Jewelry has historically been coveted for much more than the sum of its parts: It’s a protective talisman or an heirloom, a good-luck charm or a token of love, a celebration, or simply an adored gemstone. That symbolism holds true for a younger generation as well, but they are seeking more understated, everyday jewelry that is personalized. That is what motivated Alexandra Ainatchi to launch the B. Khazzam collection, which speaks specifically to her generation of twenty-somethings with playful, personalized jewelry.
Growing up as the daughter of internationally known jewelry designer Sharon Khazzam, Ainatchi’s worldview was colored by Paraiba tourmalines and fire opals. “My mom’s studio was always in our house,” Ainatchi, 25, recalls, “so I literally grew up inside her studio.” Like so many daughters, the tools of her mother’s trade planted the seeds for Ainatchi’s future career: A 2015 study by Harvard Business School found that the daughters of working mothers are more likely to find their own professional success, thanks to Mom’s template for navigating the work force. After working by her mother’s side for the past four years, Ainatchi’s first collection debuted at Barneys New York in October.
Everything in B. Khazzam is customizable: For the recent launch at Barneys, customers were invited to sift through vials of loose gems to select the exact one that would go into their finished piece.
Khazzam began with the Wheel ring, featuring a twirlable golden wheel dotted with diamonds—a luxe alternative to millennial-favorite fidget spinners. The concept evolved to an entire range of pieces that utilize movement: rings and ear studs with multicolored sapphire beads that slide like an abacus or dangling briolettes that sway with the wearer’s every step.
Ainatchi has thoughtfully cherry-picked the most successful aspects of her mom’s colorful collection—a diverse array of gemstones and bespoke events where clients can design one-of-a-kind creations—and scaled them down to better suit her age group. Everything in B. Khazzam is customizable: For the recent launch, customers were invited to sift through vials of loose gems to select the exact one that would go into their finished piece. Additionally, she offers rose-cut and rough-diamond pendants that can have initials engraved directly onto the stone. The diamond equivalent of a cashmere tracksuit, the pendants are a particularly modern breed of casual luxury. Their effortless look belies the nine months of trial and error that went into perfecting the labor-intensive technique.
Ainatchi’s commitment to craftsmanship and precision is something she learned from her mother, who similarly started in the jewelry world straight out college some three decades earlier. After graduating from New York’s FIT, Khazzam was recruited to design jewelry for esteemed British brand Asprey. When she had Alexandra, Khazzam made the tough decision to put her burgeoning career on hold so she could have more time at home. Rather than letting her go, Asprey struck her a deal: She could leave her post designing their collections, but why not launch her own? Working from her home studio, Khazzam created her eponymous collection and Asprey carried it in their stores.
“That was pivotal,” she recalls. “Starting out on your own at such a young age, nobody knows you. Having a company like that backing me up was very, very important.”
Now Khazzam is paying it forward, providing that same support to her daughter’s design debut. From a young age, Ainatchi was exposed to all aspects of the business, from going on appointments with stone dealers to entertaining clients at trunk shows. She’s employed that hands-on education to forge a brand with her own distinct point of view. “What she does, I can’t really do,” concedes Khazzam. “She’s speaking to a different audience. The way that I design collections using myself as the client, she does her collection using herself as the client.”