The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced that it’s awarded the WJA-Gabriel Love Foundation Student Scholarship, the annual $5,000 prize given to a female student enrolled in design or non-design courses through a jewelry or metalsmithing program.
This year’s recipient is Zulaikha Aziz, a human rights attorney and founder of Mazahri, a purpose-driven fine jewelry company pioneered on the principle that business should be a force for good in the world, and that jewelry can empower the people involved in each step of its creation, according to a prepared statement from WJA.
She’s new to jewelry, but Aziz has more than a decade of experience working with multilateral organizations, governmental bodies, academia, and civil society organizations. She is currently completing a Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) diploma at the Gemological Institute of America. She also holds a BA from McGill University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a JD from Berkeley Law.
“Aziz’s love of jewelry and colored gemstones is grounded in her personal story and her Afghan heritage,” reads the prepared statement. “Her family fled Afghanistan in 1982 and emigrated to the U.S. during a previous war. Her grandmother was able to smuggle out ancestral jewelry, some of which was passed on to Aziz.”
Aziz said in the same statement, “I deeply felt the power and meaning of these precious jewels, not only in connecting us to the past, but in showing us the potential for future growth. My grandmother taught me never to forget where I came from and [to remember] my inherent human dignity.”
The Gabriel Love Foundation was established by New York–based fine jewelry brand Gabriel & Co. to provide funding for students working toward careers in the jewelry industry who “hope to improve communities and participate in charitable efforts,” according to WJA.
Top: Zulaikha Aziz, the 2020 winner of the $5,000 WJA-Gabriel Love Foundation Student Scholarship (photo courtesy of WJA)
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