How a Pregnant Woman Found THAT Diamond Ring and a Master Jeweller in Istanbul

Mediterranean Blue

THE Ring

Being the wife of a Londoner, trips to Blighty every year or two are a must! I’m not complaining, I love London and all it has to offer, particularly the ease with which you can access the rest of Europe. On one such trip, we decided to explore the ancient city of Istanbul. Both my husband and I are avid travellers and love learning about different cultures and the arts, architecture, lifestyle and cuisine of people around the globe. Istanbul did not disappoint!

The city of Istanbul is of course, famous for straddling Asia and Europe, and the Bosphorus is a major trade route connecting East and West. It is one city where you will find treasures from across the globe – ancient handcrafted goods from India, Morocco and Egypt mingle seamlessly with the brash, modern gadgets from Japan, USA and Germany.

My husband and I were expecting our first baby and we were beyond excited!  It was early October and the weather in Istanbul was perfect. Having arrived in the city late at night, I was very tired and my only thought was a comfortable bed. However, as tired as I was, I remember seeing a portrait of a beautiful, Ottoman style diamond ring in an brilliant Mediterranean blue hanging outside this quaint little jewellery shop in the hotel lobby. My brain registered this for later exploration.

2picWe woke up bright and early the next morning ready to explore the city. As is my tendency, I quickly finished breakfast and left my husband to have his coffee at leisure while I went in search of that ring! Since my husband is less than enthusiastic about shopping, I usually try to sneak off and shop while he’s otherwise occupied. Popping into the boutique, I was greeted with a warm smile from a woman I would quickly come to call a friend.  Veronik was charming and sincere and had a passion for jewellery that rivalled my own! And the jewels!! Oh the jewels!! The jewels were fabulous!

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Now, I may have more of a passion for jewels than your average person, but that also means I am hard to please. I’m not easily impressed, but in this little shop, I found jewel after jewel that left me breathless. From the cut of the gems to the unique settings and brilliant lacquer work, every piece was a stunner.  We got to talking and one thing led to another and before I knew it, we were making plans to visit Veronik’s husband, Artur at his workshop and see firsthand where the magic is created.  The thought did cross my mind that Kiran may not be so happy with the change in plans, but I also knew he would humour his pregnant wife. But what started off as a dutiful visit, ended up being one of the most enjoyable days we have had.  After visiting the workshop we ended up going for lunch with Artur and Veronik and really got to know them… lunch led to afternoon coffee… and dinner… and even a little dancing…
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Artur started crafting jewellery when he was just 16 years old. Being of Armenian background, crafting jewels was in his blood.  He had watched his mentor, his father’s friend from their ancestral village in Armenia, create amazing jewellery from a young age and Artur was enthralled by the ability to turn a block of gold and rough stones into works of art. So it is not surprising that Artur started experimenting with gold and stones very early in life.  The craftsman was happy to teach him the skills but he was an exacting master.  It wasn’t just another piece of jewellery to be sold, Artur was told, it was something that would be treasured for years to come, handed down from generation to generation.  That is how a true craftsman creates.  To this day, Artur creates with this same passion and exacting attention to detail.

That ring came home with me (along with a few other pieces…) and anytime my husband finds an occasion to shower me with special gifts to add to my collection, he knows to call Artur.

(Artur’s creations are custom commissioned and made-to-order and sold exclusively through Chakraas in North America).

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Chakraas Top Holiday Gift Ideas for 2014

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With endless choices offline and online, it is quite the undertaking to choose the right gifts for your loved ones. Although any of our handcrafted jewelry pieces are fit to delight these holidays, we’ve put together a sweet list of our top holiday gifts for the ultimate stocking stuffers. From fun and fabulous to dramatic and glamorous, we’ve got you covered. Also, enjoy free standard shipping on orders of $100 or more.
 

Chakraas Baby Elephant Earrings

Shop Chakraas Baby Elephant Earrings

Baby Elephant Earrings

A fun pair of handcrafted earrings in 925 sterling silver and encrusted with Swiss marcasite, dangle a couple of precious elephants! They are fun and fabulous — for the young and the young at heart. We LOVE these!

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Chakraas 1950's Aqua Chalcedony Earrings

Shop Chakraas 1950’s Aqua Chalcedony Earrings

1950’s Aqua Chalcedony Earrings

Simple and elegant, these handcrafted oval earrings are faceted aqua chalcedony crystals set in sterling silver with 22k gold plating.

A tiny quartz crystal at the earlobe adds that little bit of sparkle to these precious earrings.

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Chakraas An Evening Affair Earrings - Holiday Gifts 2014

Shop Chakraas An Evening Affair Earrings

An Evening Affair Earrings

A limited edition, and of those, only one pair of earrings was snatched up for our collection.

These beautifully handcrafted earrings are set with cubic zirconias and green agates. A gold-plated claw holds a creamy pearl in place — a timeless classic.

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Shop Chakraas Owl Pendant - Holiday Gifts 2014

Shop Chakraas Owl Pendant

Black Onyx Owl Pendant

The cutest owl with the biggest eyes! Big black onyx eyes are set into 925 sterling silver which has been encrusted with Swiss marcasite. Uber fabulous!! Note: Pendant comes with a 16″ sterling silver chain.

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Chakraas Art Deco Necklace

Shop Chakraas Art Deco Necklace

Art Deco Necklace

The Art Deco necklace is handcrafted with a sterling silver collar, brilliant faceted black onyx and creamy fresh water pearls. The organic shape of the pearls is beautiful against the precision of the black onyx.

This is a unique piece of jewellery for a woman who commands only the best.

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Chakraas Hollywood Necklace - Holiday Gifts 2014

Shop Chakraas Hollywood Necklace

Hollywood Necklace

925 sterling silver chains drape beautifully for an elegant, sophisticated look. A large fauceted, polished teardrop shaped Black Onyx hangs alluringly down the back to accent a low back outfit. Conversely, the onyx can be worn in the front (as shown in the picture).

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Shop Chakraas Crowning Glory Ring - Holiday Gifts 2014

Shop Chakraas Crowning Glory Ring

Crowning Glory Ring

This gorgeous statement ring screams magnificence. Handcrafted of 925 Sterling Silver, the Crowning Glory ring is studded with sparkling clear topaz and zirconias. Touches of brass with a round fauceted aqua chalcedony as the centre stone. Size: 8

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Shop Chakraas MoMA Ring

Shop Chakraas MoMA Ring

MoMA Ring

Handcrafted 925 sterling silver ring with a polished finish. As unique as you are. Size: 8

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Shop Chakraas Dutch Hoop Earrings

Shop Chakraas Dutch Hoop Earrings

Dutch Hoop Earrings

Simple. Clean. Pretty.

Handcrafted of 925 sterling silver, these hoop earrings have clean lines with a twist. The filigree work is done in geometric shapes of circles and straight lines.

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Shop Chakraas Gold & Amethyst Earrings

Shop Chakraas Gold & Amethyst Earrings

Gold and Amethyst Earrings

Handcrafted 925 sterling silver earrings with 22k gold plating. These earrings have a hammered finish with a gorgeous fauceted purple amethyst drop in the middle. Perfect paired with a crisp white shirt at the office or that LBD in the evening. Very versatile, adds that feminine touch to soften your look.

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Shop Chakraas Nested Jewels Bracelet

Shop Chakraas Nested Jewels Bracelet

Nested Jewels Bracelet

This delicate bracelet is handcrafted of 925 sterling silver. Delicate strings of silver create a tangled web to hold the fauceted black onyx gems. It’s the perfect accessory for the office or the evening gala. Very simple and easy to wear with stunning results.

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Shop Chakraas Petals Earrings

Shop Chakraas Petals Earrings

Petals Earrings

Reminiscent of traditional Indian hoops, these earrings have an old school look and feel. Handcrafted in India from 925 sterling silver, these earrings will add that exotic flair to any outfit. We especially like them paired with a pair of dark wash jeans and a crisp white shirt.

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Shop Chakraas Queen Elizabeth Jewelry Set

Shop Chakraas Queen Elizabeth Jewelry Set

Queen Elizabeth Jewelry Set
This handcrafted set consists of earrings, ring and pendant (on a 16″ sterling silver chain). Coloured quartz is surrounded by cubic zirconias. This set exudes old world charm – the stones are all placed in a traditional pronged setting. It’s all in the details with this charming set.

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Happy Holidays!

Chakraas’ Black Friday-Cyber Monday Deal

Chakraas Black Friday-Cyber Monday Deal

Chakraas Black Friday-Cyber Monday Deal

When in Rome… I must say that it is difficult to ‘discount’ handcrafted bespoke jewelry. However, we were compelled to participate in Black Friday and Cyber Monday because, really, who doesn’t enjoy a good deal here and there.

So starting Friday, Nov 28 until Monday, Dec 1, for every $50 you spend on Chakraas online shop, you earn $5 towards your next purchase!

Let the holiday shopping begin!

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Q & A with Jag Klair: A Woman with a Passion For ‘What’s Precious in the World’

Through the founding of Chakraas Jewels, Jag Klair has discovered a way to fuse her life’s passions into a one-of-a-kind ecommerce business: With her love of the earth’s precious stones and her appreciation for global artisans, Jag is dedicated to seeking out not only precious gems and jewelry for her clients, but precious causes to benefit women and children around the globe.

Jag Klair, Founder of Chakraas Jewels

Jag Klair, Founder of Chakraas Jewels

Jag holds a degree in economics and works as a manager and ombudsman in the public sector; however, her true calling is all about fusing her two loves: jewelry (specifically precious and semi-precious gemstones and crystals) and pro-active philanthropy. Jag has designed a jewelry business that directly contributes to bettering the life conditions of women and children throughout North America, North Africa and Asia.

 

Where did the name Chakraas Jewels come from?

“Chakraas refers to the seven energy centers in the body. When all seven centers are in alignment, you are in balance. Chakraas is the balance between material gains and philanthropy. For Chakraas Jewels, each material success–the sale of a piece of jewelry–also makes a contribution towards a cause benefiting women and children in the world.”

 

For Chakraas Jewels, each material success–the sale of a piece of jewelry–also makes a contribution towards a cause benefiting women and children in the world.

What causes are benefiting from Chakraas’ jewelry?

“Proceeds from each sale go towards a charity that supports health and well being in children and women through education, skills training, and the provision of food and medicine. We helped furnish a south Indian orphanage with cots and other furniture. Right now I’m trying to make contact with a Darjeeling woman in need of assistance raising 5 boys, but so far I’ve had no luck getting a hold of her. …We’ve also supported larger charities, like the Half the Sky Movement, Kiva, and FEED, and we’ve contributed to local causes here in Vancouver, like the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Through Chakraas we’ve made a commitment to provide a means for this help to reach as many people as is possible. It started with the founding of the company and will grow and develop as Chakraas does.”

 

Tell us about one of your most rewarding experiences.

“We helped a lady born to a poor family in a Punjab village, who did not have the use of her legs.  She had been handicapped for either her whole life or most of her life.  She had never left the house.  We helped in buying a wheelchair and getting her home chair outfitted with straps and wheels so she could move about freely.  Her story is so inspirational because after she received the wheelchair, she has gained so much independence.  She has visited many temples and other landmarks that she had only heard about before… shows you how giving just a little really can change a person’s life.”

 

So when did you know you wanted to start a jewelry business?

Even as a young girl, I always wanted to start my own company. I used to dream about opening a proper tea shop, but at the time I didn’t think anyone would pay for proper tea in Vancouver – obviously I was wrong! As I got older, jewellery became another huge passion of mine, and it ties in nicely with my love of travel.”

 

Jag Klair handpicks each piece she includes in the Chakraas Jewels collection.

“Chakraas jewels are truly bespoke.”

Do you travel to find your collection each year?

“I travel all over the world meeting with local artists and jewellery makers. I love meeting artists who create with passion. That passion shines through in the items they create and I sincerely enjoy supporting local artists. …This also means we rarely carry more than one or two pieces of any item. Chakraas jewels are truly bespoke.”

 

What inspires you when you design or seek out pieces for your jewelry collection?

“I love stones! Many times I will see a magnificent stone and then work with the artist to create a piece of jewellery that will highlight that stone. On a recent trip to Istanbul–a city I just love to visit–I saw these beautiful rose quartz stones. They were perfectly faceted in a teardrop shape…large and magnificent! And the colour was this deep, rich pink. I worked with the artist and together we designed a beautiful set. Still one of my favourite designs.”

 

Describe your typical Chakraas client…what are they looking for?

“My jewellery is not costume jewellery. Many pieces I note as heirloom quality, so my target is the woman who won’t compromise on quality. She knows she is worth more than coloured plastics and questionable metals. I tag some of my Instagram pieces with ‘wear the real thing.”

taren pearl

“… the woman who won’t compromise on quality. She knows she is worth more than coloured plastics and questionable metals.”

Do you always design or handpick each piece in person?

“Yes, it’s what I’ve come to be known for with my clients. I am meticulous about details and the cut of the stones. I have a good knowledge of stones and I keep abreast of trends. From the quality craftsmanship to the cut and clarity of the stones, nothing is overlooked.”

 

Is it hard to translate the fine detail and quality to the online market now that you’re showcasing these handpicked pieces on the Internet?

“I wanted my shop to reflect Chakraas’ philosophy and showcase the way in which each one of our jewels is handpicked with careful attention to detail. I display each piece in a unique way, and I have a mix of trendy, lower priced items as well as the more classic, ornate pieces.”

 

What’s your ultimate mission with this jewelry?

“My desire is to provide that finishing touch that takes a woman from merely well-dressed to something truly spectacular. I also wanted to give back, so that’s why my company mandate is that a portion of every sale goes to women and children in need.”

 

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“I also wanted to give back, so that’s why my company mandate is that a portion of every sale goes to women and children in need.”

What are your future goals for Chakraas’ charitable aims?

“I want to continue to expand, working on bigger projects, but I also want to able to see all Chakraas’ contributions going directly to the people who need them – so that causes and lives are instantly and directly benefited from what we have to give.”

Chakraas Jewels Now Selling Online

Chakraas Jewels Rose Quartz Set

Chakraas worked with an artist in Instanbul to design this beautiful rose quartz set

This is so exciting!

For those of you who have experienced watching your vision come to life, you can relate to what an amazing experience it is.  In some ways, it is almost surreal.

We have been working hard on re-launching the Chakraas website as a fully functioning e-commerce site.  I didn’t just want an e-store, I wanted to create the Chakraas experience. From the moment you click into our site, I wanted the passion we have for fine jewellery to shine through.

Up until now, all of our online sales have been through social media contacts and word of mouth. For the most part, our marketing was through small, private parties and by special appointment. However, more and more, I was getting requests from customers who had heard about us through friends and family, or had seen one of our bespoke pieces on a customer at a party, to sell online so that they too could have access to Chakraas.  At this point, we started doing a lot more sales through e-mail exchanges and Facebook and Instagram contacts.

As great as social media is, it is not always the most efficient method of conducting business. However, I didn’t just want to set up a shop on the Internet, I wanted my shop to reflect Chakraas’ philosophy and showcase the way in which each one of our jewels is handpicked with careful attention to detail. From the quality craftsmanship to the cut and clarity of the stones, nothing is overlooked.

I love stones! Many times I will see a magnificent stone and then work with the artist to create a piece of jewellery that will highlight that stone. On a recent trip to Istanbul, I saw these beautiful rose quartz stones. They were perfectly fauceted in a teardrop shape…large and magnificent! And the colour was this deep, rich pink. I worked with the artist and together we designed a beautiful set (above).  Still one of my favourite designs.

Besides Istanbul, a city I just love to visit, I travel all over the world meeting with local artists and jewellery makers. I love meeting artists who create with passion. That passion shines through in the items they create and I sincerely enjoy supporting local artists. This also means, we rarely carry more than one or two pieces of any item. Chakraas jewels are truly bespoke.

So get out your favourite teacup and saucer, brew a pot of chai, sit back and enjoy the Chakraas experience.

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Vital Points by Chakraas

Vital Points by Chakraas

The thoughts, reflections and musings of a dedicated follower of all that glitters!

Thanks for dropping by and welcome!

I’ll be sharing my scribblings about jewels, travel, who is wearing what and anything else that is catching Chakraas’ eye. I hope this can be a place for you to step off the merry go round that can be life, pause a moment and have a cup of chai and a chat! Please feel free to comment, I would love to hear from you.

Jag