Sanaz Doost: East Meets West with a Twist

May 19, 2024   |  Sonia Esther Soltani

The Toronto-based jeweler translates her Iranian heritage into modern designs that are handcrafted in Canada.

As part of her bachelor’s degree in industrial design 17 years ago, Sanaz Doost had to attend a jewelry course. It was instant love. After studying for a master’s in philosophy of art, she added jewelry arts to her academic achievements and launched her eponymous brand in 2020. This year, the Iran-born, Toronto-based designer is debuting at Couture’s Design Atelier in Vegas (Mat 29-June 2). Attendees will discover her intricate and cerebral style, born from her ancient Persian heritage and her appreciation of architecture and the riches of Eastern cultures.  

Sparkling Cypress Garden ring set with diamonds in 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)
Sparkling Cypress Garden ring set with diamonds in 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)

What does showcasing your work at Couture’s Design Atelier mean to you?
Showing at Couture’s Design Atelier is a significant opportunity for me as a designer. It’s a platform where creativity and craftsmanship are celebrated on an international scale. I expect the show to provide exposure to a diverse audience of industry professionals and enthusiasts alike. Despite not having attended Couture previously, I’m enthusiastic about immersing myself in its distinctive ambiance, especially as I’m expanding my sales beyond Canada.

Moshabak ring in 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)
Moshabak ring in 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)

Which one of your creations do you consider the most iconic?
Without a doubt, the Moshabak ring is my signature design. It has also won multiple design awards. The Moshabak ring represents me, my heritage and background — a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. It is a contemporary ring with an ancient Eastern pattern. It is the taste of the East in the West with a twist, which is basically me! This ring underwent several iterations before reaching its final form, a process driven by my desire to capture the essence of the architectural element it represents.

Persian Cypress ring with diamonds set in 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)
Persian Cypress ring with diamonds set in 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)

Where is your jewelry made and how do you source your diamonds?
Some pieces are handmade and others are handcrafted ethically and locally in 18-karat gold at Sanaz Doost atelier, which is located in Toronto’s jewelry district. I source everything, including gemstones, locally here in Toronto and for diamonds I only use natural Canadian diamonds. Working with natural Canadian diamonds holds personal significance for me. Beyond their inherent beauty, they symbolize ethical and sustainable practices, reflecting my commitment to responsible sourcing. Supporting local Canadian diamond mining communities aligns with my values as a conscientious designer.

What are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m preparing for the Couture show and also working on my decorative object line. The difference between creating jewelry and decorative objects lies in their intended purpose and scale. Jewelry is often wearable art, crafted to adorn the body and evoke personal expression. Decorative objects, on the other hand, encompass a broader range of items designed to enhance interior spaces, serving both aesthetic and functional purposes. However, it’s important to note that both mediums serve as avenues for me to express my emotions and ideas creatively. I anticipate a launch late summer. I’m thrilled to introduce this new venture, rekindling my spirit as an industrial designer, and am eager to share it with my audience.

Peacock necklace set with natural amazonite and 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)
Peacock necklace set with natural amazonite and 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)

You are on the board of the first Canadian Chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), which opened this year. What is your vision for the WJA?
My vision centers on fostering a supportive and inclusive community for jewelry professionals. I aim to facilitate networking opportunities, educational events, and collaborative initiatives that empower individuals within the industry to thrive and succeed. When I began my journey, I lacked this crucial support network. Thus, my mission is to provide guidance and assistance to fellow individuals and budding designers who may find themselves in a similar position. We need this community in Canada because we currently lack sufficient support structures for emerging designers in our region.

Moshabak cuff in 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)
Moshabak cuff in 18-karat gold. (Sanaz Doost)

How has your vision of jewelry-making changed since you started your career?
I have noticed that whether I like it or not, I have to present myself more and focus on the business side of it, which is challenging for me as an artist, designer and extreme introvert.

What are your most cherished personal jewels?
My Peacock ring, which has Persian turquoise, and my custom Moshabak ring, which is set with Canadian diamonds. They represent me as a Persian-Canadian designer.

Where can collectors find your creations?

Online through my website, 1stDibs, Fashion Arts Toronto and the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

Peacock ring set with natural turquoise in 18-karat yellow gold. (Sanaz Doost)
Peacock ring set with natural turquoise in 18-karat yellow gold. (Sanaz Doost)

Main image: Sanaz Doost. (Sanaz Doost)

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