The Emirati fine jewelry blogger takes Vogue Arabia on a tour of her closet.
LOVE AT FIRST LOOK
As a young teenager, Noora Shawqi came face-to-face with a diamond collar necklace that set the wheels in motion for a future in fine jewelry. “It just caught my attention. I still remember the large center diamond and how the stones gradually got smaller towards the back. It’s my earliest memory and first fascination with jewelry,” says the Emirati. A Dubai-based Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certified jeweler, Shawqi has since put pen to paper, designing her eponymous fine jewelry brand. It includes sets of colorful gemstone drop earrings featuring aquamarines and amethysts, stackable tourmaline rings, and garnet heart-shaped pendant necklaces, now recently launched on her blog.
Originally printed in the January 2019 issue of Vogue Arabia.
The gemstone that initiated her foray into fine jewelry is a unique Padparadscha sapphire. Shawqi searched endlessly for the gem while on a trip to Sri Lanka with her husband. “I made it my mission. If I wasn’t hunting for that particular stone, I don’t think I would be in the position I am in today,” says Shawqi of the jewel known as the King Sapphire. “I had it set on a ring with a diamond band. I wanted the stone to stand out.” Apart from her own pieces, another treasured item in her jewelry box is a diamond pavé Messika bracelet. “This is also important,” she says, pushing back her abaya sleeve. “It was a gift from my husband after I gave birth to our son.”
With a closet of abayas, Shawqi’s style points to a classic sensibility. “Most of my abayas are from Nafs Designs,” she says, gliding her hand across the neutral and pastel palette of overlays lining her wardrobe. Pulling out a two-piece set, she explains, “This look comes with pants and the abaya wraps around the waist. It’s layered and makes a statement in a subtle way.” For winter, she points to a warmer abaya in dove gray with asymmetrical stitching down the sides. Shawqi styles her overlays with a python Fendi Peekaboo bag and metallic, tweed Chanel slingbacks. The finishing touches come in the form of an eight-carat tourmaline ring plucked from her debut jewelry line and a Patek Philippe watch.
UNDER THE SKIN
Along with sourcing precious gems, Shawqi hunts for handbags made with top-grade exotic leathers. “I have two classic Chanel bags in snakeskin. One is hot pink and the other is a metallic dusty rose,” she smiles. Her collection also includes a baby blue python Lady Dior worn on special occasions. “The Hermès bags are important to me, because they’re so hard to get.” Her most recent addition is a forest green Birkin 30 bag that she rotates with her royal blue Kelly 20. But the pièce de résistance is a vintage Hermès Constance black crocodile bag. “I’ve never seen anyone else with it,” she remarks, eyes twinkling.
DAY VERSUS NIGHT
“I usually wear flats because I’m tall,” says Shawqi, who stands at a willowy 1.69m. “For my day-to-day, I wear my Gina slippers or Saint Laurent slides. If I have an event to attend, or if I’m visiting someone, I will wear a black abaya with my yellow Manolo Blahnik heels – the color pops and they are comfortable.” During wedding season, she slips on one of her many pairs of Christian Louboutin shoes. ink crystal-embellished, lace, and PVC designs. To a recent ceremony, she opted for Gianvito Rossi sandals that she styled with a silver and white, ankle-grazing Toni Maticevski dress. With her long hair tied back in a low bun, she effortlessly drew attention to her wedding diamond jewelry set.
Her winter wardrobe is well-equipped for her travels to cooler climes abroad. For a winter trip to London, she’ll pack two classic tweed Chanel coats. For those long sub-zero days, she’ll pull on her fur jacket to trot between the shops of Oxford Street and Knightsbridge in her beige Hermès boots or cool Yeezy kicks.