It was ‘inevitable’ that Dima and Tania Nawbar had been drawn to jewellery once more. “Whenever you develop up with a jeweler guardian, you’re feeling such as you’re a part of a cult,” says Dima, the eldest of the sisters. “Every thing you do revolves round jewellery.”
As youngsters, the pair performed after college within the workshop of the Nawbar store that their father, Elie, ran on London’s Bond Avenue between 1981 and 1997, earlier than the household moved to Lebanon the next 12 months. They felt no strain to hitch the household enterprise, however after attempting different professions, they found that their coronary heart was in jewellery.
In 2011, they launched L’Atelier Nawbar and have since overcome hurdles – together with the devastating port explosion that ripped via Beirut in August 2020 – to develop their jewellery enterprise into an more and more international model.
Jewellery is in Dima and Tania’s blood: their great-great-grandfather based the household’s jewellery firm in Beirut in 1891. However when the sisters took over from their father, they modified the artistic course by designing and making all the things in-house. pivoting away from its conventional gold and diamond look. Their aim is “playfulness,” says Tania, and creating “stylish,” colourful items that may be layered and stacked by clients to precise their very own model. The most recent assortment, Psychedeliah, impressed by an summary flower, contains creations in 18-carat gold set with mom of pearl, malachite, agate, turquoise and diamonds.
The sisters added ‘L’Atelier’ to the corporate’s title as a result of they did not know if they’d be “ruining the household title” after they joined, and wished “a separate entity,” says Dima, who handles funds whereas Tania runs signifies the operations. . Each design the jewellery.
Judging from the suggestions, the household’s status is protected for now. Harrods, which has stocked the model since 2019, has prolonged a summer season pop-up of L’Atelier Nawbar on the British luxurious division retailer by a month on account of its recognition. Options included unique and limited-edition items, and a “personalization station” that allowed clients to design their very own jewellery utilizing an app.
Reaching this level has not been with out its challenges. Tania says the jewelery trade is a “man’s world” and the suppliers her father had labored with initially thought the sisters had been there to “play”. “They did not actually take us significantly at first,” she remembers.
The sisters additionally needed to earn respect within the workshop they based, the place they needed to cope with artisans who drank alcohol on the job, and turned naysayers into non-traditional artistic strategies they wished to make use of for items like reversible rings.
When a large explosion leveled buildings in Beirut three years in the past, killing greater than 200 folks, one in every of their two workshops was hit, in addition to their store in Saifi Village and each of their houses. They thought of transferring their workshops to different nations, however determined to remain there and didn’t need to abandon their staff. 105 folks now work there.
“To at the present time I nonetheless cannot imagine this occurred to us,” says Tania. “If I hear a loud bang or a balloon popping, I scream and leap. This stuff, that are loopy little issues round you, are at present affecting us each day and I’m engaged on my youngsters to recover from this. . . Now after they see damaged glass it is, ‘Is that an explosion?’
Their expertise with the explosion impressed the Fragments of Us assortment. The designs consist of varied items of stones and diamonds, which replicate the shards of glass they noticed in all places, and pay tribute to folks and locations in Beirut.
“The 12 months that adopted [the explosion] it was all about selecting up your items, selecting up elements of your life,” Dima remembers. “We had been displaced, none of us lived in our houses. Even our retailer now not functioned because it used to.
“Beirut itself had landmarks that had been on the ground, belongings you had been used to seeing each day which can be now not there, elements of your heritage. So it was about your life being fragmented and all of your recollections.”
After the tragedy – and towards the backdrop of Lebanon’s ongoing monetary disaster, which noticed the nation’s banks impose their very own capital controls and restrict withdrawals – the sector has not solely recovered, however expanded. Income grew 16 % from 2020 to 2021, 32 % from 2021 to 2022, and 37 % in the latest fiscal 12 months.
L’Atelier Nawbar opened its second boutique in Riyadh in Could. The model’s designs are additionally bought in roughly 50 factors of sale on-line and in shops in Europe, the US, North Africa, Asia and the Center East. Division retailer Bloomingdale’s is internet hosting a three-month L’Atelier Nawbar pop-up in Dubai till January 1, together with a allure bar the place clients can personalize necklaces. One other eight to 10 merchants will probably be added subsequent 12 months, with the US a specific development goal.
Through the interview, the sisters contradict and interrupt one another. They “combat a lot” at work, Dima admits – one thing their colleagues have observed. “We’re on the identical web page on the large issues, like the way in which we see our firm – on our targets, imaginative and prescient, ethics, morals – however on the subject of day-to-day issues, we argue rather a lot. As quickly as we go away the workplace, we’ll turn into sisters once more.”
Their shared imaginative and prescient is to move on the household enterprise. “And . . .[that]there’s a variety of strain,” says Dima. “Whenever you move the torch, it’s a must to preserve it burning.”
Different jewelers from Lebanon
The inspiration behind Ghazal’s new assortment Doorways of Alternative is a turquoise door she got here throughout whereas home searching in London. Her transfer from Lebanon final 12 months was motivated by a want to develop her model internationally. Twenty years after her first assortment, the brand new items are handcrafted from 18-karat brushed gold and pavé stones in her studio in Beirut.
Born in Beirut, Akkad left Lebanon on the age of 17 and moved to Paris to coach as a jeweler. He launched his personal model in 1989 and opened his gallery on the Left Financial institution in 2013. Recognized for his sculptural items, he’ll unveil a dozen limited-edition assertion cuffs product of ebony on the FAB artwork truthful in Paris in November, his first experiment within the wooden. 22-26.
Khouri, who grew up in Tripoli and launched her eponymous model in Lebanon in 2015, moved to Dubai after the Beirut explosion in 2020 however recurrently travels again to town to fulfill the artisans who make her items. In December she’s going to launch her model’s first on-line boutique. Her items are at present bought on-line via stockists together with vogue platform Farfetch.