I obviously have a great love and appreciation of jewelry, thanks to my mother, much to the dismay of both my father and my boyfriends. ~ Ivanka Trump
Who doesn’t love pretty little things?
Egyptians are no strangers to heavy metals. The pharaohs of Egypt weren’t shy about their love of accessories, carrying around staffs plated with gold and sporting headdresses with stones that were transported all the way from Afghanistan. Nowadays, being blinded by the bling on the hands and necks of Egypt’s elite is commonplace; in certain parts of the city at least. The other day I was in line at the grocery store (in my sweaty yoga gear no less) behind a mature woman who was dressed to the nines. She wore incredible jewelry that I’m quite sure cost more than four months rent and she looked regal and stately, even as she tottered away carrying her miniature poodle and bag filled with olive paste, balsamic and chocolate.
Like any other hot blooded female, there are times when I go mad for jewelry…rings and cuffs especially. Egypt has no shortage of places where you can pick up a piece of hardware whether it’s high end retailers (read: Azza Fahmy) or lesser known craftsmen, such as those in Khan el Khalili who sell their wares. The thing is, while I am easily blinded by the bling, I love pieces that are unique, creatively charged and have a certain je ne sais quoi to them. I want something made with quality and care, and that won’t cost my first unborn child upon delivery.
This is where SABRY MAROUF come in.
Co-founded by Cairo based phenoms Ahmed Sabry and Mohamed (Daki) Marouf in 2010, SABRY MAROUF is an up-and-coming jewelry brand that creates unique pieces and has started to attract the attention of many fashionistas not only in Egypt, but across the region.
Ahmed is the man with the creative flair. Deeply interested in culture and art from around the world, his desire to make things that haven’t been done before is evident as he fuses elements from the past, present and future to design eclectic and robust pieces.
Daki is the reasoning and logic behind the brand. Formally trained as an architect, Marouf handles the business side of operations and also provides technical and futuristic inputs that perfectly compliment Sabry’s innovative ideas and make pieces more wearable.
Sabry and Marouf celebrate their Egyptian identity through their jewelry design. Not only do they see Egypt as a source of inspiration, but they branch out beyond the borders of their homeland looking to the savannahs of Sub-Saharan Africa and the medieval castles of Europe for ideas to fuel their designs. Their aim is to develop jewelry that is contemporary, refined and totally avant garde.
The impressive thing about these fashion masterminds is that they use use local materials (where possible) and work with Egyptian artisans and craftsmen (often in Khan el Khalili). Given that labour and materials are locally sourced, and they oversee each piece that’s made, they can guarantee the quality of every bling-tastic item and the cost for a piece remains quite reasonable (e.g. average cost for rings: 200 – 400 LE; earrings: 300 – 400LE; cuffs: 300 – 500LE; necklaces: 700 – 900 LE).
Armure is one of SABRY MAROUF’s latest collections that was shown at a launch party in late December. The collection is comprised of a series of pieces that according to them is a:
micro-reflection of our personal experiences [in Egypt] and inspired by the world’s current macro-transition. We merge metal-work with cultural metaphors and the duality of ancient vs. future worlds. We’re coming up with a collection that presents, to the jewelry industry, a new kind of evolution.
A new kind of evolution, indeed.
In short, the pieces are fabulous. There are necklaces that look like they’ve been lifted from the motherboard of a super computer and dipped in gold. There are cuffs with a similar electronic feel that harbor encrypted messages. There are futuristic earrings – plated with gold, silver and platinum – that you’d expect to see the love interest of Blade Runner wearing as she races through blacked-out post-apocalyptic streets.
Some of the newer pieces they’re working on are equally intriguing as they are appealing, with themes as diverse as the Earth’s prehistoric era and age-old folklore. There was a long dangling necklace that held a symbolic phoenix fighting to rise from the ashes. There was a chain mail necklace and glove, both extremely edgy, which found a following amongst some of Cairo’s high-fashion clientele. There were also earrings – extremely popular – that looked like protozoa you’d expect to find in an ancient primordial soup that had evolved into a stylish and tasteful piece of hardware any modern hipster would sport for a night out on the town.
Impressed by the pieces I’ve seen so far, I have a sneaky feeling that should SABRY MAROUF continue moving along the particular trajectory they’re on, well…the future looks bright.