Last week we were fortunate enough to have Kiralee, the Founder and Designer of Murkani, host an intimate Q&A at our Sunshine Plaza store. We were excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the inspiration behind her designs and the creative process involved in crafting the beautiful pieces we know and love.
Luckily for you, if you missed the chance to hear Kiralee speak, we’ve got a blog just for you! We hope to give you an inside look into the mind of a Murkani and learn about the passion and dedication that goes into each piece.
So sit back, relax, and join us as we dive into the world of jewellery design with Kiralee of Murkani.
What inspired you to become a jewellery designer, and how did you get started in this field?
I had always wanted to create my own brand and become a designer, but I'd never had the chance. When my family moved to Vietnam in 2011, it was the first time that I'd had the space, time and confidence to do it.
What designs do you wear?
I generally wear the newest pieces paired back with older favourites. I currently layer my necklaces either with the Orb Choker and then the In To The Light Necklace or one of the new Halcyon Necklaces. I love all the new pieces from Halcyon but can't seem to get my hands on them as they sold out straight away! As for daily, I always wear the Delicate Pearl Huggies as I'm busy with 3 kids and a business, and they basically go with everything.
How do you approach your layering style?
For necklaces I like to anchor the look with a heavier choker and then one or a couple of longer lighter pendant necklaces. For ears I have my first and seconds, so I generally stick to a longer or larger earring for the first hole and then a smaller one for the second hole. I'm very tempted to get my helix done!
Can you walk us through your creative process? How do you produce your designs, and what techniques do you use to bring them to life?
I generally hand draw my designs and then get our graphic designer to do more precise drawings with measurements on them. I'm quite free in my drawing style and my drawings are never symmetrical. These are then made into 3D CAD drawings and then into moulds. It just depends on the piece, how much is done in the mould or if it needs to be handmade. I then approve these moulds and then we move onto getting samples.
Can you tell us about a particularly memorable piece of jewellery that you created, and what made it so special to you?
The Hagar collection is very special to me. Being able to create a collection around the values of Hagar and then raise money to support their very important work makes me so happy that I can create pieces that help other people in need.
How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and styles in the jewellery industry, and how do you balance these trends with your own personal style and vision?
I am an avid reader of magazines from all over the world and of course Instagram. But I love looking at designs and trends from all creative areas... fashion, interiors etc but so much of my ideas come from pattern, design and symbolism in ancient architecture, art, fashion and jewellery. I can find designs in tiles from Portugal or the lattice patterns in the walls of Moorish palaces in Southern Spain. And then of course whatever I design has to be able to be paired back with existing pieces in the Murkani range so you can mix and match. They have to be effortless to wear.
What materials do you typically work with, and why do you prefer these materials over others?
We only work with real materials, real metals and real stones.The reason for this is to make sure the pieces are long wearing and don't end in landfill. I want you to own a Murkani piece forever. I want it to look good forever. We are really focused on quality.
Can you share a memorable moment or experience from your career as a jewellery designer?
I think going on the Hagar Study Tour and seeing how our money could help women who had been trafficked and abused was a privilege that many people don't get to experience. And while it was very hard to hear their stories, it was ultimately uplifting, and knowing that we are helping with this as a community is so rewarding.
What inspired Halcyon and how did you come up with the concept?
Like many of my collections, it's very personal. I think last year I was feeling very nervous about travelling overseas for the first time since COVID. It made me think that many people were also probably feeling nervous about the world opening up again and I was searching for symbolism that could be like a talisman I could hold on to. I then searched for symbols that would represent calm and strength and found the Alim symbol from Celtic times. The Ailm symbol represents the pine tree which is strong and represents strength and calm. The outer circle represents equilibrium and balance. I was drawn to these themes in these current post COVID times and felt they could provide a sense of comfort and security to not only me.
How do you keep your designs fresh and innovative, while staying true to your personal style and brand?
I am always finding ideas in books and magazines I read as well as art and fashion exhibitions that I go to. I love to learn, and I find historical exhibitions really good for this. I recently went to the Alexander McQueen exhibition and realised that his design process was quite close to mine as he designs in themes. He often sought inspiration from designers, artists or movements from the past and I have a very similar creative process.
The head designer at Fendi also designs like this as well. I love getting lost in the history of it, whether it's the Bloomsbury artists or a discovery of golden treasures in burial tombs in Afghanistan. I love the stories and then recreating these in pieces of jewellery.
Lastly, what do you hope to achieve with your company in the future, and how do you plan to get there?
I would love to be stocked in key stores in the UK, Europe and the US. I would also love to be able to employ more women in flexible working arrangements, and expand into other product categories. I also want to be able to give back to more females in need, and do more collaborations with interesting people... the list goes on!
And that's a wrap on our Q&A with the talented jewellery designer Kiralee, the face behind Murkani.
We hope you enjoyed this intimate conversation and gained some insight into the creative process and inspiration behind her designs. If you haven't already, be sure to check out the latest collection Halcyon, both in-store and online.