Saudi jeweler crafts AlUla stones into peerless creations

Peerless offers modern jewelry made from colorful precious stones collected from the AlUla desert over decades. (Photos by Khalid Al-Anazy/Supplied)
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Peerless offers modern jewelry made from colorful precious stones collected from the AlUla desert over decades. (Photos by Khalid Al-Anazy/Supplied)
Saudi jeweler crafts AlUla stones into peerless creations
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Peerless offers modern jewelry made from colorful precious stones collected from the AlUla desert over decades. (Photos by Khalid Al-Anazy/Supplied)
Saudi jeweler crafts AlUla stones into peerless creations
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Peerless offers modern jewelry made from colorful precious stones collected from the AlUla desert over decades. (Photos by Khalid Al-Anazy/Supplied)
Saudi jeweler crafts AlUla stones into peerless creations
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Hanan Al-Balawi while displaying her products and representing the school during the Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup, which was held earlier in AlUla in March. (Photo by Khalid Al-Anazy)
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Updated 25 April 2023
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Saudi jeweler crafts AlUla stones into peerless creations

Saudi jeweler crafts AlUla stones into peerless creations
  • Saudi jeweler Hanan Al-Balawi’s creations are carved from her father’s colorful AlUla stones collection

JEDDAH: Saudi jeweler Hanan Al-Balawi turned her father’s hobby of collecting stones into a business to give travelers the chance to carry part of AlUla with them wherever they go.

“My father has been collecting natural stones for a long time, he used to polish some of them and keep them for himself,” said the a 24-year-old owner of Peerless from AlUla.

“I lost the pearl of my favorite ring once and I was so upset, and my father said that he will find an alternative for it, a few hours later he brought the ring with a polished stone on it instead.”




Peerless offers modern jewelry made from colorful precious stones collected from the AlUla desert over decades. (Photos by Khalid Al-Anazy/Supplied)

Peerless offers modern jewelry designed and made of pure silver and gold-plated silver, as well as precious stones that Al-Balawi collects from the AlUla desert during trips with her father and sister.

“Every stone I put in our jewelry is connected with a beautiful memory from our stone-collecting trips since I was six years old,” she said.

HIGHLIGHTS

• AlUla’s desert is characterized by many interesting types of stone due to its rocky nature, including the finest types of agate, amazonite, jasper, quartz, amethyst, and howlite, among others.

• The Saudi jewelry brand can transform visitors’ favorite stones into unique pieces of jewelry so that they can wear and keep a memento inspired by AlUla.

“We compete on finding the best stones, and the desert here surprises us with plenty of interesting gemstones every time.”

AlUla’s desert is characterized by many interesting types of stone due to its rocky nature, including the finest types of agate, amazonite, jasper, quartz, amethyst, and howlite, among others.




A man wearing a ring created by Peerless. (Instagram/alulatourism)

Al-Balawi works in the family workshop, where they all cut and shape stones and craft unique pieces of jewelry. “Sometimes one stone can make two completely different pieces, and that is where all the natural fascination can be found.”

Peerless also provides the possibility of transforming visitors’ favorite stones into unique jewelry so that they can wear a piece inspired by their love for AlUla and its history. “We try very hard to produce visitors’ pieces quickly to ensure that they take a piece of precious AlUla with them around the world.”

The brand also offers stone slices on metal or acrylic stands and rosaries.




Peerless offers modern jewelry made from colorful precious stones collected from the AlUla desert over decades. (Photos by Khalid Al-Anazy/Supplied)

Al-Balawi and her sister learned the craft of polishing stones from their father. “We displayed our stone collection consisting of a group of polished natural stones from different parts of the AlUla desert for the first time in the second Tantora Festival in AlUla in 2019.”

In 2021, Al-Balawi joined the jewelry program at Addeera School, an arts and design center, where she is learning silversmithing and jewelry design, to further enhance her skills and knowledge.

Every stone I put in our jewelry is connected with a beautiful memory from our stone-collecting trips since I was six years old.

Hanan Al-Balawi, Saudi jeweler

Located in Al-Jadidah, Addeera School offers weekly workshops on topics ranging from painting with natural earthen pigments to building collaborative 3D geometric structures.

Al-Balawi was among the very first batches to join the Addeera School before it was officially launched last year. “Next year, I will complete three years, and I will receive an accredited certificate in jewelry making.”

Al-Balawi said that the efforts made by Addeera School for her to acquire such skills are “tremendous,” as the jewelry-crafting courses offered cannot be found elsewhere in the Kingdom. “We learned everything from scratch, including all the techniques related to the jewelry industry, from welding to melting, wax molds, copying, casting, and mixing of metal titers.”

 


Saudi Arabia expresses concern over military escalation in Middle East

Saudi Arabia expresses concern over military escalation in Middle East
Updated 30 min 31 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia expresses concern over military escalation in Middle East

Saudi Arabia expresses concern over military escalation in Middle East
  • Arab states echoed Saudi sentiment, condemning regional escalation and call for restraint"

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday expressed deep concern over the military escalation in the Middle East and urged all parties involved to exercise restraint, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned of "serious repercussions" on the region and its peoples from the dangers of a wider war, according to SPA.

 

 

Iran on Saturday launched drones and missiles against Israel, making good its threat to retaliate against the Israeli air strike that destroyed an Iranian embassy annex building in Damascus, Syria, killing at least 13 people, including two generals of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard.

The Saudi ministry "affirmed the Kingdom’s position calling for the need for the Security Council to assume its responsibility towards maintaining international peace and security, especially in this region that is extremely sensitive to global peace and security, and to prevent the escalation of the crisis that will have serious consequences if it expands," said the SPA report. 

The Saudi staement was echoed by the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, who emphasized the imperative of upholding regional and global security and stability amidst recent developments in the Middle East.

He urged, in a statement, all involved parties to exercise utmost restraint to forestall further escalation, which could endanger regional stability and civilian welfare. Albudaiwi underscored the necessity of collaborative efforts and diplomatic resolutions to address conflicts and ensure regional security.

He emphasized the pivotal role of the international community in bolstering these peace and stability endeavors, and warned of the potential ramifications of heightened tensions.

Egypt also urged all parties to exercise utmost restraint to prevent further escalation in the region, aiming to safeguard its stability and the well-being of its inhabitants.

In a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last night, Egypt underscored that the current dangerous escalation in the Iranian/Israeli arena is a direct consequence of previously highlighted concerns. Egypt has consistently warned against the perils of expanding conflicts in the region, particularly stemming from Israeli military actions in Gaza and provocative maneuvers in the area.

The statement emphasized Egypt's continuous engagement with all relevant stakeholders to mitigate the situation, halt the escalation, and avert the region from spiraling into instability, thereby safeguarding the interests of its people.

Meanwhile, Jordan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Al-Safadi emphasizes that stopping the Israeli aggression on Gaza, ending the occupation, and advancing the two-state solution are essential measures to halt the escalation in the region.


Saudi, Norway foreign ministers discuss Gaza during call

Saudi, Norway foreign ministers discuss Gaza during call
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi, Norway foreign ministers discuss Gaza during call

Saudi, Norway foreign ministers discuss Gaza during call

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Saturday received a telephone call from his Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
During the call, they discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and efforts to contain the crisis.
The call comes a day after Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said that Norway was ready to recognize a Palestinian state together with other countries,


Saudi fashion graduate who dared to dream

Saudi fashion graduate who dared to dream
Updated 13 April 2024
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Saudi fashion graduate who dared to dream

Saudi fashion graduate who dared to dream
  • Manal Marvelous’ tips for aspiring designers have turned her into social media star

RIYADH: Saudi fashion and lifestyle content creator Manal Marvelous discovered her love of design and sewing while at university and soon began sharing her work on social media.  

“My passion for fashion was a coincidence; actually, I had to take one semester of fashion classes in college because of some weird situation I got myself into and I was supposed to transfer after the semester ended, but I fell in love and never looked back,“ Marvelous told Arab News.

Manal Marvelous loves to share how she develops and sews her creations, and her TikTok has 3 million views and 700,000 followers. (Supplied)

“I love out-of-the box and creative ideas I can share with my audience, which consist of girls around my age with similar interests who either love fashion or got inspired to start their journey after watching my content,” she said.

She loves to share how she develops and sews her creations, and her TikTok has 3 million views and 700,000 followers.  

HIGHLIGHTS

• Marvelous took part in the Sony Creators Convention, where she showcased her work on models, and offered advice to aspiring content creators about the business, how to succeed, and how to make their passions their careers. 

• Marvelous believes that with an abundance of talented and creative Saudi designers, as well as the diversity of Saudi fashion and traditional costume, the KSA scene needs more useful fashion events.

• Aside from TikTok, Marvelous supports up-and-coming fashion designers on her YouTube channel, paving a path for them to enter the industry. 

• She said that constructive criticism is always appreciated, and that she tries to hear what people have to say to improve her material, gain insight into her audience, and receive feedback.

“It felt like magic to me how can you transform a piece of fabric into art just by cutting here and stitching there,” she said.

Marvelous took part in the Sony Creators Convention, where she showcased her work on models, and offered advice to aspiring content creators about the business, how to succeed, and how to make their passions their careers.

Manal Marvelous loves to share how she develops and sews her creations, and her TikTok has 3 million views and 700,000 followers. (Supplied)

“My work as a fashion and lifestyle creator takes me around the Kingdom to collaborate with global and local brands ranging from clothing to skincare to makeup,” she said.  

Aside from TikTok, Marvelous supports up-and-coming fashion designers on her YouTube channel, paving a path for them to enter the industry.  

Manal Marvelous loves to share how she develops and sews her creations, and her TikTok has 3 million views and 700,000 followers. (Supplied)

“In my YouTube channel, I share my love of sewing, but with a twist. From sewing pants out of bandannas and a corset with plastic, to recycling my old jeans into a denim jacket,” she said.

Marvelous had the backing of friends and family from the start, and they were her supporters.

Manal Marvelous loves to share how she develops and sews her creations, and her TikTok has 3 million views and 700,000 followers. (Supplied)

She did, however, mention how some elements of social media, like cyberbullying, were deterring her from sharing and how she overcame it.

“Bullying on social media has become the norm lately. What I do and what I recommend everyone do is ignore the comment, especially when it’s obvious that the person is just trying to hurt you.”

Manal Marvelous loves to share how she develops and sews her creations, and her TikTok has 3 million views and 700,000 followers. (Supplied)

She said that constructive criticism is always appreciated, and that she tries to hear what people have to say to improve her material, gain insight into her audience, and receive feedback.

“But people who just want to put you down and make you feel bad should be muted,” she added.

Marvelous believes that with an abundance of talented and creative Saudi designers, as well as the diversity of Saudi fashion and traditional costume, the KSA scene needs more useful fashion events.

“Saudi Arabia has some of the most talented and creative designers in the field, and their work should be appreciated and celebrated nationally and internationally. Having more shows in the Kingdom could be beneficial not only to the designers but to the country as well.”

Marvelous said that the Fashion Commission has been a significant asset to the sector for many years, planning events and providing support for emerging designers through programs such as 100 Brands.

“I advise upcoming designers to never stop dreaming big; this is our time to shine and create the unexpected. There’s space for everyone.”

Marvelous offers three tips for aspiring fashion content creators seeking to be authentic: “Don’t try to copy other creators; it’s good to follow trends, but only when it suits your content and your personality. Consistency is key. Pick the schedule that suits you and make sure to stick to it.”

 


Thriving gardens: Growing and nurturing plants without destroying soil

Thriving gardens: Growing and nurturing plants without destroying soil
Updated 13 April 2024
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Thriving gardens: Growing and nurturing plants without destroying soil

Thriving gardens: Growing and nurturing plants without destroying soil
  • The foundation of a successful garden is soil health
  • It is critical to take care of the soil before planting seeds by creating organic elements in the soil rather than relying on chemical or synthetic fertilizers

RIYADH: Caring for plants at home reduces stress and increases satisfaction. Gardening allows people to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of their home garden.
However, it is important to use sustainable methods to ensure that plants are healthy, and the environment is protected from damage. Soil preservation and care are therefore very important for sustainable gardening.
The foundation of a successful garden is soil health. It is critical to take care of the soil before planting seeds by creating organic elements in the soil rather than relying on chemical or synthetic fertilizers.
Compost food scraps, garden waste and other organic products to improve soil fertility will provide nutrients to plants, increasing microbial activity and boosting the health of the soil.
“Synthetic fertilizers aren’t used in the Kingdom. It is rare. Most people use organic products such as animal waste mixed with food waste,” said Haitham Sharbaji, an agricultural technician who works in Riyadh.
Sharbaji, who operates his own nursery, explained how different plants require specific techniques.
When asked about examples of plants that are grown in hot, dry weather like in Saudi Arabia, he mentioned trees including poinciana, racosperma and oleander. According to Sharbaji, these species are especially suitable for the weather in Riyadh.
He highlighted the importance of planting trees in healthy soil.
“Firstly, the soil must be healthy and suitable for the type of plant you want to grow. For example, there are kinds of soil for indoor plants and others for outdoor plants,” Sharbaji said.
“Lighting is also important, as each plant differs in terms of its need for lighting.”
Another method gardeners can use to prevent soil depletion is controlling the rotation of plants. Rotating plants grown in different areas of a garden helps reduce diseases and pests, and prevents nutrient deficiencies.
In addition to changing the position of the plant, covering it with a layer of organic mulch like wood chips or leaves helps maintain soil health. This technique captures moisture as well as moderates the temperature of the soil, which in turn improves the structure of the soil. Over time, it enriches the soil with beneficial organisms.
Chemical pesticides are another tool to avoid or reduce, as they can harm beneficial insects, damage organisms in the soil and disrupt the garden’s ecosystem. Natural pest control methods like introducing insects such as ladybugs and lacewings are a useful alternative.
Water in Saudi Arabia is a precious resource for growing any plant, and using it efficiently is vital. An optimal way to regulate watering plants is to install drip irrigation systems to control the amount of water that is used and deliver it directly to the roots.
People should be mindful of the hot climate in the Kingdom, which may speed up the evaporation of water. Therefore, watering the garden late in the afternoon or evening hours reduces water loss because of low temperatures.
“Water is the biggest enemy for indoor plant soil. The soil that is prepared for indoor plants doesn’t need too much water because it can create toxic fungi,” said Sharbaji.
He recommends watering indoor plants according to room temperatures. Generally speaking, a person can water an indoor plant every 15 to 20 days, he added.
Excessive use of synthetic fertilizers can lead to nutrient imbalance and environmental pollution. It is best to test soil regularly to detect any signs of nutrient deficiencies such as decolorization of leaves or irregular shapes.
Synthetic fertilizers can be useful but only when necessary, and they must be used wisely. This ensures the plant receives the nutrients it needs while minimizing the risk of biomagnification — the increase in concentration of a substance in the tissues of organisms at successively higher levels in a food chain.
By practicing sustainable gardening practices, people can grow and protect their gardens while maintaining soil health. Healthy soil preparation, mulching and natural pest control methods are some examples of healthy gardening, keeping in mind that a thriving garden starts with the soil.


Saudi Arabia arrests 20,667 illegals in one week

Saudi police have arrested hundreds of illegals breaching country’s law. (SPA)
Saudi police have arrested hundreds of illegals breaching country’s law. (SPA)
Updated 13 April 2024
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Saudi Arabia arrests 20,667 illegals in one week

Saudi police have arrested hundreds of illegals breaching country’s law. (SPA)
  • The report showed that among the 959 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 53 percent were Ethiopian, 44 percent Yemeni, and 3 percent were of other nationalities

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 20,667 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

According to an official report, a total of 14,805 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 3,860 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 2,002 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 959 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 53 percent were Ethiopian, 44 percent Yemeni, and 3 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 58 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and nine were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), as well as confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.