When passing by the Brilliant Designs booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry show, it’s impossible not to stop. Every piece is carefully tucked away behind glass, but Abdul Gardeezi and his wife will proudly pull out any of their ‘brilliant’ pieces for a closer look. Brilliant Designs has been operating in Tucson for over 33 years.
Abdul buys stones from all over the world. He then brings them home, and sometimes re-cuts the stones, adding more facets to bring out their inner fire. He says that it’s easy to buy commonplace stones by the carat, but he seeks out special stones for his designs… with the caveat, “if it’s not special, we will cut it to be special.”
Abdul sketches the designs himself, and a jeweler in Los Angeles, California, creates the finished jewelry for him. He used to do a show every weekend across the USA, but now he just does Tucson and a few local shows in Arizona.
The stones for his designs come from all over the world, including countries like Bangkok, India, Pakistan, Germany, Thailand, and many African countries. Abdul told me a story about some Tourmaline cabochons he brought back from Bangkok, which were then bought during the show by a group of out-of-country buyers from Hong Kong.
When I asked Abdul about how he learned his trade, he laughed and told me it was from “too much travelling.” When he traveled all over the world, he learned how to make things that nobody else could by observing with other jewelrs had created and noticing it was often missing a “catch” – something that would make a customer stop and turn around to take a second look at it as they walked by.
“I see someone will have this stone – but it’s not ‘Abdul’ – the stone doesn’t have fire, the diamond doesn’t have a fire, and so they say we will copy it from Abdul… but you have to have a certain stone, with a certain color, and a certain fire in it, otherwise… it doesn’t look good.”
Brilliant Designs carries older designs, in a style that you often can’t find anymore. Abdul says that customers get really excited when they see the more traditional designs in his work.
Abdul showed me a beautiful blue carved gemstone. Gemstone carving and engraving used to be considered a major luxury art form in the ancient world, and is now rarely found as a beautiful curiosity. Abdul says, “That’s why at any show, I don’t have much competition, because it’s very unique.”
When I asked him which of his designs were popular, he immediately pulled out a trio of three rings. The first was a ring with a clean marquise and diamonds. Abdul said because the stone is so clean, he had to create a very special design for it to make it stand out. The second was a fashionable man’s ring showcasing a green tourmaline with a very unique cut, surrounded by princess cut diamonds. The third was a Golden Sapphire set in 14kt gold, and Abdul says it’s very rare to find a ring like this… except at his booth.
The next ring he showed me sported a 75ct Unique Sapphire with good color, which naturally had a cat’s eye stripe down the center, something you don’t see often in that size.
When I asked Abdul about his newest pieces, his wife pulled out a large pendant that was almost glowing. He says the pendant is a museum piece, and that you can’t find a stone this big or with this color today. He says the cut is very good, and it’s a one of a kind and very unique.
JOGS Gem & Jewelry also interviewed Abdul four years ago at the Tucson show, where he shows off some more of his designs that have his signature fire. These pieces have come and gone from his display, replaced by newer designs and stones as they go into jewelry galleries and private collections around the world.
If you’re interested in talking to Abdul Gardeezy, you can call him at 1 (480) 580-5327. If you live nearby in the Arizona area, he also gives private showings to special clients, going so far as to inviting them into his house to show them his private collection.Read more →