It is most certainly a rather challenging and exciting task to come up with innovative jewellery design in a city with such a powerful and unmistakable heritage in goldsmithing as Cairo. In fact, what we have until now mostly observed in the majority of brands based there, is that in terms of new design approaches, often there is not much more to be seen than direct citing of the splendors of the pharaonic past.
This is not to say of course that a tradition-oriented jewellery scene and the outstanding craftsmanship skills needed to sustain its reputation are something not to be proud of, quite on the contrary. Still though, we do admire those brands that while operating in such heritage-anchored markets, manage to find their own aesthetic and conceptual voice and keep at the same time core traditional narratives at work.
Cairo based brand Sabry Marouf, co-founded by partners Ahmed Sabry and Daki Marouf is one great example of those creative dynamics happening today outside Western countries when it comes to that distinguished way of combining present and past influences. The fact that one can find their design studio symbolically adjacent to the historic jewellery-making hearth of Khan Khalili and the often references to Egyptian mythology when naming the pieces would be already evidence of the intense ongoing dialogue with their roots, besides their obvious preference for 18k and 21k Gold-platings and intricate engravings.
Yet there is also a totally different set of suggestions here at play. Plenty of the jewellery pieces we’ve seen present a sharp geometric and architectural layout that is often engraved with circuit-like “crypto-glyphs” very much contributing to a rather edgy, esoteric and futuristic feel, as they point out to a distant – in space and time – reality. Indeed, “the duality of ancient versus future worlds” is a central theme to both their latest collections, and the designers do define clearly their endeavour as having a “Neo-pharaonic identity“, strongly claiming therein a contemporary vision twist to the legacy of the pharaohs.
“From ancient egypt to the celtic warrior woman to our vision of the future. We’re coming up with a collection that presents to the jewellery industry a new kind of evolution“.
Shown below, a selection of pieces from the latest Armure and Ultima collections, including both a campaign image and a concept illustration for Armure kindly provided by the designers.