Jewellery for the Soul
Based on the connection between the soul and the world delivered in the form of intricately designed pieces, Tiny Om jewellery is truly the first of its kind in the Kingdom
BY ANAAM IKRAM
Combining the elements and philosophy of Yoga and presenting it in a wearable form, Tiny Om creates jewellery pieces with a meaning behind them. Incorporating the seven chakras that are the premise of yoga, Tiny Om has taken each of them and reworked them into its delicate designs to allow the wearer to have a talisman of who they are or who they would like to be working together with her, the product developer, Mahmoud Jannoun from Al Zain Jewellery. Founder and designer of the Bahrain-based brand, Virginie Dreyer, spoke to Perle Magazine about her own attraction to yoga and how that became her inspiration and premise for setting up the brand.
What inspired you to start this jewellery brand?
Virginie: After working in France as a lawyer, I moved to Bahrain trained in graphic design and I wanted to explore more my creative desires. At the same time I was also learning and teaching Yoga, and after another creative venture, I noticed there is nothing really yoga-related when it comes to jewellery. The jewellery items related to yoga were always chunky and stereotyped. I wanted to create delicate and precious pieces with a meaning but that you could wear even if you don’t practice yoga.
Why is it named Tiny Om?
Virginie: “Ohm”, in the yoga philosophy, is the first sound of the universe. It is the original vibration, and the idea is that when you wear a Tiny Om piece, you have this vibration with you all the time and that its a meaningful piece of jewellery and not just a piece of gold.
How did you come to working with Mahmoud and Al Zain Jewellery?
Mahmoud: I am in charge of production, designing, and product development at Al Zain jewellery and my background has always been in jewellery. I was introduced to Virginie and she told me about her idea. She gave me the designs and we worked on the first prototypes. It was 5 years ago.
How does the design process take place for each collection?
Virgnie: We have seven collections so far, and for example if we take the Chakra collection, I worked on the different Chakras and reworked the design to make it my own. We have changed the way the petals have been arranged but kept the design true enough to make sure the meaning behind them remains. Once the design was finalised, I began to work with Mahmoud on the prototypes. I explained him the delicacy of the work I was hoping to have for this collection and my desire for very thin chains but strong at the same time. Mahmoud has always great suggestions especially on the technical aspects of the manufacturing. We also created together the signature design – so on each piece you will see a small meditation symbol. One month after I gave him the drawings, he came back to me with the pieces and they were perfect.
What has the reception in Bahrain been so far in Bahrain? How did you think the market would respond?
Virginie: Honestly, I was surprised because my initial idea was to launch Tiny Om in France and in the United States where the yoga market is huge, and reaction has been good in both countries. But I realised that people in Bahrain likes Tiny Om too, and now when I walk in the street I am very glad to see quite a lot of women wearing my jewellery.
In terms of market, I think I got lucky to arrive at a good time where there was nothing within fine jewellery yoga-related. Moreover internationally we found many yoga teachers who help promote our pieces, and locally the word-of-mouth worked amazingly well!
Mahmoud, you have worked in the jewellery industry for a very long time, what is so unique out about Tiny Om that made you want to work on it?
Mahmoud: There is a kind of magic between us [Virginie and i] when we sit together, she comes up with ideas, a drawing, a design, and we start developing the prototype and she comes back, we see the prototype – you see there are stages we have to go through: there is the design, then you make the prototype, then you make the piece on gold. Its very easy to work with her, and the end result is what we want. There is a good chemistry.
How long does it take to complete a collection, from inception to end?
Mahmoud: More or less 3-6 months, depends on the collection.
Virginie: For the design sometimes I have an idea and I will work on it, whereas sometimes I go to see Mahmoud, and say okay a certain design is not going to work out right now, maybe we don’t try it now and I will work on it 2-3 months later and then something will come up. And other times I have an idea and draw the design and it comes out perfect away, and I go to see Mahmoud and one month later we have the perfect piece – it was the case for the Flower of Life.
What materials do you use to create the pieces?
Virginie: I would say the signature of the brand would be rose gold, but we also do white gold. And then we use stones for the Chakra Collection, meaning each chakra is related to an emotion, shape, and colour and to a stone. So at the back of the necklace, at the end of the lock hoops, there is a little stone that complements the Chakra. We use precious stones like Lolite, Amethyst, Citrine, and Tourmaline. We have some pieces with diamonds, when we want to make something a bit more special.
Do you decided on a certain number of pieces per collection when designing?
Virginie: It just depends, like for now the butterfly is only 4 pieces, which is an addition to the Mother Earth collection.
There is another collection that we will launch in June called Mantra of Compassion, and its 6 pieces like a necklace, bracelet, cuff, ring. It is whole set, but you can mix and match.
What does the future hold for Tiny Om?
Virginie: along with the collection that we will launch in June, we are in the process of creating the 7 Chakras Candles collection, which are going to be a fusion between jewellery and home décor. We are also working on a men’s collection, which is proving to be a bit of a challenge because we want to keep the delicate nature of the brand but appeal to a masculine audience.
Mahmoud: there is something I believe that behind the success of the brand is that Virginie does not compromise on her work. If she is not completely convinced about her product, she doesnt launch it, and she knows very well what the final product is going to be. So if there is something we have tried but it didn’t work out how she wanted it, she will not release it in the market. We at Al Zain, are so happy to work with Virginie and share our ideas and expertise and we will always be there to support her.
Anything else you would like to let the readers know?
Virgnie: Plan for Tiny Om is to keep on developing online sales and also we have collaborations with artists. At the moment we are collaborating with the French artist Mathieu Ducournau. We were also greatly honoured to see celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence wearing one of our pieces, and we know she loves the brand. I mean…she was wearing one of the pure chakra bangles during the promotion of her latest movie! It is fantastic to see famous, influential, and inspiring people to wear Tiny Om pieces and spread the word like that. To finish this interview, I’d like to thank Mahmoud and Al Zain that are a big part of TinyOm’s success. I feel very grateful to work with such professional and experienced people!
For more information:
Al Zain Jewellery outlets – Seef Mall / Bahrain City Centre
Words Bookstore Café, Budaiya
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