For the September issue, Kuwait’s Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Sabah spoke to Vogue Arabia‘s Caterina Minthe about her portfolio of sustainable brands and debut fine jewelry line, Intisars. As the high pieces find their way into the treasure trove and family archives of women the world over, Vogue.me checks in with Sheikha Intisar to further delve into the world of Intisars. Here, we uncover the brand’s clever synergy between the personal and the profound.
Like something plucked from a Disney fairytale, Kuwait’s Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Sabah’s journey to becoming a designer began with her wish to gift each of her four princess daughters a bejeweled keepsake representing her love for them. Not one to mull over an idea for too long, she got to work and designed golden amulets intended to radiate “the energy of joy and love, and the power of being a woman,” she says.
Certainly, Sheikha Intisar knows a thing or two about energy. Her work as a founding member of the GCC’s largest non-profit animal welfare organization and the Kuwait Association of the Care of Children in Hospitals, is just a slice of her wide-reaching entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors. She also founded Lulua Publishing, which is dedicated to personal development. Notably, in 2013, she established Alnowair, the first GCC non-profit committed to spreading a positive attitude. The programs she fostered have since been integrated in university curriculums. Two years later, her diligence to explore various wellness channels saw her enter the beauty industry with the launch of Prismologie. This mood-enhancing bodycare brand offers a bespoke blend of gemstone crystals, aromatics, and colors with the aim to naturally enhance your mood.
For the multitasking Sheikha, Intisars is another avenue for women who seek to spread, what she calls, “the positive energy that makes us thrive.” The jewels are made with 18ct gold in the northern Italian jewelry-making town of Valenza, using traditional basse-taille enamel. This technique, developed by the Ancient Romans and revived in the 17th century, features low-relief patterns in gold. Meanwhile, tubogas – flexible chain bracelets – are made from precision gold strips that snake around the arm. Sheikha Intisar notes how they resemble the agal – the black circular headpiece fitted over the white or red traditional headdress worn by men in the Gulf region, Jordan, and Palestine. The rings and pendants that dangle from necklaces bear meticulous Arabic calligraphy and are set with ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones. Adding to the intimacy of the brand, each design from the two collections simultaneously launched – Me Oh Me (rings and pendants) and Aqqal (tubogas) – is limited to 50 pieces.
Presenting her collection during a private viewing in Kuwait, Sheikha Intisar glows in an embroidered yellow kaftan. She looks confident and serene while she elaborates about topics such as self-respect, family, passion, and the proud appreciation for heritage. “The jewelry pieces are small but powerful reminders of life’s many loves,” the princess concludes.
By Caterina Minthe in the September issue of Vogue Arabia
Vogue.me catches up with Sheikha Intisar ahead of the new season and delves into further detail on her fine jewelry collection, which is infused with meaning and good vibes.
What is your main source of inspiration?
“Love. Love for my daughter, love for myself (a love that many of us forget to have), love for my homeland, and love for my friends and family. I am inspired every day by this kind of love, the love that surrounds me every day, I am most grateful for.”
What’s your earliest jewelry-related memory?
“When my eldest brother graduated, he got me and my two sisters designer pendants all in the same style. Mine was diamond and my sisters’ were ruby and emerald. I am the only one who still has it more than 35 years later.”
How would you describe the women you design for?
“Like a beautiful tree, she stands tall and strong. She prospers, regardless of how hard the wind blows.”
“She prospers, regardless of how hard the wind blows”
Which precious stone do you find the most striking to work with?
“I love the positive vibrations of gems and have been using crystals to feel good for many years now. Therefore, I love all gems as each one has a specific healing effect either emotionally or physically, but a diamond is a master healer and amplifier and so it works on everything and with everything.”
Why do you think jewelry is so important to the Middle Eastern clientele?
“As a Kuwaiti woman, it is so important to share Intisars jewelry because a lot of our culture is incorporated into it, which I believe will connect to them very powerfully. I am proud of my roots, and believe many women of my liking feel so too. Needless to say, a huge part of Middle Eastern culture is to wear jewelry – so the act of wearing jewelry on its own is one that our great ancestors have undertaken.”
What’s your most treasured item of jewelry?
“My exceptional bright orange sparkly ring that I wear all the time, even to big galas and parties. Before, I would wear my favorite big brilliant-cut solitaire ring that I designed and had made when I bought the diamond that mesmerized my eyes when I saw it. The dealer saw the way I looked at it and when I told him I don’t have the cash for it right now, he said, ‘Pay it whenever you have, even if it’s in two years.’ Lucky for him I paid it within that same year.”
Finally, what makes your collections unique in the industry?
“Intisars designs are meant to make you feel good and look good at the same time. I’m very proud of my culture and heritage, and thus have reflected different aspects of my background through the jewelry.”
Intisars by Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Sabah is available via private trunk shows across the region.
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