Aziza Abdullah-Nicole is a Brooklyn-based sculptor, painter, and builder who advocates for more women in her field. Her childhood was surrounded by art and museums. Creative projects soon became her therapy.
As her artistry matured, Abdullah-Nicole threaded between various mediums, but eventually felt a calling for creating sculptures from wax and metal in her corner at-home studio. From there, her passion sculpted itself into her business–Aziza Handcrafted Jewelry.
Abdullah-Nicole says she draws inspiration for her jewelry from beauty, history, and her multi-layered heritage, creating a unisex collection of protective layerings and heirlooms that can be passed on for generations.
“No one ever looks at jewelry and considers it art, but it really is,” says Abdullah-Nicole. “You manipulate a metal. Jewelry is small miniature sculptures that people are wearing.”
While creating her brand, Abdullah-Nicole continued her education in the history of jewelry.
“They would say jewelry is a source of energy and jewelry is a source of magic back in the day. It was a field that ‘could only be conducted by men.’ It was never supposed to be conducted by women, and when women actually started coming in, it was very sacred, and very taboo,” she says.
There are more female jewelry designers than ever before, but Abdullah-Nicole still doesn’t feel like there are enough. Oftentimes, she is one of the only women, especially women of color, when she visits the jewelry district.
Abdullah-Nicole feels as though this makes it difficult for her to be taken seriously at times, and that some men are intimidated by her knowledge of jewelry. Despite this, she tenaciously chases her vision for the pieces she can create. Most recently, she showed a potential colleague a photo of a Black woman, made by a friend, that she wanted enameled on a pendant.
“Once he had seen the photo, he dismissed the idea of it being possible. I went to another person and he got the job done in literally two days exactly the way I needed it,” Abdullah-Nicole shares.
Regardless of the pushback Abdullah-Nicole gets at times from her industry, she is hopeful. She sees an increasing number of Black women taking over in the jewelry industry, such as Lorraine West, who created earrings on Beyonce in Black Is King.
“People will say, ‘Oh, I never knew this brand.’ But sometimes you see us all the time, you just don’t know that it’s us making it,” she says.
To learn more about Abdullah-Nicole’s brand or shopping from her fine jewelry collection, visit https://www.azizahandcrafted.com.