally’s offerings adhere to sustainable practices, speaking to the demand by today’s consumers too.
“Luxury for the every day,” Chandally is described on its website, and I find that to be quite apt—there’s something special about these pieces that elevates them beyond their wearable silhouettes, imbuing history and culture with metalwork that seems to dance, seducing the eyes with its twists and turns.
The jewelry is gorgeous in any context, no question, but in this current age of quarantine, we have to ask more of our jewelry than pleasing aesthetics: How does it make us feel? Of course we want our jewelry to be beautiful—we probably wouldn’t spend money on it otherwise—and though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, compliments from others make us feel good.
But when you get all dressed up with nowhere to go, you do it for yourself. And perhaps that’s one of the silver linings of this whole thing—we’re forced to find things that make us happy and make us feel good in the comfort of our own homes. It’s like the saying “dance like no one’s watching”—well, buy like no one’s judging.
Most people who see this jewelry likely will love it as well—it’s very good. But that brings me back to my initial point of how a purchase makes us feel, and particularly during a time when, for some shoppers, a single purchase (if they’re fortunate) will be all that is made. The designs have to stir something in us, call to us from the screens of our computers or our phones, and, as any of you can attest, that’s not necessarily cut-and-dried with jewelry.
These pieces from Chandally, though, might speak to you as they speak to me. It’s nearly impossible not to look at this jewelry and await the inevitable praise that will come from others when they see it (in person or via Zoom). But it’s more than that. I could lose track of time tracing the metal collages of scrolls and intertwining lines of gold (“controlled chaos,” as her work is referred to in a statement, is such an excellent description and, quite honestly, something that feels like a necessity at the moment). I could spend hours learning about the history behind the designer’s inspirations, or I could decipher a story of my own. The beauty of art, after all, is finding your own meaning in it.
“More than anything, I hope my pieces empower my customers,” says Sharon Chandally. “I’m very inspired by the spiritual role that jewelry played historically in talismans, amulets, and ceremonial pieces, and I’m interested in exploring how that spiritual quality can be imbued into contemporary pieces. These days, the approach I use to achieve that is to combine old techniques and symbolism with modern aesthetics, so that the pieces visually capture that tension between old and new. I like to think that my pieces remind people of where they come from and give them confidence in where they’re going.”
As for how the current crisis is affecting her business, Chandally has this to say: “I am taking this time to build out my online presence by focusing on my website and developing relationships with other online retailers. This time has also given me more space to organize. I cleaned out my studio and finally gathered all the incredible stones I’ve collected over the years, which I’ll use for one-of-a-kind pieces in the near future. I’ve also been writing and sketching a lot and connecting to my inspiration. I’ve been giving myself the time to see what collection I will create next. And I’ve also been feeling a lot of appreciation for my clients!”
Top: Arrowhead necklace in 18k yellow gold and sterling silver, price on request
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine