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Malaysia Makers: Aini Ali & Martin Naf

May 17, 2016

Beautiful rings by Aini Ali

Tucked away on Jl. Lorong Burhanuddin Helmi, nestled behind a charming turquoise gate, sits a quiet jewelry studio where bohemian treasures abound.


Inside  Aini and Martin’s studio.

The space is the brainchild of Aini Aili and Martin Naf.  It seems fate brought these kindred spirits together as Aini Ali had an interest in pursuing metalsmithing yet found herself frustrated with how difficult it was to find a teacher. No sooner had she relayed her vexation to her boyfriend than she met Martin Naf, an artisan with over 30 years of experience in the trade.  The two hit it off immediately and have been working side-by-side ever since.


Master metalsmith Aini Ali


This year the duo opened up their own studio space where they can nurture the collaborative nature of their partnership while working independently.  Their individual designs complement each other and give their customers a vast and beautiful assortment of one-of-a-kind trinkets to choose from.

Ring by Aini Ali

Aini’s work is striking yet feminine.  Drawing inspiration from her surroundings and their associated energies, cultures, emotions, and experiences, her work is imbued with detail and meaning.  I especially love how many of the details in her work are apparent only to the wearer of the piece.  Her work traverses simple adornment, serving instead as the kind of keepsake you adore for a lifetime.


The back of this ring features a delicate petal motif.


Aini at work.



Another thoughtful detail by Aini.

Martin’s unique and unparalleled skill set comes across in every piece he crafts.  Everything is done by hand, including the making of the sheet metal the pair employs.  Taking this extra step ensures that the quality of the silver they use remains unquestionably high.  The resulting rings, pendants, and bracelets have an organic feel and tribal aesthetic.


Martin Naf melting down metal.


Travel has served as a muse for Martin, who has ventured all over the globe selling his jewelry and teaching others his craft along the way.  His work is steeped in rich texture and often features the alluring gemstones he’s collected abroad.


A pendant by Martin Naf.


In the studio with Martin Naf.

Both artisans have an unwavering passion for making incredible pieces that are also wholly affordable.  With today’s emphasis on buying local and supporting homegrown artisans, there is really no need to purchase something that comes in a Tiffany blue box, when something absolutely special can be found behind a turquoise gate. I think Frida Kahlo would agree.

For further info please visit:

Aini Ali’s Etsy page

Martin Naf on Instagram

Martin Naf’s Blog

Aini Ali on Instagram


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