Glimpse into a golden past: Jewelry partnership honors Saudi Arabia’s ancient heritage
RIYADH: Ancient civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula have come to shimmering life in a jewelry collaboration by designers Princess Nourah Al-Faisal and Yasmeen Marzouq.
Jewels of Arabia was inspired by discoveries of a cultural heritage stretching back thousands of years, an “ancient and authentic presence,” according to Marzouq.
“We wanted to make jewelry that expresses our history and originality,” the designer told Arab News.
Nuun Jewels, founded by Princess Nourah, and Yasmeen Marzouq Jewels combined their expertise and design skills to create a collection depicting the culture and architecture of five ancient civilizations.
“The idea originated from the fact that we have a cultural heritage and civilizations that have existed since ancient times,” Marzouq said.
The five civilizations chosen by the two designers are the Tayma, the kingdoms of Al-Jarhaa and Kinda, Al-Magar and Dadan.
“Jewels of Arabia was a concept that was brought to me by Yasmeen and her team,” Princess Nourah told Arab News.
“I found it so interesting. The idea is that we go back into the civilizations that existed on this land and take them into part of our cultural heritage as well.”
The jewelry line offers a glimpse into the past, paying tribute to the Arabian Peninsula’s historical treasures.
“The two brands got together to give a tribute and rebirth to the ancient civilizations of the peninsula. It was very interesting to have inspirations that are local and not going to the Western world but, instead, focus on what made the richness of the land here,” Adrien Riviere, director at Nuun Jewels, said.
Using modern design methods, Jewels of Arabia brings ancient designs to life for contemporary audiences using the language of jewels.
“I tried as much as possible to take something directly from the culture that I was looking at, whether it was a pattern for a ring and or earring, or the shape of a horn for a bracelet,” Princess Nourah said.
“A Journey to Revelation,” a piece from the collection designed by Marzouq, features 8.28 grams of yellow gold, red rubies and turquoise. It was inspired by the cluster of grapes engraved on jewelry found in the Thaj gold treasure discovered by Saudi archeologists in 1998.
“The idea of holding an exhibition inspired by civilizations found in the Arabian Peninsula was a dream for me,” Marzouq said.
One of the signature pieces, an intricate bracelet created by Princess Nourah, was inspired by the Kinda kingdom and features a design based on the horns of a goat.
“The most complicated piece was my favorite because I love complication. It was an amethyst horn cuff. It took 500 hours to make,” Princess Nourah said.
Three large pieces of quartz were cut and shaped for each piece of the design. The bracelet consists of 364.4 carats amethyst and 0.7 carats diamonds.
The collection also highlights the ingenuity of ancient craftsmen and aims to ensure that historic archeological finds are remembered through jewelry.
The launch of Jewels of Arabia may inspire further partnerships in design and jewelry manufacture in the Kingdom, its collaborators believe.
It will also empower Saudi designers, giving them knowledge and resources to contribute to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal of diversifying the industrial market.
Princess Nourah hosted the Arab Jewellery Award by Nuun, which invited Saudi designers to create a piece for the collection.
Jamila Faqihi was selected for her design of a kayan ring inspired by ancient inscriptions of the Dadan civilization.
The winner said that the ring’s intricate and layered design symbolize the beaury and strength of women.