‘Never stop learning.’
Founder of homegrown brand MKS Jewellery, HRH Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan knows what it takes to run a successful business and encourages the next generation to do their homework and stay true to their designs.
Her pieces perfectly balance contemporary craftsmanship with elements of heritage and spirit of the UAE, and below she talks us through her inspiration, first jewellery memory and her plans for the future.
What do you love about creating jewellery?
While most people think of jewellery as adornment, to me jewellery is much more than that. I love creating pieces that tell a story and that can act as symbols of self-expression and imagination. Each piece is designed with a message, it carries sentiment and marks important moments in my life which every woman can relate to.
What is the core identity of the brand?
At the core of MKS Jewellery is storytelling, sentiment, humanity and craftsmanship. Each piece is handmade and we do our absolute best to source everything from the community around us, that’s how the pieces really come to life; they have a spirit of their own that tells a story, made all the better when stacked and styled all together.
How does your background inspire your pieces?
My love for my home and my heritage and the stories I grew up with are at the root of all my creations. Being from Abu Dhabi I love nature, and in nature I find lots of inspiration.
Amongst family and guests, I grew up listening to stories of different personalities, characters, adventures and of greatness, simplicity, humility and love. These stories are the foundation of my inspiration. A lot of pieces in the collections are inspired by my travels and from stories I encounter from the people I meet. New cultures, new people and new places are also important aspects where inspiration seems to find new shape.
What is your first jewellery memory?
Since a very young age, I remember my mum would choose which jewellery to wear when we went to visit our grandparents or went to a party. She would open her jewellery box, filled with pieces of jewellery she was either gifted or that she collected herself, and she would tell us about a special aunt or a special friend that a certain piece reminded her of as well as stories of where she was or what she was doing when she bought them. I remember all the sentiment and I always picked which pieces to borrow based on their stories – I loved it.
How has the industry evolved since you started and how do you see it develop?
The global contemporary jewellery market has massively grown, and with it I’m so pleased to see the consumer has evolved too. I’m happy to see lots of emerging Emirati jewellery designers. I only look forward to the future and hope to see an even more open market place with jewellery as we see with fashion and accessories. I really feel like the best is yet to come and that’s really exciting.
When you’re not creating, what are your favourite hobbies?
I try to spend as much of my free time with my family and friends. Chatting over karak tea and conversation come hand in hand. Unfolding conversations, shared stories… to me having my friends over and the simple task of making and drinking tea is a cherished art and ceremony.
What advice would you give to aspiring jewellery designers?
Never stop learning! Learn as much as possible about what you are interested in as well as all aspects of the jewellery business. Be true to who you are and trust your designs.
What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possessions are pieces of jewellery given to me by family members. They hold so much of their own stories and with that comes infinite meaning and memories.
What is next for MKS Jewellery?
We are working really hard on partnerships, initiatives and taking the brand to a global platform. In combination with that I want to nurture the creativity of the process and celebrate it. There are a number of exciting projects we are working on, so keep an eye out on our Instagram page, @mksjewellery to be in the loop!