What is your first memory of your love for jewellery?
I remember I was six years old and my father bought me a gift when he came back home from his travels. I opened my eyes to see a box of jewellery next to my bed – necklace and earrings in the shape of a xxxdrop. I spent all day looking at it under the sun [glinting in the light] admiring the beauty of it. After that I started to get interested in jewellery and buying jewellery magazines. It was, and still is, one of my most precious pieces of jewellery.
What role does jewellery play in fashion? Can it really make or break an outfit?
It plays a huge role. Adding or removing one piece can elevate an outfit to the next level of elegance and it’s all about the pairing. Imagine wearing a floral maxi dress with a huge, heavy necklace along with long earrings – big mistake! Replace that necklace with a simple bracelet and keep those earrings on – you have an ensemble with an entire new feel, and the statement earrings now catch the eye but because they look luxurious [not loud].
Does the preference for type of jewellery (necklaces, earrings, rings) vary from culture to culture and country to country? How has your multicultural background shaped your understanding of what women want from jewellery?
Of course culture has a huge impact on jewellery and the tastes of women, but I think there will be always a place for classic, delicate jewellery pieces such as pearl necklaces and traditional golden bangles that hold an element of sentiment and timelessness.
Having lived in different countries has helped me understand the requirements of each culture. I realised Arab women are always willing to try new things when it comes to jewellery and seek to find different and individual pieces, to reflect their personality in a beautiful way that is special and unique and that’s what I try to deliver.
Apart from cubic zirconia, what is your favoruite gemstone?
What was the inspiration behind your debut collection Leaves of Joy?
Leaves of Joy was inspired by the simplest elements of nature. Each piece references different elements such as raindrops, leaves, flower motifs, ladybugs, branches and nests, and they’re all intricately brought to life in 18k gold and stones in a palette of deep blue, aquamarine and pure white, which symbolise the changing colours of water.
Why did you decide to have your pieces manufactured in Saudi Arabia although you’re based here in the UAE?
The GCC is well known for its gold industry, and because I lived for a while in Saudi Arabia, I got to know some of the country’s prestigious gold factories and decided to work with one of the biggest and most professional factories there.
Why do you hand-paint the designs in watercolours before they enter the production process?
Besides the fact that painting is one of my hobbies, sketching and adding colours to the design gives me a clear awareness of the final look and it helps me choose the right material along with the perfect stone.
Which one person or incident inspired you to start your jewellery line?
I always looked up to multiple jewellery designers such as Paloma Picasso and Alex Monore. I had the dream for very long time, but never had the courage, until one day I saw the movie The Theory of Everything and that really inspired me. From that point, I decided to take serious steps towards my dream and I found all the support and love I needed to pursue it from my family and husband.
Why did you decide to work with 18k gold and zirconia and not any other gemstones?
I think 18 karat gold is the perfect precious metal – it’s easy to shape but at the same time it’s durable enough and doesn’t bend or get damaged easily. Plus it always has a beautiful colour against most skin tones. With the stones, I chose a very high quality of cubic zirconia. It fits into the theme of the design, in terms of the the shape, colour and size. I’m also a big fan of how it reflects light – many pieces in the collection are designed to change with movement, creating a three dimensional effect inspired by the wind.
What is your most cherished piece of jewellery and why?
I have always cherished pieces of jewellery with a legacy, they are full of meaning and are handed down from one generation to other, amassing memories with each stop it makes. I own a golden hand-made choker that my mum gave me when I got married. It was precious and special to her; one day I will do the same and hand it with love to my daughter.
How has your background in architecture influenced you?
It’s definitely influenced me on many levels. I think studying architecture helped me look at jewellery from a different perspective; it refined my vision and honed my attention to form and functional de-tails as well as the intricacy of the beauty that surrounds us in everyday life. It really influenced the way I thought of designs for my collection Leaves of Joy. I designed my necklaces with details and paid attention to all sides of the piece, not just the part that visible to people. In architecture we learn that each façade is as import learned in architecture each facade is as important as the main to end up [cre-ating something that’s] a 360˚ masterpiece.
How, if any, have the influences of the three countries you’ve lived in – Syria, Saudi Arabia and Dubai – influenced your designs?
Each one of the cities I lived in have inspired me in some way – Jeddah, my birth place, refined my childhood with love, glamour and sweet memories; my hometown Aleppo’s beauty and classical history built my character to appreciate beauty and classicism, and Dubai’s success and the huge developments influenced my designs with a modern flavour and constantly challenges me to come up with new trends.
Do you think jewellery should function as a status symbol or should it be special regardless of price and labels?
Jewellery is everywhere with a huge variety of designs and prices. You could love a piece because of the way it looks, regardless of the cost, although I think those with sentimental value are always most valued but not always most worn. Not all of your pieces come with personal memories, each piece of jewellery a woman owns serves a particular mood, outfit, place, or time in her life.
What according to you is the most iconic piece of jewellery?
Kate Middleton’s blue sapphire engagement ring, surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds has to be the most iconic piece of jewellery ever. It once belonged to Princess Diana and is now the most sought after engagement ring-style.