Author: Rima Al-Mukhtar, [email protected]
Wednesday 21 September 2011
Born and raised in Kuwait, Fakhoury moved to the city with a big art scene, Asheville, North Carolina, with her family when she was six years old. She has an interesting background of fine arts and engineering, as her father was an engineer and her mother was a painter and sculptor.
“I feel I have equally inherited from both my parents,” says Fakhoury. “I studied electrical engineering, and two years into the program, I developed an interest in art and decided to change majors.”
In 2007, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art and design and a minor degree in industrial art and Middle Eastern studies. The designer believes that jewelry designing is a great way to utilize her art and math skills.
“Designing requires creativity and aesthetics while the workmanship necessary in creating my jewelry puts my geometric and math sense to work. I think my love of incorporating geometry in my designs is my way of connecting these left and right brain strengths,” she said.
Fakhoury was fascinated by jewelry ever since she was a little girl, thanks to her mother’s jewelry collection. She said she used to look at the collection with amazement and wonder at how things were made and believed that jewelry can tell a story.
“My mother had jewelry pieces that my father gave her more than 20 years ago. Also, my grandmother recently showed me her engagement jewels from 50 years back. It amazed me at how well they have held up,” she explained.
The designer claims that jewelry is different from clothing or other fashion accessories in that one doesn’t buy a shirt or a dress expecting it to last for decades. Fine, well-made jewelry can last a lifetime and can even be passed from one generation to the next.
“As I look back on the gifts I have received throughout my life, jewelry has been the most lasting and what I have cherished most. This is what I love about this business: making something that can be so meaningful to someone,” she said.
Fakhoury’s business started as a hobby, as for years, she used to design jewelry for herself or as gifts for her mother and sister. In 2010, the designer decided to take it to the next step and made a business out of her hobby.
“It took me a couple of months to finish my first collection because I was trying to find my voice as a jewelry designer. That voice is continually evolving and growing as I learn more skills and discover more about my clients,” she said.
She added: “I don’t exactly categorize my pieces in collections. I like to cater to what my clients want, but I don’t follow trends and fads. I hope that my jewelry becomes a part of a woman’s lasting collection and not just an annual trend.”
The availability of her designs is subject to the stones she has available. Some of her pieces are one-of-a-kind because she can only get her hands on a limited amount of stones for that particular design.
Fakhoury uses natural and authentic materials and metals. Aiming to create ever-lasting jewelry, she uses natural gemstones and freshwater pearls, and sometimes, Swarovski beads. “I use natural materials because I don’t have to wonder about the quality of the stones,” she said. “I currently use sterling silver and 14k gold-filled wire because it lasts longer and it’s affordable for me and my clients.”
The designer thinks that even though there are advances in imitation stones, they can often look fake and gaudy, which is why she avoids them. Her designs are inspired by the gemstones she uses. To her, each gemstone is unique and influences how she will use it in her design.
“The color of the gemstone will determine what metal and other stones I choose to combine it with. The unique size and shape of a stone, combined with my love of geometry, influences my designs greatly. I will often shape my metal in a way that complements the stones I use,” she explained.
The young designer describes her jewelry as detailed, as she is very meticulous when creating jewelry and pays attention to little details. “I also see my designs as delicate without being fragile. The designs are simple and subtle. I think it is important for jewelry to be comfortable to wear. As a result, my earrings and necklaces are usually light and can be worn all day long,” she said.
She believes that women from the Middle East are the type of women who would love her designs most, thanks to the colors and exotic designs. “I have traveled throughout much of the Middle East and am increasingly drawn to the elaborate, geometric patterns found in Islamic mosaics,” she said.
Fakhoury prices her jewelry on how difficult it was to make the piece as well as the materials used. “My clients are fashionable without being too flashy and most of them are professional women who are well educated and well traveled. They often have colorful personalities and have active social lives. My ideal client appreciates art and handmade objects and values beauty and embraces her femininity. She is elegant and always looks her best,” she said.