Designer Tariq Riaz traveled a unique path on his way to discovering his love for jewelry design. When he was a student at the University of Arizona, Tucson, the annual influx of gem dealers and enthusiasts that flooded the town each February was just a vague distraction. He never imagined he’d one day be immersed in a world of precious metals and gemstones. While he’d long had hobbies as a maker, he was always analytically minded, which compelled him to begin his professional career in engineering and robotics, solving problems that focused on the integrities and architecture of design. He excelled in his profession, rising up the ranks, marrying his wife, and eventually moving with her to the Abu Dhabi.
When she was pregnant with their first daughter, Tariq’s wife complained that her engagement ring had become uncomfortable. Her body was changing with her pregnancy, and she often had to take her engagement ring off because her fingers were swollen. She noted she’d always had to remove her ring before getting on flights. Tariq immediately went on a quest to solve this problem, believing that the sanctity of the ring’s symbolism was worthy of his consideration. Over the course of a year and a half, Tariq traveled the world with his wife’s ring, approaching maisons and craftspeople, appealing to their expertise to adjust the construction of the ring. Every rejection he took as a challenge that drove him further into a study of the physics of classic ring design. He created renderings that showcased a solution to his problem, and yet all of his pleas fell on deaf ears. Until one day, a modest craftsperson in Bali agreed to take on the challenge, ultimately creating the prototype for Tariq’s unique concept.
From that moment on, Tariq became obsessed with jewelry design and fabrication. With his wife’s support and encouragement, he began to immerse himself in learning everything he could about the craft. He went to GIA and studied colored stones, diamonds and pearls, taking class after class to quench his thirst for knowledge. He set up a fully equipped, state-of-the-art workshop in Abu Dhabi, paying a full staff of master craftspeople, despite not having yet become a commercial entity. Without any attachment to the external outcome of his endeavors, he found joy in the process of discovery, and established a framework for his creativity marked by curiosity, perfectionism and fearlessness.
Only recently launched during COUTURE 2021, his eponymous collection has already garnered Tariq Riaz several awards and accolades. Noted for its exceptional craftsmanship and clever construction, his pieces include a trademarked mechanism, AbrazoFIT, that allows a ring to seamlessly expand several sizes, making for a perfect fit and an ideal heirloom. His aesthetic is inspired by nature, the architecture that surrounds him and his vast worldview. Tariq ensures that all of his designs contain an element of surprise, with seemingly magically interchanging stones and complex components invisibly at play among diamonds and gemstones of exceptional quality.
By: Michelle Orman