First launched in 2016, Azza Fahmy Jewellery's Wonders of Nature series has included creatures and plants, both great and small, from snakes and owls to palm fronds and beetles. This year, the 2023 Wonders of Nature takes a close look at flowers, and in particular, the exuberant varieties found in Southeast Asia.
Amina Ghali, Creative Director of the family-run firm, explains: “I went on a trip to Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia, and I was so impressed with the abundance of stunning vegetation and flowers. It is very different to what we have in Egypt, and I wanted to explore the idea of the imperfection yet perfection of exotic flowers. At the same time, we are moving away from the more classical look to mixing and matching, as, like Nature, nothing is a perfect pair.”
Like all Azza Fahmy jewels, there are many layers, nuances and influences, all carefully woven together to create unusual jewels, rippling with details. During one of Ghali’s many gemstone-sourcing journeys to India, she was shown a collection of jewels from Rajasthan that were unlike anything she had seen. The turn of the century jewels included bracelets and chokers with rich floral motifs. The antique jewels sparked a reaction in Ghali, who, back home in Cairo, began sketching the first jewels, finding creative ways to incorporate her carefully selected stones into floral designs.
Flowers have always existed in Azza Fahmy’s world, starting with early designs that included Victorian and French-style garland rings and necklaces. “Each year, we take flowers to a different level,” explains Ghali, “as always, we paid great attention to every detail as I wanted to ensure that each jewel was lovely from every angle.”
Ghali guided the artisans at the firm’s Cairo workshop to strive to make each detail realistic while maintaining the complex multi-layer architecture of the jewel. Comfort was an essential consideration, as Ghali insists on each jewel being light and easy to wear.
Seven jewels make up the Wonders of Nature collection. Each is different but unified by colour, particularly deep purple and warm pink tones, and the intriguing marriage of Indian and Egyptian cultures. The house prides itself on the meticulous quality of each jewel, each hand made using a mix of cutting-edge modelling and casting together with traditional techniques.
One of the most impressive pieces is the Fallahy Floral choker (above). Fallahy refers to the Egyptian peasant style of jewellery, a perennial theme in Azza Fahmy’s work. The amethyst cabochons were the starting point for the design of the choker, around which Ghali created an opulent and eclectic composition of flowers and gemstones. Pearls, another favourite gem of the house, make the necklace comfortable and add their warm lustre to the complex silver and gold structure that includes typical fallahy hearts and Indian leaves. The influence of the fallahy style is also evident in the cascade of gold and silver triangles with dangling floral motifs. The word ‘love’ is carved in gold and nestled into the composition.
Ghali is keen on chokers as they can be worn day and night and give a regal air to the wearer. The Beaded Floral Choker (above) slips easily onto the neck and would look at home with a crisp white shirt or a sumptuous evening dress. The five-tier choker comes in 4 different stone variations: lapis lazuli, Mozambique garnets, citrine, or black garnets. Inspired by Indian gardens, a medallion of intertwined floral motifs and the word ‘love’ in Arabic script, sits at the centre of the choker. The two spacers on either side echo the style of the central medallion.
The collection includes three rings (above). The Stone Floral ring with a trio of amethyst and pink tourmalines is reminiscent of a tiara. The cluster of stones sits above a band of gold flowers and leaves and can be worn on its own or in a stack. Like the lush gardens of India, the Blessings Floral Ring is an alluring and exotic composition of flowers with pearl and sapphire details. The word ‘love’ is carved into a gold button, adding further symbolism to this ring.
The Floral Bloom ring has a long history at Azza Fahmy. Ghali explains: “My mother, Azza Fahmy, made a series of one-off rings, each built around a gemstone, with flowers on one side and diamonds on the other. They were very high-end but popular, so I decided to do a gold and silver version with pink amethyst, diamonds, and pearls.” A close look reveals a charming detail: a diamond sits at the centre of each flower and minute pearls frame one side.
The influence of the fallahy style shines through in the Floral Crescent Earrings (above) with round-cut amethysts above a crescent of gold flowers. Flat-cut triangular pink tourmalines and gold triangles dangle from chains and add movement and colour to these earrings with a romantic feel. The Mismatched Floral earrings feature dark pink tourmalines with an unexpectedly deep red colour. Like all the jewels in this collection, details are everywhere. One of the earrings is a stud, while the other is in the style of an ear climber. Azza Fahmy’s characteristic gold and silver mix and twisted wire work add texture to these charming earrings.
Azza Fahmy Jewellery continues the house tradition of creating jewels with a strong identity rooted in the firm's Egyptian culture fused with a multi-cultural outlook and global appeal.