Thursday, November 18, 2010


A prominent location for high-spirited festivals, Egypt’s majestic Luxor Temple sits ominously along the banks of the Nile River.

Built over six centuries ago, the ancient temple is primarily used to celebrate the fertility festival known as Opet. Egypt is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Mina Hassan.

At one time or another someone has probably said to you “be yourself.” In a society where conformity is often rewarded and lauded it is always refreshing to see someone be true to oneself.

Hassan’s stunning designer fashion jewelry, MINU Jewels, with its distinctive colors and Mediterranean flair is like a ray of sunlight in the often stodgy, uniform world of machine made, mass produced jewelry.

There is a strong sense of cultural pride in Hassan’s aesthetic; Arabic inscriptions, embossed textures, oxidation, and bold design patterns bring her otherwise understated jewelry to life. Her collections mix grandiose sterling silver cuff bracelets with delicate yet striking gemstone earrings.

“Why wear something everyone else has,” asks the New Mexico-based designer, “MINU Jewels is eclectic and unique. We like to make timeless pieces that you can wear anytime or season. Being different is what we believe.”

After settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico 17 years ago, Hassan began converting her longtime hobby of jewelry making into a full-blown company.

Enlisting the assistance of her mother, Mimi, and sister, Sherine, Hassan draws from her various artistic aptitudes to bring the beauty of Egypt, as well as cultures like India, into designs that are colorful, spiritual and of course beautiful.

I love the bold elegance of Hassan’s designer jewelry; there are metal contrasts of brass, copper, sterling silver, and 14-karat gold fill. An assortment of gemstones that include smoky quartz, blue agate, carnelian, rose quartz, lemon topaz, and red jade are presented in ridged, flat and organic facet styles.

MINU Jewels is distributed around the world including Canada, South America, Greece, Scotland, and the United States of America. In 2007, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose Hassan’s vibrant jewelry as a consolation prize.

Selected items from MINU Jewels inventory were put into gift bags for all 2007 Oscar nominees who did not win the coveted statue. Not a bad trade-off if you ask me.

Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Gold-Filled Ruby Hoop Earrings
Photo 2 (center): Nubian Sterling Silver Cuff Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Gold and Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace with Arabic inscription
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