Monday, November 23, 2009

FADWA AL QASEM

 Filigree Radika Necklace
with Faceted Rubies and Silver Accents
We are visiting the grandiose ruins of Leptis Magna in Libya. Leptis Magna was once the center of busy commerce; one look at the sprawling amphitheater and the ominous arches and columns of Severan Basilica, we are overwhelmed by the sense of history.

Libya is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Fadwa Al Qasem.

Born in Libya, Palestinian Al Qasem is intelligent and creative.  Her varied interests that include photography, writing, and jewelry design, each lend to a prolific creative life.

She views her inclinations as organic as extensions of who she is. "Seeking my life's path encompasses everything I am about. Memories, stories, wishes and dreams all gathered up in my hands as I picked up a handful of semi-precious stones," she explains.

"I make no claims to being an artist or a writer--I just try to be creative with images or words and I hope that what I create brings some joy to those who see or read them."

As is customary to many jewelry designers, Al Qasem's love affair with jewelry began in her childhood.  Her father's garden, a floral symphony of color, provided inspiration for wonderful color combinations. She also credits her mother's unique approach to home décor for providing her with the key motivation to unleash her own creative spirit.

"My mother opened my eyes to everything around me," she says. "She always gave extra, creative touches to our home." Al Qasem's specific interest in beads, and semi-precious gemstones intensified as she learned their history.

"I have a passion for beads. After considerable time studying beads and their history, I discovered that glass beads have a background no less auspicious than diamonds, pearls, and semi-precious stones," she says. "Each bead holds the secrets of the culture that made it, traded it, and wore it."

She sources beads and gemstones in an array of sizes, shapes, and textures from around the globe including Jordan, England, India, Canada, and the United States. Her skill at arranging complementary color combinations is sublime.

She specializes in necklaces and chokers, and items range from the understated combination of muted gray and black alongside a vibrant link of fuchsia colored rubies from India. In some cases, Al Qasem attaches a pendant highlighting a smooth, coffee-brown stone; or a medallion-like pendant with etchings.

There are nature-inspired items such as her Drifting Autumn, and Ocean Spirit necklaces featuring spectacular respective stones of rust orange and cobalt blue.  There are beads and gemstones so rich in color they resemble ripe berries, and other items consist of beads and gemstones with fluid-like translucency.

"Glass beads, shells, pebbles are usually perceived as less expensive and less precious," she says. "It is our perception that gives value to things around us.

To me if stones perceived as precious and expensive blend harmoniously with materials deemed not precious or valuable, then they are all beautiful, precious, and worthy of our attention," she enthuses.
Lapis Lazulis Ocean View Necklace
with Green Bead Accents

"My jewelry pieces are an expression of the beauty experienced and seen in the women and cultures of the many places I have traveled.

The stones used to create this jewelry carry within them the history, and stories of humanity, full of beauty and sensuality."


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