Monday, May 11, 2009


Andalusian Garden is tucked away from the noise and buzz of the nearby city, Cairo, Egypt.

Amidst the lush, beautiful gardens and landscapes, we'll take a quiet walk along the banks of the Nile River and marvel at the scope and magnificence of the garden's terraces, Egyptian statues, and palm trees.

Here is where we'll visit with featured jewelry designer Azza Fahmy.

Nefertari. Cleopatra. Nefertiti. Beautifully steeped in Arabic motifs and symbolism, Fahmy's designs bring to mind the power and mystique of Egypt's ancient queens.

In 1969, while working as a government-employed book illustrator, Fahmy held a B.A. degree in Interior Design and she planned to obtain a second degree in Applied Arts. However, when she attended Egypt's first book fair, she saw a book that would change the course of her life.

The book, written in German, was about medieval jewelry design and boasted a hefty price tag. Despite these factors, Fahmy purchased it. Enthralled and captivated by the book's jewelry designs, she chose to work part-time as an apprentice at the Khan El Khalili Bazaar. She was the first woman to do so. With an abundance of enthusiasm, having completed a full day of work as an illustrator, for two years Fahmy threw herself into learning the artistry of jewelry making.

In the mid-seventies, the British Council chose to send her to the City of London Polytechnic School to learn jewelry making from a theoretical standpoint. When she returned to Cairo, she was ready to open her first workshop.

Honoring Arabic tradition and culture, Fahmy wanted to design jewelry incorporating Arabic spiritual ideologies. Some of the symbolism featured in her Ramuz Collection includes the Hoopoe Bird, which symbolizes wisdom; the Spiral symbolizing human spirituality; and the Blue Stone, or color blue, signifying the sky and water.

Fahmy also loves the passionate writings of Egyptian poet Salah Jahin Rubaiyat. Using calligraphy, she engraves verses from his poems on her bracelets, necklaces, key chains, and rings. She makes outstanding use of filigree jewelry making, and she uses silver, inlaid gold, topaz, rubies, emeralds, amethyst, and diamonds to accentuate her designs.

The pioneering Fahmy has become the foremost leading jewelry designer in the Arab world, and Egypt's first design label. In 2007, a partnership with British fashion designer Julien Macdonald provided additional attention for her company. She provided the jewelry for the fashion designer's fashion show at London Fashion Week in 2008.

Fahmy also released a book entitled Enchanted Jewelry Of Egypt: The Traditional Art And Craft, a sprawling chronicle of the history of Egyptian jewelry.
Photo 1 (top right): Filigree Pendant with Large Turquoise Stone, Diamonds, Peridot and Amethyst from Exclusive Collection
Photo 2 (bottom left): Silver and inlaid Gold Bracelet with Flower Motif and Mother's Poem from 2009 Mother's Day Collection
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