When thinking of Russia, jewellery wouldn’t really come to mind as the country is not particularly known for jewellery masterpieces, aside from those commissioned by the Imperial Tzars of the past. In fact, many have a very distorted view of Russia and its people frequently associating the country with big bears and its current president, Vladimir Putin. True to our character, we at VELVET, decided to discover the largest country on the planet and bridge the fabulous Middle East with the unknown, yet gentle giant.
In the first week of December we have launched VELVET Russia – a digital platform that connects the two regions that we discovered have so much in common than expected. We traveled to Moscow to launch www.velvet-mag.ru (VELVET Russia), as well as Sheikha Hend’s bestseller ‘Black Book of Arabia’ translated into the Russian language. Aside from a multitude of interviews and a star-studded high-tea event at Moscow’s notorious Bolshoi restaurant, we have met incredible personalities that are set to kickstart a new section in VELVET: Gem of Russia. Similarly to our well-known Gem of Arabia, Gem of Russia will discover and share the movers and the shakers from fashion, jewellery, art and culture industries of Russia.
Ilya Cluev is Russia’s acclaimed and very popular jeweller, his company Cluev Jewellery is loved by many VIPs and celebrities in the region, while his jewellery work is know to be elegant and accentuate the very essence of a woman’s beauty. We’ve asked Ilya a few questions to see what drives and inspires him.
You are very creative and aside from being a jeweller, you like to write. How would you describe Cluev Jewellery?
Inspiration, amazement, passion. Any of these words could describe Cluev, so it is your choice to pick.
Could you tell us a little about sourcing of gems?
Sourcing gems is my most favourite thing to do in this life. I’ve had many disappointments and obstacles before I learned how to choose the best. Currently I source my gems from all over the world as well as am a member of the international associations of coloured gemstones.
Who is your competition?
I don’t have competition. I don’t envy anyone nor would I want to take customers from anybody. I like to inspire people and offer them the best.
Do you buy jewellery from any other brand as a gift to friends or the loved ones for instance?
Definitely not. Since I have opened my Jewellery house, I have not bought from anyone else as every time I see what our masters produce, I fall in love with it more and more.
Whom would you like to make a set for?
I love my clients and we have amazing relationships, irrespective of their status and their celebrity. The most important for me is to have a great relationship with them, to respect and like one another. There are some incredible people living in Russia, so I often have a great connection with my client. I must admit that I would be honoured to produce something for Vladimir Putin as I respect and admire him. Perhaps, one day, he will introduce us to the first lady and she will be wearing my jewellery.
What is your favourite gemstone?
I don’t have one. I think it is similar to how parents don’t have favourite kids, I do not have a favourite stone. Perhaps due to my character, I tend to wear emeralds and alexandrite.
How did it all start for you?
It started from a dream. I searched for a business that I would dedicate my whole life to. As a child, I liked stones. Thanks to my parents being geologists, we had plenty of stones at home. I searched and looked into many different books and themes, trying to find my purpose. This is how I ended up becoming a jeweller – someone who could help others and create priceless moments that would remain in their memories forever.
What would you say about Eastern and Middle Eastern women? Would you say they wear jewellery differently from the ones in Russia?
I think we have a lot in common. Middle Eastern women appreciate being treated as royals, they appreciate honesty and loyalty. There is a great culture in that region, including jewellery culture.
Who, from the women of the last century, inspires you the most?
By last, do you mean XX Century? It’s amusing to know that we were born in the last century. For me, the ideal image of a woman are the late Empress Alexandra Feodorovna Romanov with her daughters. As a kid, I was in love with her daughters from a photo I had seen.
I thought and still think that they were unbelievably beautiful.
Is it possible, for those with no tools and expertise, to differentiate a real diamond from fake? Are there any tips?
There is no way. Technology has reached such levels that there are more way to create a fake diamond with zero defects. People will never stop producing fake gemstones as there are far less real diamonds in nature and demand would not subside.
If a book was written about you, how would your hero would be like?
Exactly how I am. I think it is very important to love yourself and not be ashamed of who you are.
Learn more at: www.cluev.ru