Eye of the Tiger

Senior designs Afghan jewelry

%28COURTESY%2FOFSANA+POPAL%29
(COURTESY/OFSANA POPAL)

(COURTESY/OFSANA POPAL)

(COURTESY/OFSANA POPAL)

WILL WAGNER

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While most high-schoolers have humble beginnings as employees, often starting with jobs within the food or retail industry, senior Ofsana Popal’s first job working with and designing jewelry goes significantly against the grain.

Popal began working with Noor Jewelry, a jewelry store based out of Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2015.

When Popal lived in Afghanistan, she would watch the way the store operated and found herself fascinated by the process.

“I knew the people who started the company and I was interested in jewelry, so I would visit often and see some of the stuff, and how the whole thing took place,” Popal said. “I just really wanted to be a part of it somehow.”

Noor jewelry has a second store located in Sacramento, which is where Popal works and designs custom pieces of jewelry.

“I design templates for the jewelry and how specific pieces look,” Popal said.

Unwilling to forget its roots, Noor Jewelry also has a program that helps Afghan women in need.

“They help finance women in Afghanistan who struggle,” Popal said. “They [are often] women who are uneducated, due to issues over there in the country and they don’t have financial help the way some [widows or women with children might]. ”

The program is simply called “Noor” and it helps women gain an education.

“Noor means light and there is a saying, ‘education is light’ because you are given knowledge that kind of guides you,” Popal said. “So within that program with every jewelry piece, there is a big contribution that goes out to women that need financial help to fund their education.”

Popal has always loved traditional jewelry and has had an eye for it her entire life.

“All the pieces are traditional, and me being Afghan, I have always loved traditional jewelry,” Popal said.

Senior Zaniya Jones, a friend of Popal’s, believes that this is a good experience for Popal.

“I think it is awesome. She is in high school and she is designing jewelry for her and us girls,” Jones said.

Popal also designs her own pieces and shows them off on a personal Instagram.

“I design my jewelry in templates and some of my friends at the company create the jewelry and then send me samples,” Popal said. “If I don’t like them, I actually change up what I want or alter it.

I can add new gems, for example, into it and I can send it back — or just send in another template after it has been changed.”

Popal’s friend, senior Teigen Wagner, is happy for Popal’s success and is a large fan of the jewelry she creates.

“I think that it is good for her,” Wagner said. “I really like her style.”

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