There’s diamonds and then there’s SHAY diamonds.
This Los Angeles label was founded in 2002 by mother/daughter duo Ladan and Tania Shayan, and their fine diamond and precious gem pieces are completely lust-worthy.
Ladan and Tania Shayan
With a considered offering, no doubt there’s a piece (or several) that will sing to your tune. Whether you’re wanting ultra-glamorous, statement pieces (cue the emerald solitaire and twin cut rings that would render Elizabeth Taylor speechless) right through to cool, contemporary chains that don diamonds – these pieces are made to be adored. The leading ladies are in agreement too, as the brand is worn by the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Kylie Jenner and the list continues.
And so, with this much gorgeousness the ethos is “more is more” stack them, layer them and mix-and-match these beauties because life is too short not too.
Felicity Carter: What was your first memory of jewelry?
Tania Shayan: When I was a child, I loved going through my mom’s jewelry with her. I was fascinated by the stories she would tell about each piece, describing where it came from and how it was significant to her. Every piece of jewelry in my mom’s safety deposit box was full of deep meaning for her, marking important events in her life. When she got her first paycheck she bought herself a gold ID bracelet. And for each of her children’s’ births she bought or designed a choker—a diamond choker for my sister Yaas, a pearl choker with a diamond and emerald brooch at the center for my brother Shawn, and a black ribbon choker with a platinum diamond piece in the middle for me. Each piece was connected to her life story. Seeing her collection helped me develop an appreciation for the symbolic power and meaning of jewelry that I strive to honor in my own work.
FC: How, when, why did you get into the industry?
TS: I was inspired to get into the jewelry industry by my mom, who is the other half of the SHAY team. My mom used to make jewelry herself, although she stopped to raise her three children. When I was in high school, I discovered my own passion for jewelry and started making bracelets to sell to family and friends. My mom encouraged me to try selling to retailers, and from there our business journey grew organically. It has been so rewarding to celebrate our shared love of jewelry through this family business.
Diamond Emerald & Pear Twin Ring
FC: How would you sum up the aesthetic?
TS: I would describe SHAY’s aesthetic as colorfully classic. We like to take iconic jewelry forms and add a contemporary twist, like combining diamonds with an eye catching pop of color or a rainbow palette. We love creating designs you can dress up or down, depending on your mood, whether you want to add a little flair to a favorite everyday outfit or shine bright at a black tie event. We design pieces that are very fashion forward yet timeless—combining my mother’s vision with my own to create something totally unique. It’s important to us to make jewelry that can be shared between generations.
FC: What is luxury to you?
TS: For me, luxury is all about being true to yourself. It can be something as simple as taking the time to experience nature, or connect with your surroundings,
indulging in a favorite dessert, wearing something that makes you feel beautiful, or spending time with someone whose presence you value. Luxury is the experience of connecting with yourself and honoring your desires—and I think jewelry can be such a beautiful part of that kind of self expression.
Alternating Pave Link Marquise Drop Necklace
FC: Who is your customer?
TS: One of my favorite things about collaborating with my mom is the way we can combine our experience to appeal to two different markets. The age range of a typical SHAY wearer is anywhere between twenty five to sixty five—there’s really no one typical person, because our audience reflects our wide range of experiences. For us, age is just a number. Our customer isn’t any particular age or demographic—they’re a person who knows who they are, and uses their style to reflect that. SHAY jewelry is on trend, but also classic. It’s designed to be dressed up or down, incorporated into the wearer’s everyday life. Once you find that perfect piece, we hope you’ll never feel the need to take it off!
FC: What are the cornerstones of your company?
TS: Self expression and connection is a huge aspect of SHAY’s brand. For both my mom and me, designing and owning jewelry has been such a powerful tool of our personal style. It’s a way to celebrate the big moments in life, and make the everyday special. That idea, that jewelry can be a symbol of what we value most in life, is a major cornerstone of what SHAY hopes to achieve for our customers.
Starburst Drop Earrings
FC: Tell us about the process…
TS: At Shay, our design process is very collaborative. It starts with either my mom or I coming up with an idea. We then sit down together and begin to sketch out the design, refining the idea until we perfect it. We go through many different revisions until we reach the final sketch. Once we’ve settled on a final design, we begin to produce it. From there, we keep making changes until we’ve accomplished our design goals. For us, it’s not only the aesthetic of the piece that has to be perfect, but also the fit and feel. We want our pieces to be wearable every day—and that means an emphasis on comfort. A great example is our choker designs. We wanted to create pieces that looked beautiful and made a great statement, but also had the exact right amount of elastic to feel comfortable around your neck, so you can make it part of your everyday look and never get sick of wearing it. We keep making changes and revising our designs until we’ve created a piece we’re proud to share with our audience!
FC: Why diamonds?
TS: Why not! They’re a girl’s best friend, after all. But seriously, we love working with diamonds because they’re such a classic, iconic stone. They’ll always hold value, which makes them a great choice for investment pieces, and they really go with everything. Besides, diamonds are so wonderfully variable. They have a natural beauty that shines through no matter the cut. There are so many facets to a diamond that make them a pleasure to work with as a designer, and a delight to wear.
FC: Currently which are your favorite pieces and how do you wear them?
TS: It’s so hard to pick, but if I had to I’d say that my favorite right now is our Mixed Diamond Necklace. I wear it pretty much every day! What I love about it is that it’s adjustable, so I can wear it at different lengths to suit my outfit. It’s great on its own, or layered with our Mini Pave Diamond Link Choker and Dot-Dash Gem and Diamond Necklace if I want a more elaborate look. And if for some reason I don’t want to wear a necklace, I can double wrap it as a bracelet! My mom Ladan’s favorite piece is our Jumbo Link Bracelet and Necklace. She loves the necklace on its own, but the bracelet stacked with either another Jumbo Link bracelet or a few of our other designs create an exuberant look that fits in perfectly with her style.
FC: What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given when it comes to handling the industry?
TS: The most important advice I have been given is to be optimistic and go with your instincts. We’re in this business because we love jewelry and want to create something beautiful to share with the world. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut when it comes to design! Take risks—don’t just stick to what you know. Whatever happens, just keep moving forward and following your inspiration. And take copies as a compliment! While it’s always annoying when someone imitates one of your designs, it just means that you’re doing something right.
Learn more and shop the brand online.