A Conversation With: Oded Burstein And Galit Chlouche Of Inbar
By: Katerina Perez
Inbar Fine Jewelry is an Israeli brand ran by two people – Oded Burstein and Galit Chlouche. This creative duo combines art, fashion and innovation in their creations in such a way that every piece of Inbar jewelry subtly emphasizes the natural beauty of a woman instead of masking it with a blinding sparkle of diamonds. I met up with Galit and Oded during the Couture show in Las-Vegas to talk about the unique style of their creations and find out how fashion and diverse cultures influence their designs.
KP: To begin with, why don’t we go a few decades back and discover how Inbar was born?
Oded: Initially, Inbar Fine Jewelry was my family business and a successful one. It was growing year after year and resulted in me opening the first Inbar boutique in the Northern Central district of Israel – Netanya. That was in 1984, and some years later I met my current business partner, Galit. After a fruitful collaboration we opened another boutique in 1999, this time in Ramat-Gan - the diamond district.
KP: And now a strictly family business turned into an internationally recognized brand. Have you always wanted to be in jewelry?
Oded: Art and design have always been on my mind and I believe that jewelry is one of the most fascinating forms of art. The alluring beauty of the gemstones combined with the charming sparkle of polished precious metal creates a blend that is truly magical. However, it is up to us to blend them together in a sophisticated combination that represents art. I live, think, and breathe art and I have always wanted to be in this industry.
KP: So, what do you and Galit do together in Inbar and what is done separately?
Oded & Galit: When it comes to designing or buying gemstones, we always do it together, that gives us the power of combining two tastes and two different perspectives. We believe that this enables a wider visual spectrum and our jewelry would fit various clients equally well. After we have finalized a design, Oded would monitor the production process to make sure that the quality is kept to the highest level and Galit would do marketing and client relations.
KP: As you said, you do the design of Inbar jewelry together. Does Galit’s style differ from Oded’s?
Galit: It is true that in the beginning we had different styles but now we have been working together for 16 years and know each other’s taste and design pattern very well.
KP: Would you say that combining two tastes is your strong point, ‘two heads better than one’?
Oded: I believe that combining two tastes in one jewel helped us to build a unique style which aims at emphasizing the beauty of a woman instead of being the centre of her appearance.
KP: Is your style similar to traditional Israeli jewelry? In fact, what is a traditional style?
Oded: Since Israel is the place where the exiled had been gathering over the years, there has been a mixture of traditional styles. The cultural mix of Yaman, Moroccan, Russian and Polish roots definitely translates in jewelry. In addition, since we live in the middle east, the oriental and carved shapes are favored and add up to the complex style of Israeli jewelry.
KP: So you mix a bit of traditional style together with some European trends, which you pick up on while traveling? How does seeing different cultures while travelling influence your creations?
Oded & Galit: We do travel a lot and every place inspires us in one way or the other, sometimes it happens without us realizing it! For example, when we travelled to Moscow, we were completely overwhelmed by the beauty of the colourful cathedral domes and now you can see many dome-shaped earrings in our collections.
KP: This is why Inbar jewelry has such variety of designs. Is there something that united them all?
Oded & Galit: It is true that all our jewels are different, but what unites them is carefully picked precious gemstones and ornate designs that are inspired by East and West. You have probably noticed that the lines are soft and round, without any sharp lines. Most of the time there we would combine only two colors in one piece, and the color palette would be pleasing to the eye: no yellows and blues together.
KP: Yes, I have certainly noticed the soft shapes of Inbar jewelry. Many pieces are made with carved and variously shaped gemstones. What criteria do you base your choice of gemstones on?
Oded & Galit: For us a gemstone must have ‘life’, it should attract from the very minute we cast our eyes on it. Without a doubt quality of a gemstone is paramount for us since we create only one-of-a-kind pieces. If you have seen a variety of Inbar jewelry you would have noticed that we choose mostly soft and rounded shapes. For us they represent femininity and they flatter women.
KP: What gemstone would you never use and why?
Oded & Galit: We would never use a synthetic stone in our designs, but otherwise we do not restrict ourselves to using only certain gemstones in our designs. Talking about metals we work with, silver is not a material we would use as we are goldsmiths.
KP: Galit, every time I see you, you look like you have come off the pages of a fashion magazine. How do you translate your passion for fashion in jewelry design?
Galit: First of all, to be up-to-date with the hottest trends in fashion I do not restrict myself to just magazines ...
For more on the inner workings of Oded Burstein and Galit Chlouche, visit Katerina Perez.
Shop current products at Marissa Collections: Inbar