Whether creating discreet or flamboyant pieces, these regional creatives are appearing on worldwide radars, offering jewels women want to wear now.
What: Statement contemporary fine jewelry rooted in tradition
“When our parents fled the Lebanese Civil War, so many celebrities were clients – Elton John, Joan Collins, and Roger Moore,” recall sisters Dima and Tania Nawbar of L’atelier Nawbar’s storied past that stretches back to 1881. Since 2011, the siblings have been entrusted with the reins and today are orchestrating something of a comeback, since the atelier’s production went on a hiatus following a disastrous fire. The duo designs pieces for modern women who are “not afraid of being different, and are faithful to the classics, but with their own twist.”
Originally printed in the October 2018 issue of Vogue Arabia
Located in Beirut’s gold souk, the atelier houses more than a dozen goldsmiths and artisans who promote their craft to customers behind a glass wall. In their expert hands, stackable rings, cuffs, charms, and chokers come to life in a myriad of colors. Services include creating custom pieces and remodeling existing jewelry as per a client’s desires. Apart from growing L’atelier Nawbar beyond the region’s borders, the two envision launching costume jewelry for theater and film, where they intend to go “all out” with their designs.
What: Contemporary fine jewelry
Where: Los Angeles
Egyptian-American jeweler Jacquie Aiche remembers always being attracted to gemstones and minerals. “As a little girl, I would spend hours collecting rocks and making them into jewelry pieces for my family. The love just grew from there,” she says, noting that she launched her namesake brand 11 years ago. Admitting that “traditional, classical jewelry is amazing – but not for me,” she saw a niche in the market and began creating sensual and feminine contemporary pieces for free-spirited women. She likens her body jewelry – finger bracelets, anklets, and a halter bra – to a second skin that she never removes. Along with Rihanna and Gigi and Bella Hadid donning her jewelry, is model Behati Prinsloo. The wife of Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine, who, Aiche shares, “radiates with insane positivity and kindness,” fronts her latest campaign.
Her Egyptian heritage has always inspired her in her color choices, liking for hammered gold, and goddess imagery. “They’re beautiful themes to play with,” she says, “but it’s so much more than that. I feel a deep connection to it all. Being Egyptian is such a special part of me.”
What: Bespoke high jewelry pieces bursting with color
Amandine Mallen first delved into high jewelry when she was introduced to the glittering industry by her former husband. She learned to trade colored gems in Los Angeles. “I was mesmerized by all those stones,” she says. “And then I developed a passion for mounting them.” She’s worked on a collaboration with Angelina Jolie for London jewelry house Asprey but says branching out on her own as a female high jeweler was a challenge. “It’s a man’s world. I thought perhaps I would be pushed away or be too soft and not succeed. But we have a few female powerhouses – Lorraine Schwartz, Cindy Chao. And, after all, the jewelry is for women! Now, I consider my position to be an advantage. The men are never suspicious of me when I speak to their wives!”