Free spirited Amna Shariff, made a number of career moves before finding her true passion – designing and making handmade silver jewelry. The journey to one of Pakistan’s leading designers of handmade silver jewelry was not straightforward. After getting her masters degree in Mass Communication in 1988, Amna worked as a journalist both at the desk and as a freelance columnist for eight years. Having had her fill, she moved to a more creative and entrepreneurial endeavor and opened an art and craft gallery called Sim Sim in 1994. Here she introduced new artists giving them space to display their art, along with the celebs in the art world. It was during this period of six years, 1994 to 2000, that Amna discovered the need for personal expression and started working on designing various artifacts.
A totally new phase began in Amna’s life during a short course in jewellery design at the Chelsea & Kensington College in London. Here she learnt to mould and design precious metals. She found her true love in handmade jewelry and this started her enduring passion for silver.
Back home in 2001, Amna established a small workshop and, with the help of a few craftsmen, started putting her creative energies into pioneering a new trend of sterling silver jewellery design in Pakistan. Today, she is recognized as a premier silver jewelry designer in the highest echelons of fashion in the country. Her work has been exhibited and sold from the most discerning boutiques in Pakistan such as Khaadi (Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad), Kapray Vaghera (Lahore) and Asmani (Islamabad). She has also featured at the @Work Gallery in Bricklane and Pimlico (London), Greenheart (Chicago), Women’s Work Poughkeepsie (New York), FabIndia in several cities (India), Ogan (New Delhi). She was also part of the prestigious International Folk Art Market Santa Fe in 2015.
Amna’s work continues to grow in volume and in design. Never excessive, always understated, her designs are modern but cast in the mythology of the ancient civilization she hails and entirely handmade.
“My styles are naturally inspired by the rich tradition of the land where the Indus Valley civilization flourished two thousand years before Christ. In this land, jewelry transfigures the landscape of daily life. Jewellery transforms its women into goddesses, continually underscoring their link to nature with a host of religious, social, and mythological connotations. From the Sufi tradition to astrological properties, jewelry and gems in the sub continent are known to heal, protect, purify, and attract.
I look at my piece as a part of everyday attire that confers beauty and joy to the humblest of women by enhancing her intrinsic worth. Every piece is a feel
good piece for me, and this is the energy that goes into the conceiving and making of my jewelry. This very energy is that I want to transfer to the wearer. My work is leavened with sensuality in a sophisticated way, transferring tradition into our contemporary lifestyle. My pieces are inspired by tradition without being heavy, and reach the modern without being soulless.
My jewelry collection is almost entirely in sterling silver with semi precious stones used sparingly to enhance the design. Silver, my favored material symbolizes honesty and purity – it is light and radiant, it is reflective. It is the symbol of the moon, of purity and enchantment, of love and desire, of sensuality and seduction. Nothing else describes my visual vocabulary better than the metal itself.