Spring sunlight streams through the windows of a showroom eight floors above the bustle of Boylston Street, flickering off displays of beautifully wrought silver, gold, and copper jewelry.
"I must get a blind," says Lana Barakat as she squints, caught in the sun's piercing glare. The 31-year-old Lebanese native moved Lazuli, her jewelry design business, to these lofty and bright new digs across from Copley Square almost a year ago and she's quite literally having her moment in the sun.
There's the feature on her jewelry in Lucky magazine's January issue. There are the upcoming O magazine and Victoria's Secret catalog boosts. There was the Women's Wear Daily photo shoot a few weeks ago. And then there was the fact that Lazuli snagged two spots in this month's issue of Vogue.
"When I first started, my first hit was in Marie Claire," says Barakat. "I thought, OK, one day my jewelry will be in Vogue." Her smile is undeniably self-satisfied. The cachet of being included in Vogue, she says, "is a career pinnacle." Not bad for someone who started jewelry making as a hobby while living in Mexico City, where she worked for an advertising agency. Before that, in 1993, Barakat came to Boston from Lebanon to attend Boston University, where she studied advertising and communications.
"I was very creative as a child, but I wanted to study something that would" -- she pauses -- "have a career path." (Read: Pay the rent.) In Mexico City, she was introduced to local artisans through her hobby, many of whom she still uses to manufacture her jewelry. "They are like family. I've watched their children grow," she says. A couple of her necklaces incorporate small, handmade Mexican tiles as pendants. After a stint in London, Barakat decided to start her jewelry design business. She returned to Boston in 2002 and set up in a back room on Newbury Street.
Vogue featured two of Barakat's copper cuff bracelets that have a high metallic sheen, a look touted as a summer fashion trend. A couple of years ago, Barakat started using copper alongside gold and silver. She also uses fine braided silk ropes, which have a delicate metallic look. She likes bold splashes of color and off-kilter angles. Crosses -- a staple in her work -- hang from beads in her summer collection, echoing a rosary. She also uses a Middle Eastern talisman -- a hand with an eye in its palm -- that protects against the evil eye.
Her men's range includes geometric cuff links, rings, and bangles. Her rings start at around $45; the 18-carat gold plate "Pebble" cuff, which Oprah Winfrey's magazine used, is, at $260, one of Lazuli's more expensive items. Her spring-summer collection features tender coral, cobalt, and pale jade colors.
"People like to change their jewelry with the seasons nowadays, they don't want to wear the same pieces year after year. So I don't want it to be expensive," says Barakat. Stores such as Stil on Newbury carry Lazuli, and Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art just placed an order for its gift shop. Lazuli has a representative in Dallas, too.
"Next I need representation in New York, then LA," she says.
Lazuli Jewelry, 581 Boylston St. 617-375-7879. lazulijewelry.com