Lisa Nikfarjam, founder and designer of the Lisa Nik jewelry brand, comes from a successful corporate career with an Italian luxury jewelry firm before establishing her eponymous brand; which gives her freedom to fully immerse in her passion, designing and conducting business, all in five languages.
As a Couture jewelry designer, Lisa’s main focus is on one-of-a-kind pieces showcasing rare and unusual gemstones. The brand also works on bespoke commissions for both women and men, and has designed and created unique pieces for well-known personalities, athletes, and A-list celebrities, who are loyal customers and fans of the brand.
Lisa Nik Stylized Diamonds. All images courtesy of Lisa Nik Fine Jewelry
Her muse a client that is equally educated, well-traveled, stylish and fashionable woman, who strives for success in all her endeavors. The brand, based in Los Angeles and New York, has grown consistently and is available at more than sixty fine jewelry retailers and luxury resorts around the world; it frequently partners with these luxury stores for in-person appearance shows to further solidify a special connection to collectors of fine jewelry and gems from across the world.
Lisa’s vast experience selecting the best colored stone material from all over the world translates in jewellery crafted using materials of the highest quality, 18 Kt. gold, diamonds and colored gemstones including rubellite, tourmaline, tanzanite, Mexican fire opal, Australian opal, and multicolored sapphire. The Lisa Nik brand actively supports efforts to find a cure for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) as well as various children’s charities and those that promote and support the advancement of women.
How did you start as a Jewelry designer back in 2010?
I founded Lisa Nik after leaving an almost 12 year career as the executive vice president of an Italian luxury brand. During my time there, I designed and developed many best selling items and collections, with a distinct interpretation of the fine jewelry category. My love of color, keen eye for unusual gemstones, and a passion for diamonds, inspired me to establish my eponymous brand, Lisa Nik, that leans into this aesthetic.
Lisa Nik Stylized Sapphires and Diamonds
I am inspired by classic style icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and keep these timeless beauties in mind during my creative process. The feminine, modern woman wears Lisa Nik as her everyday power jewelry with the knowledge that best-in-class stones, 18K rose gold, and limited production runs of each makes a piece unique to its wearer.
Lisa Nikfarjam, founder and designer of the Lisa Nik jewellery brand
"I grew up in Los Angeles near the ocean and lived in New York City for many years, and as a result, I am deeply connected to the beauty found in nature as well as the structure found in modern architecture emulated in the geometric shapes of the gemstones we use." - Lisa Nikfarjam, founder and designer of the Lisa Nik jewellery brand
When I use aquamarines and blue topaz, I am dreaming of a day by the ocean. Mexican fire opal creations bring me joy when I want to reminisce about a romantic night watching the sunset. When I need my fix of stately pines in the mountains, I gravitate to the richness of Paraiba tourmaline. The cacophony of colors in gems affects my mood, as the medley symbolizes the beauty that surrounds me each day. As a gemologist, I am forever curious, searching for the rarest gemstones and presenting them to my discerning customers.
Your brand also works on bespoke commissions for both women and men, why does taste in jewelry design diverge between these two populations? What are the most unique commissions you have made?
Jewelry design, by nature, is rather solitary so when I take on a bespoke assignment, I enjoy the intensity, attention to detail, and collaborative design process, with the end result being a joyful piece and the intent to hand it down as an heirloom for future generations.
Like the entire industry, I am seeing an emerging request for men’s jewelry, which is a new category of products for me. I recently created custom black onyx and diamond buttons for a man’s winter coat, which was unusual but really fun for me. I also get a charge seeing a three-sided diamond cube necklace that a MLB player commissioned from me to wear during his baseball games.
Who are your favorite designers outside your profession?
My husband is Greek and each summer our family spends time in Greece. I love to stroll the shops and collect incredible fashions and shoes from unknown designers who are pure talent. Some of my greatest compliments come from these finds. Nike is a brand that resonates for me because each user has its own Nike story, and despite some collections like Jordans being decades old, the brand is timeless in its own right and offers something for fans, collectors, and everyday users. I also love the simplicity of an Alaïa dress. #Alaïa is one of those timeless brands in which a dress bought 20 years ago still looks modern, fresh, and gorgeous on its wearer. I see a little bit of the Lisa Nik DNA in both of these brands, as I design one-of-a-kind, elegant statement pieces that become intrinsic to a person’s signature look and intended to spread joy.
Philanthropy is important to you and your brand and in particular your active supports to find a cure for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). How did you get involved in raising funds for this research?
Almost a decade ago, my father was diagnosed with ALS. During his five-year illness, I watched my hero and inspiration deteriorate until his death in 2019. The care involved with ALS is a great challenge for those sick and their families. To honor the memory of my father, I created homage to the 2014 #IceBucketChallenge with my ice cube-inspired rock crystal quartz bracelet. All proceeds from the sale of this bracelet fund the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology, which is on the forefront of ALS research.
What advice would you give to someone interested in getting into the jewelry design business?
If you are a creative person who appreciates beauty, art, and design, the jewelry industry is a great place for these passions. I recommend becoming a GIA Graduate Gemologist; the schooling is vital to learning the science and technical knowledge needed to work with the entire range of diamonds and colored gemstones. I also believe that working as a sales associate for a fine jeweler offers strong exposure to what customers’ jewelry passions are and how to sell. I love mentoring young people, and I always recommend befriending someone who can become a sounding board to discuss this multi-faceted
industry. If a person possesses a relentless focus and works with diligence and confidence then this business can be richly rewarding.
I have often served as a coach and mentor for GIA and have personally advised students about how to embark on their journeys to become designers. I suggest not listening to too many voices and opinions because involving too many points of view along the way
causes the essence of the mission to be diluted. I recommend moving forward without hesitation or reservation because looking back, the only thing I would do differently is being more aggressive at the inception. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, expect opposition; creative and entrepreneurial people are often marginalized by others who covet the skills and audacity required to succeed. Relentless focus and diligence are what will ultimately make it possible to face opposition and reach objectives.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created recently – and what made it so special?
I am at my best when I am creating custom pieces after getting to know someone. My deep connection to each client is my secret sauce to designing with confidence for a special recipient. I loved crafting a bespoke Paraiba cuff bracelet and a bold cushion-shaped blue-green tourmaline ring, which were special orders. In both situations, the clients’ personalities were able to come through using colorful stones, cutting-edge design, and my high jewelry signature details (such as the adornment of diamonds in my new luxury setting); I shined bright during the collaborative process in which the mandate from both clients was to be bold and create strong statements.
Being based in Los Angeles and New York, you have extended to more than 60 fine jewelry retailers and luxury resorts around the world; which destinations in Europe and Asia can discover your creations today?
Being based in Los Angeles, celebrities have found the Lisa Nik bespoke collection, and as a founder, I often work directly with individuals to create special occasion designs; I also help dress and style my VIPs. And while some of the Lisa Nik collection pieces have been worn on the red carpet, most creations are imagined for artists, actors, and musicians and are private acquisitions.
The world is certainly smaller and more accessible because of my ever-growing social media presence and collection shared on www.lisanik.com. I am delighted that these channels, as well as our monthly newsletters that I write and feature pieces in, allow my customers to become a part of the Lisa Nik journey. I have a showroom and headquarters in Beverly Hills, CA, and encourage our collectors to discover our design process when visiting from abroad.