A new Sotheby’s exhibition underscores the UAE as a destination for exceptional jewelry making.
Sotheby’s Dubai’s Made in the Emirates exhibition, on this month from October 4-7, will showcase the works of some of the Gulf’s most exciting emerging jewelry design talent while celebrating developments in the region’s creative scene. The inaugural show will highlight Dubai’s potential as a hub for innovative jewelry craftsmanship, as well as offer a tantalizing glimpse at some of the famed auction house’s most exciting international offerings. The Emirates as a destination for jewelry production is booming. “Certain techniques, such as enameling, were previously only possible in other locations, but these designers featured at the auction have helped bring such craftsmanship to the UAE. Now, the full creative process can be completed right here, from start to finish,” says Sophie Stevens, jewelry specialist at Sotheby’s MENA. “Sotheby’s decided that now is the perfect time to take a closer look at the jewelry emerging from the Emirates and to talk about it to a broader audience. It is about time that the incredible craftsmanship that happens here was elevated onto an international platform.”
Made in the Emirates will feature UAE-based brands Savolinna, Gafla, Yataghan, Misk, Susana Martins, and Hashi. The pieces are influenced by local and global contemporary and historical design,ranging from traditional Emirati elements and themes to international classics such as art deco. Many of the designs were only made possible thanks to the latest technological advances that have recently appeared in the region. Complementing the jewelry will be a collection of works by Emirati artists represented by art research and collecting platform Engage 101.
“What better way to kickstart the season than with a celebration of regional art and jewelry, alongside an exciting program of events including panel discussions,” states Katia Nounou Boueiz, head of Sotheby’s Dubai. “The exhibition brings the best of the Emirates under one roof at the same time as our international auction highlights, in a curated one-stop destination for lovers of art and jewelry alike. It’s the perfect opportunity for young collectors looking to acquire and acquaint themselves with new and celebrated artists from the Emirates. “Made in the Emirates will run concurrently with a traveling exhibition of highlights from Sotheby’s forthcoming international auctions of jewelry, Indian, and Islamic art, and contemporary Middle Eastern art, combining an exciting international offering with local pieces. Of particular interest are the highlights of the Magnificent Jewels auctions in New York and Geneva. This selection includes colored diamonds and gemstones alongside historical designs by Bulgari, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels.
The regional jewelers taking part in the exhibition represent some of the most exciting talents from the Gulf. Hashi Jewellery was founded by Hamda Al Mansoori in 2013 and has its own factory in Dubai.“Hashi creates classic pieces with a contemporary twist using the finest diamonds and colored gems,” says Stevens. Portuguese trained goldsmith and gemologist Susana Martins’ eponymous brand is influenced by the art deco era and highlights the coming together of architecture and design. “Susana has worked in jewelry manufacturing in the UAE for close to a decade and was instrumental in bringing a number of high jewelry craftsmanship skills to the region, such as manual enameling,” says Stevens. Savolinna, which was founded by Hessa Al Shafar, is another Dubai-based firm focused on contemporary styles and exceptional craftsmanship. “Uncompromisingly feminine, Savolinna represents all that Hessa is passionate about: design, emeralds, and exquisite craftsmanship. Savolinna’s pieces are inspired by the cultural diversity Dubai has to offer, seamlessly merging with the demands of modern life,” notes Stevens. Saudi firm Yataghan creates fine jewelry designs in its Dubai atelier, bringing together calligraphy and geometric designs full of regional elements, including Saudi gold coins with gem-set pendants. Misk Jewellery, founded by Maher Khansaheb, adapts “Emirati heritage for the contemporary jewelry collector,” according to Stevens, and Gafla Jewellery’s pieces are also informed by its Emirati heritage, including their pearl Bahar designs inspired by the Gulf ’s history with the jewels – Dubai having once thrived from its abundance of natural pearls.
The Gulf has long been known for its love of stunning jewels and gemstones, but before the arrival of new techniques and the influx of talented designers, many buyers used to shop outside of the region. “Before, people used to travel abroad in search of perfect craftsmanship, now we have the same quality being offered here. Why not display that craftsmanship through the eyes of designers with different backgrounds, exposing the talent behind locally produced pieces?” notes Khansaheb. Now is an exciting time for jewelry production in the Emirates and Dubai sits at the heart of this upturn. With new techniques arriving on the scene, an influx of regional and international abilities, and the rise of local
Originally published in the October 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia