We speak to MKS Jewellery founder, HRH Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan, about her latest heritage-inspired collection and the brand’s charity initiative dedicated to a regional refugee camp.
How were you inspired to create the Keepsakes collection?
Sentiment and storytelling are always at the core of everything that I design and create, they are my inspiration. I wanted to design something meaningful, personal and sentimental with a unique message. Hearing the stories of my great grandfathers, Baba Zayed and Al Otaiba ‘the King of Pearls’, I was inspired by their values, visions, adventures, courage, stories and photos. I created this collection as a tribute to them; after all it’s their stories that I dream of and their values I live by.
What are the main elements of the collection?
Bringing to light the pearling culture, which is very much the heritage that Abu Dhabi was built on, my great grandfather’s stories and all that I imagined their courageous adventures lead them to. I was initially inspired by the rope – the line that connected the diver the to the boat and the rope that held the sails up – both of these lines are used as a form of trust and connection. I have carried that forward into the new Keepsakes collection and taken it further with the tied together artisan handmade knots.
Why did you decide to include charms in the collection?
I love the notion of adding to your story, and the fact that it is never ending. Charms are a way to personalize what you wear, and they can hold such unique meaning to the individual wearing it which really adds character – it’s technically a never finished piece… much like our story. The DNA of my brand is expression and charms are a beautiful form of expression in jewellery through symbols with meaning.
Tell us about the meaning of the Keepsake charms?
I have created charms that are relatable to this region, as it felt natural and only right to choose symbols that are true to my own story. A simple symbol can carry so much meaning, it all depends on how you you interpret it and your own experiences that can be attached to it. Symbols have been a part of my collections since the beginning, from the first ‘Little Hearts’ to the much-loved UAE map, and now so many more.
Which are your favourite pieces in the collection?
In terms of the charms, I love the letters, as I think they’re personal and timeless. The teapot is a favorite for my love of tea and gatherings with loved ones. The tent reminds me of the five-day cross desert hike I did that made me appreciate and love the desert even more. For lucky gems, I would pick my birthstone which is garnet to add a further personal touch. And of course, the UAE map, celebrating my pride for my beloved home.
Why did you partner with Emirates Red Crescent?
Their causes span across different modes and we know that they put their whole heart into whatever they choose to do. We visited the UAE-Jordon run Mrajeeb Al Fhood Refugee Camp in Jordan and were amazed by the hard work and dedication. The longevity and ethics of the charity is very important to us, and contributing to their causes makes us proud.
Tell us about the bracelets you created for the initiative?
We made 100 miniature versions of the charms in 18kt gold and travelled with Afra Atiq, a talented poet and incredible human being, to the camp. Women of all ages contributed to this project, from girls who were eight years old to women who were 70. All their incredible stories were inspired by a symbol they picked themselves and then later wrote about.
How did the initiative help the community?
This initiative resulted in us having 100 unique bracelets, each with a unique story, that we brought the back to the UAE and sold at Ataya where all proceeds were donated back to the camp. Additionally, the customers that purchased them wrote back to the women and children, and we believe that this connection is absolutely priceless. It was honestly a truly touching experience and it goes to show us that we all have the same dream and no matter who we are, we can all relate to each other and connect from afar.
Will you be supporting the battle against Covid-19?
Definitely, being part of the community is a natural inclination for the brand. We are currently working on something that we hope can add value to the community. What is most important is that we are all in this together. We are all connected, no matter where we are in the world – there are no barriers. We want to get behind this and not hide away, tied together, our stories will tell the next generations about how we overcame this, this is our message on the battle against Covid-19.
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