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Rare & Beautiful: Lika Behar

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By Manon Crespi

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Lika Behar 24K gold and sterling silver reversible Ocean World necklace with 26.08 carats Boulder opal and .50 carats diamonds, $7,040, likabehar.com.

Turkish-born jewelry designer, Lika Behar, has accomplished things in her lifetime most would envy. She attended British and American schools growing up in the 60s and 70s in Istanbul, learning four languages and speaking them fluently by the time she graduated from high school. Her father had an estate and minted coin business, and her mother was a stay-at-home mom. Lika was raised in a time, place and culture, where the popular thought was that the daughter would follow her mother’s footsteps. But Behar had other aspirations.

 

After high school, Behar studied economics and political science in upstate New York. At that time, she wasn’t focusing on what her passion would look like. People used to tell her to pursue something she loves doing, but she always retorted, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m going to study finance so I can make some money!” Behar later obtained her MBA degree in finance in New York City while working for a bank that sponsored her to get her green card. Behar married and had two boys, and discovered that she might just have an entrepreneurial spirit as well. She left the banking business to enter the apparel industry with her own startup, Lyka Bear. Behar ran her company while designing the entire Lyka Bear clothing line for 7 years. She was an apparel consultant for the next 10 years before she tried her hand at jewelry.

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Lika Behar 24K gold Sleeping Beauty earrings with 16.13 carats turquoise and 1.06 carats round and baguette diamonds, $6,600, likabehar.com.

Defying the odds of age – she was 49 years old at the time – and a poor economy, Behar launched her jewelry company, Lika Behar, in 2008. She always loved the revival of ancient jewelry in the 1970s when Turkish designers were using pure gold with interesting finishes in their pieces, and this is markedly the inspiration of the Lika Behar collection. Behar considers her collection to be extremely luxurious, but not glamorous; organic and a little off-kilter, with gorgeous gemstones and a tactile finish. It’s designed and made for an everyday, casual lifestyle.

Today, Lika Behar travels the US for personal appearances at renowned jewelry stores that carry her collection. Seeing the reaction on a woman’s face after she puts on a Lika Behar jewelry piece is truly the highlight of Behar’s work. She uses her artistic talent to design jewelry, draws from her background in finance to run her company, and shares her love for people during her time with them on the road. Lika Behar loves what she does! See a gallery of her beautiful jewelry below.

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Lika Behar 24K gold Machu Picchu earrings with 20.01 carats boulder opal and .45 carats fancy cut diamonds, $5,000, likabehar.com.