Four of a kind
People often run into others who have on the same jewellery and that’s where designer Nadia al Shamsi saw an opportunity. She handcrafts a maximum of four pieces for every design sold under the brand name Mazayen. Inspired by the heritage and culture of Oman, the designs with a modern twist, are mostly in silver.
Nadia finds inspiration in Oman’s rich and rugged nature, cultural icons like the burqa, lanterns and talisman, and has collections with quirky titles such as Beach-A-Colada among others.
Mazayen jewellery is currently sold at Alila Jabal Akhdar, Bait al Zubair and Six Senses Zighy Bay in Musandam. The brand is also sold online by Paris-based company Nicnac and omanities.com in the sultanate. The jewellery is priced between RO20 and RO160.
Nadia started Mazayen - Arabic for ‘beauty pageant for female camel’ or ‘creative’ – after acquiring a diploma in jewellery designing in 2013. “The element of commonness or run-of-the-mill-ness has fuelled demand for artistic jewellery that is not mass produced; not something that you would see very often. We want our customers to stand out with unique handmade jewellery. We want to fulfil their desire to be different. Mazayen leveraged this trend by creating unique pieces that are distinct,” she stated.
This year in September, Mazayen participated in the 64th edition of International Jewellery London (IJL) for the second time. Considered the pre-eminent annual destination for the best of British fine jewellery, as well as leading brands from around the globe, retail buyers from more than 70 countries rely upon IJL for the unique display of fine, bridal and demi-fine jewellery.
Nadia exhibited Mazayen in the Design Gallery category of IJL 2019 eligibility criteria for which required products must be both designed and made/overseen by the exhibiting designer, besides all major elements of each piece being the original creation of the designer and not mass produced. Additionally, the product finish must reflect the designer’s attention to detail, show innovation in design, strong design principles and best practice, and be hand-finished.
Besides meeting these eligibility criteria to participate in the three-day exhibition of IJL 2019, Nadia was also invited to showcase her designs in a ramp show where her pieces were paired off with jewellery created by other designers.
Following a degree in management from Sultan Qaboos University in 2009, Nadia convinced her family to allow her to pursue a diploma in creative jewellery making in London. “I was artistically inclined ever since I was a little girl, but my family discouraged me from taking up arts as they thought I’d have to depend on them all my life if I went into an artistic line.”
Employed in the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, she said, “I want to work in the cultural department but because of my degree in management, I have been assigned to the admin and finance department.”
While Nadia herself handcrafts the silver pieces, she makes gold-plated jewellery on order for which she commissions the gold plating work to an Omani jeweller so that Mazayen qualifies for the bill of being ‘Made in Oman by an Omani’.