Flying Cloud: a light breeze, a fleeting cloud whose shadow moves across the surface of the water…

No other image could more accurately represent the fierce quest for freedom that propelled Gabrielle Chanel all throughout her life. She lived to free the body from all hindrances: to separate true desire from false pretense, relationships from the weight of convention, life from the ordinary, and to exist as if suspended where air and water meet, between sky and sea…


Gabrielle Chanel was a person characterized by contrast: the granitic harshness of landscapes from her childhood, the stringent purity of the abbey at Aubazine, and the ruggedness of Scottish moors created sharp opposition with places one easily refers to as “resort destinations”. These places located on land’s edges that step out into the sea each seem to be linked to an encounter, a singular figure: Deauville and the Basque Coast to Boy Capel, Venice to Diaghilev and the Serts, the Riviera to the Duke of Westminster, Cocteau and Picasso… Each place adds a unique color and tone to these various moments, the successive phases of her existence. It is as if her life had to be transformed from an element in its purest state to its polar opposite: the extreme hardness of stony landscape to the soft and supple embrace of fluid water pierced by sunlight.

Flying Cloud: this is also, of course, the name of the yacht which belonged to Hugh Grosvenor, familiarly known as “Bendor”, the second Duke of Westminster, one of the men who undoubtedly counted the most in the designer’s life…


Flying Cloud: a four-masted yacht with a black hull and a white wooden deck which was not just a place for vacationing and, sometimes stormy, love affairs, but was also, and most importantly, the emblem of a lifestyle in which the most extravagant luxury – no less than forty crewmen were necessary to man the boat – was merely a prerequisite for the most extreme simplicity, of lunches enjoyed under the sun, charades and conversations among friends. “Luxury”, as Gabrielle Chanel used to say, “is a necessity that starts where necessity stops”.


There is no better example of this aesthetic than this environment where everything is reduced to the essential, in which perfection in every form emerges from a tried-and-tested method. The perfect roundness of a buoy, the sharp outline of a pure white sail, and the subtle entanglement of knots in a rope whose soft yet strong design includes motifs such as the arabesque and interlacs. There is no better model of her vision of fashion than nautical striped jersey tops, flowing wide- cut trousers, loose-fitting black neckties, emblematic berets and the mandatory white watchbands worn by English sailors, which beautifully complement tanned skin. They provided a masculine counterpoint to the radiance of pearls, one of her favorite accessories, which she adored when contrasted with skin bronzed by summer sun – the sun- tanned skin which she was one of the first to flaunt in the 1920s. “A stark white earring against a deeply tanned earlobe brings me great delight”, she used to say to Paul Morand.


Even the specific color scheme of marine life seemed to be predestined for her: a limited, subdued range that is simultaneously severe and sensual, in which black, blue, maritime white and the warm, dull sheen of polished copper brilliantly emerge against the dark, fresh background of the sea.

In this part of the Mediterranean coast, which runs from the red rocks of Estérel to the terraced lemon trees in Menton, and where the sea laps the foothills of the mountains, the air never stops moving, caught in a perpetual ebb and flow motion, which cleanses the sky of all impurities and is described by “that magnificent plenitude of light”, of which Nietzsche spoke, that «atmospheric dryness» in which he saw a “remedy for the tumult of the soul”. “Of the soul”, that is first to say, of the body, a vivacious, dry, restless body refined by exposure to the elements, by salt-water air, the sun’s bronzing effect, and the soft caress of sea foam; this light body that Gabrielle Chanel dreamed of and cultivated.

As an homage to these solar, radiant moments in the life of Mademoiselle, and in sync with the cruise season, CHANEL Fine Jewelry presents the Flying Cloud Fine Jewelry collection in two chapters.

The first chapter reinvents and showcases the most simple and necessary elements to life at sea: buoys sculpted in white gold, lapis-lazuli and cultured pearls in the Precious Float line; ropes crafted from gold and diamonds for the Sparkling Lines collection; white gold anchors, pearls and sapphires for the Yachting Day line; sails, compasses and tattoos, in white or yellow gold set with sapphires and diamonds for Sailor Tattoo… Also seen are the endless shades of broad ocean expanses, from the transparency of the Turquoise Waters line in white gold, sapphires and diamonds, to the deep, dark blue of the high seas seen in the Deep Blue set made from sapphires, white gold and diamonds


The second chapter presents a series of variations on the summer wardrobe, exploring freedom of movement and clothing that seems to float around the body: the Summer Cruise line features alternating bands of deep blue sapphires, white gold, cultured pearls or yellow and white diamonds; Golden Braid depicts the braids seen on marine uniforms; the Sailor Suit set showcases large yellow or white gold buttons like those seen on sailors’ jackets. These are paired with a gold bracelet and ring in the shape of knotted rope and set with diamonds from the Sunny Rope line, along with the airy sautoirs, bib necklaces and bracelets in white gold, sapphires and diamonds from the Sapphire Stripes series.

The highlights of this collection dedicated to the sun’s golden light and the freshness of the Mediterranean breeze are two unique pieces crafted by master goldsmiths: a bib necklace featuring a woven design in white gold, sapphires and cultured pearls from the Azurean Braid line, and a supple rope motif necklace in white gold and diamonds from the Endless Knot line.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank 51east for making my daily tours possible and sharing these amazing stories with me.


Be sure to read the next post : CHANEL HORLOGERIE – SINCE 1987, CHANEL GIVES ALLURE TO TIME









What’s behind our fascination with jewellery, precious metals and gemstones?

From the age of goldsmiths to the days of corporate jewellery brands, our fascination and loyalty to makers of jewellery have only soared in time, suffice to say that these jewellery brands enjoy international fame and success by virtue of their innovation, consistent standards and key features.



I was invited to attend the opening of DJWE2018, as usual I observe, record and click away, however, this year there was something different about it…

Chanel opened it’s doors in Doha…

My instinctive attraction to pearls and everything Chanel drove me to visit DJWE every single day…


The more I immersed into the stories of each collection the more I wanted to see the collection, appreciate each piece…

Brands like Chanel have built their identity in the jewellery domain with a legacy that’s worth exploring,  so I decided to dedicated my next few posts to sharing not just the stories of the various Chanel connections abut of a few others…  look out for my next story on Chanel- Flying Cloud 

First let me share with you an article that was written by Marissa Miller, CNN on “what’s behind our obsession with gems” to better understand the series of stories that I will be sharing in the coming days.

“Humankind’s fascination with precious stones long predates the establishment of gemology. The Romans believed that diamonds were splinters of falling stars, while the ancient Greeks considered them to be the tears of the gods.


Pearls were also highly prized in ancient societies. Regarded as a currency for affection and love, the silky round bulbs were often offered to women on their wedding days to promote fertility.

White pearls necklace on black

Today, the value of a gem is more likely to be dictated by auction records than superstition. But while you can put a price on a precious stone, its value is determined by more than just supply and demand.



Instinctive attraction

There may be evolutionary reasons why we gravitate towards shiny objects. Research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggests that gems evoke the glossy surface of a body of water. Our pursuit of them may be rooted in a simple urge to survive.

The mental associations we make with colors may also explain the value assigned to certain gems. According to author and gemologist Antoinette Matlins, blue gems traditionally represent the heavens and the seas, red symbolizes heart and passion, while green signifies rebirth and loyalty — reliable like the grass that regrows every spring.

Gem superstitions can also be gendered. Matlins says that yellow denotes secrecy on a man but generosity on a woman. White or transparent stones typically signify friendship, integrity and religious commitment for men, or purity, affability and thoughtfulness for women.

Pearls have often been used to project power, according to Inezita Gay-Eckel, a jewelry historian and professor at L’École, a Paris-based school founded by the jewelry brand Van Cleef & Arpels.

“Think of Elizabeth I of England who covered herself in pearls and makeup as a shield,” Gay-Eckel said. “(She was) always walking the tightrope of not appearing unnatural and staying a woman — so that people wouldn’t think she was a monster — (while) also keeping power.

“Look at any powerful woman. From Oprah to Nancy Pelosi to Jacqueline Kennedy, when they want to project the right image, pearls are going to come out.”

Each gem has a story

Today, there are scientific ways of assessing the value of a precious stone. In addition to its rarity, a gem’s market value is often determined by its clarity, cut, color and carat — colloquially known as the “four Cs.”

But ultimately, a jewel is worth whatever bidders are willing to pay for it. Just like in the art world, contemporary culture and trends also play their part.


Defining value

Of course, value isn’t always monetary. At L’École jewelry school, which begins a series of classes in Hong Kong this month, students are taught to address a gem’s worth through a broad range of factors, according to Gay-Eckel.

“If people want to know what makes jewelry valuable, we give them knowledge about everything that’s around it,” she said. “What goes into making it, how to enjoy the stones and how to obtain the knowledge with a sense of discovery and satisfaction. Do you love it? Is it something your mother gave you?”

For scientists, gemstones’ value is drawn from the precious insights they can offer into plate tectonics — and the mountains, oceans and environments of the past.


“The gem deposits of eastern Africa trace the outline of ancient mountains that once connected Sri Lanka and Madagascar over 500 million years ago,” said Pay. “And the oldest emeralds formed just under three billion years ago, which rivals the age of some diamonds.”

Perhaps jewels’ true worth lies in these timeless qualities. Having survived for millennia, gemstones have long been considered reliable investments, as they continue to hold their value through the generations.

“Of all of the ways to adorn yourself, what has nature created that has lasting beauty like a rock?” Matlins said. “As soon as you cut a flower, it wilts. A sunset is beautiful but you can’t capture or wear it. There is something so special and everlasting about nature’s creation of minerals and rocks.”

For Marissa Miller’s full article click :

To be Continued…… 




“How to Be an Ironman” Qatari author, Nasser Al-Mohannadi, at FNAC Store

April 2016 – Dr. Nasser Saqer Al-Mohannadi became one of the first Qataris ever to complete a full Ironman race. He swam 3.8km, biked 180km and ran 42.2km  in port Elizabeth – South Africa,  one of the most difficult Ironman courses in the world. It was the fulfillment of a childhood dream and the climax of 28 years of preparation and training.


March 3rd, 2018 marked another milestone for Al-Mohannadi: his book detailing his life’s experiences titled, How to Be an Ironman, published by Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press), launched to a packed audience at FNAC store at Doha Festival City’s branch.

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Al-Mohannadi, who is also the adjunct professor at Texas A&M, Senior Advisor at Qatar Petroleum, board member of Qatar Science and Technology Park and Qatar Cycling and Triathlon Federation, in addition to being a renowned athlete, was inspired to write this book for many reasons.

“I wrote this book to share my experiences, my trials and tribulations,” explains Al-Mohannadi, “and to build awareness and share my knowledge on how to acquire the mental skills needed to overcome any physical or mental obstacle which ultimately supports human development.”

In How to Be an Ironman, Al-Mohannadi describes how he overcame childhood fears, cultural misunderstanding and physical injuries to reach his goal. Through careful planning, persistence and learning through mistakes, he achieved what seemed impossible.

“This book is about the journey of every individual. We all face our Ironman race, either because we want to achieve a dream or because we are confronted with difficult circumstances in our lives” – Al Mohannadi



Not only is this book a milestone for Al-Mohannadi, but it marks another important achievement the first of many collaborations to come between HBKU Press and FNAC in an effort to engage the local population to participate in literary events as well as highlight local talents in Qatar.

Mr. Bader Abdullah Al-Darwish, Chairman and Managing Director of Darwish Holding, commented: “Supporting local talents and investing time, effort and resources in nurturing them is an ethos instilled in FNAC’s DNA. Such talents will define the future and will build upon our ancestors’ heritage and steer our country forward.

Get your copy at your nearest fnac







“We eat watermelon, upcycle, recycle and relove” – Alleine Nadal Khalifa

A freelance Art Director at the Film House, a former Al Jazeera English Media Manager, wife and mother to two gorgeous little girls.

All the way from Cavite- Phillipines.  Alleine  has a BA in Mass Communications and a string of other qualifications in Fine Arts and Art Directing in Film , she moved to Qatar in 2006 to join Al Jazeera English where she remained for almost 10 years.

US: Do you come from an artistic family?

AK: Indeed I do, both my parents are equally artistic and my sibling is also in the news/film industry here in Qatar.

US: How has art impacted your life?

AK: Art has manifested in my life from as early as I can recall –  my parents have  contributed a big part of who and what I am today.


US: Who is your inspiration?

AK: My husband, a film director/producer Omar Khalifa is the greatest part of my inspiration. He’s my number one supporter.


Their passion for the arts has led them to start their company Watermelon Ink.

US: Tell us a little bit about Watermelon Ink.

Why Watermelon?

AK: We love everything watermelon. And in the spirit of such a flexible fruit, we want to bring you just as many diverse, fun and appealing products, so, we eat watermelon, upcycle, recycle and relove.

Our eclectic brains are sprinkled with a passion for the arts. We paint and make films in our day jobs, which keeps us keen to be colourful and curious with our endeavours.


We love to make things, repurposing by using salvaged chairs to side-road pallet wood, or empty baby milk cans to second-hand trinkets from the souq. The result is a varied range of carefully crafted products that will hopefully put a big watermelon smile on your face.

From our craft shop, you can find DIY projects to make your own spaces more creative, vibrant and memorable for the whole family.

One of our main objectives is to help and  collaborate, in particular, with other expats in Qatar from all walks of life. So know that the riyals you spend with Watermelon Ink go to the people who need it most.


We welcome any collaboration opportunities here in Qatar and abroad.

For those of you who don’t know Alleine, she offers the following workshops:


For more information on Watermelon Ink.

logo watermelon in



IG: alleinenadalkhalifa

IG: watermelonink_qatar

FB: Watermelon ink.




Paper Quilling with Anum Kamran

A mother of two beautiful little girls, turns paper quilling art into something to behold.

Anum Kamran hails from Karachi-Pakistan, holds a Masters degree in Microbiology, began her married life in Doha just a little over 5 years.

Her choice to be a stay at home mum has allowed her to pursue and develop her creativity.

June 2016, marked the beginning of something new for her, a hobby that turned into absolute passion, Paper Quilling Art, also known as paper filigree, it employs the technique of rolling, coiling, crimping, and fringing paper strips using a quilling tool, it is then glued together, creating masterpieces that make for great conversational pieces regardless of where you chose to place them

An extraordinary paper craft beneficial, to our mind, body and heart, engaging both sides of the brain, enhancing motor and cognitive skills, although time consuming, it a great stress/anxiety reliever, not to mention that it heightens your ability to focus and teaches you patience.


With simple materials such as Paper Quilling strips, Slotted tool, pointed needle, pointed tweezer, white craft glue, mini mold, border buddy, scissor, Stencils scale, crimper, quilling coach and comb, Anum creates one masterpiece at a time.

Anum’s favourite creation:


Below Anum illustrates the various steps on placing the elements of an beginners design:


Be sure to view some of her art on:


IG: @anum.kamren





Excellence, Imagination and refinement with Peter Langner at Per lei Couture

I had the pleasure of meeting The Peter Langner, at Per Lei Couture Doha, a multi brand boutique based in the Pearl Qatar.


“our customer is not specifically running after fashion trends – i need to feel good, i need to feel right”

Peter Langner, the designer who, at the young age of twenty-four, left his home in Hanover (Germany) to attend school in Paris at the world renowned Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale to follow his passion to become a great couturier.


Completing his studies with distinction, he went directly to work and learn from the masters at the famous design houses of Christian Dior, Emanuel Ungaro, Guy Laroche and Christian Lacroix.


1991 saw the opening of his own workroom in Rome.  2015 saw his move to Milan. Soon after he moved his Headquarters as well, giving his label the TRUE MEANING OF “MADE IN ITALY”

Langner assembled an amazing staff of artisan. With their rare capabilities and their master craftmanship, they turn Langner’s designs into reality. Every dress designed, sewn and beaded in the workroom in Milan uses the most exceptional fabrics from Italy and France as well as the finest crystals.

Each fabric cutter, seamstress and embroider are asked daily to test their limits, to move forward into a new dimension. The team continuously attempts new forms of fabric manipulation or even creating their own sequins; a continuous search for something new, to go beyond the conventional. In doing so, Peter Langner’s artisans never relinquish the goal of perfection or abandon their commitment to the highest quality.

Accustomed to Langner’s ability to transform fabrics into unique works of art, his clientele wears each piece as an extension and expression of who they truly are.

His client base hails from Japan, Korea, America, Italy, England and the Middle East.  His clientele, is one who is knowledgeable about style, a discerning shopper, recognizes quality, confident in her own skin, knows exactly what she wants and understands her body.  In his words, “my clients do not necessarily follow fashion trends but wants to feel beautiful in what she wears.


Per Lei Couture is an exclusive boutique that showcases a selection of well-known international and regional brands.




For more information on per lei Couture ”





Expressing your individuality with Noora Al Ansari

Papillon Jewelry is a Qatari Concept born from the passion of Noora Al Ansari, a woman who believes in the beauty that comes from the simplicity of natural elements like precious stones.

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Noora’s philosophy is to offer her clients jewelry that best expresses one’s personality.

US: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a jewelry designer?

NA: It was back in 2009, when I was studying for my MBA. It somehow triggered in me that I want to do a kind of  business related to fashion, luxury or something but it should be unique and different from others who are into abayas, jalabia etc.  It was then that I thought of being involved in the jewellery business using my creativity to designing jewellery pieces that reflects the culture and taste of Qatari women.

US: Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?

NA: One of my biggest mentors was Mr. Ravi Rakyan.  Mr. Ravi has been in the jewelry business for more than 30 years which he inherited from his great grandfather.  It’s a family business that they started back in the 19th century. When I first met him at one of the jewelry exhibitions, he provided me inspiration of the jewelry business from the way that he was dealing with the customer, the quality of his products and how different he was from his competitors.  He listened to them carefully and calmly.  He was patient, sincere and honest in his approach, telling them clearly whether he can or cannot make what they are requesting for. So, Mr. Ravi taught me about how precious a piece of jewelry is, how to appreciate the work and, at the same time, how to gain trust from the customer by treating them with respect. And, if they like your creation, be happy and if they don’t like it, it is still ok; it doesn’t mean it is the end of the world.

The second biggest mentor, of course, is my husband. He taught me the technical aspects of business, about budget planning, accounting and also looking at things from a different perspective because in jewelry, you have the beautiful (emotional) side and the business side. Sometimes, I may feel that we need to do this, we need to buy this or we need to buy this piece but he, sometimes, try to control me. He knows that I am excited to buy but he explained to me to stop and to ask myself questions – why do I want to buy it? Why I think it is beautiful and what will make a customer be attracted to this piece?  How is it related to our concept as a Papillon?  Which customer would buy it? So, they are 2 biggest mentors for me.


US: What was the most valuable thing you learned from your MBA course?

NA: If I compare my MBA course against my work experience, I learned that customer service and creating trust between myself and the customer are very important.  When the customer trust my way of working, the product that I offer and the service I am providing, then it will help develop a good relationship.  But, it takes time and one needs to be patient to establish and develop relationships. Because people are different, some are very easy to convince while others are not.  If you convince someone then ok, if you don’t convince people, it’s fine.  Because at the end, it’s all a matter of the taste.  This is the most valuable thing that I learned from MBA.  My research for my MBA program was about the relationship between customer service and customer expectations and how they are related to each other. It gave me an insight on how to deal people and to manage their expectations.  And, it’s very important that if you cannot do it, just say I cannot do it.  It is also very important not to make promises; if you know you cannot make it, just be honest and say I cannot make it.  And, if you can produce it in a certain time, then say I can deliver it in 3 weeks, even if the customer doesn’t like to hear 3 weeks or 1 month.  But it’s the reality, they can either accept it or not.  Because we use outside suppliers and our work depends on their work and delivery, we can try and improve our delivery.  If they need time to deliver product or something we can sit down and discuss and try to make it work, whenever possible.

What I also learned from my MBA is that if we want to do business, first of all, it’s very important to study the market, to study the people and who are the targeted customers.  You need to make a plan for your business – financial plan or marketing plan, all aspects in building the business and once you are sure about your plans and the place where it is visible and practical, then look into how to go about doing it.

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US: What is your favourite part about being a jewellery designer?

NA: When the idea comes to you, it’s a very nice feeling…like oh I can do this and then you take a piece paper and you start to draw something, you start to call people that you know, I want to do this. Is it possible that we create something like this piece?  This part of this idea is very interesting and the excitement that comes when you know that it’s a special piece and then followed by the hard work of communicating with the supplier and the final drawings. At the same time, you will start thinking of the marketing of the piece. To produce the piece, you need to sit down, brain storm and it’s not the end. It’s nice to involve yourself with people…those who are close to me or with customers I have.  And, when the final product becomes a reality, when you touch it, when you see it, when you tried on and then it establishes a connection that you made it from scratch and it’s like “done”.

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US: How do you decide what elements to include in you designs?

NA: I would usually brainstorm with my sister even before I start producing my pieces sharing my designs with her and then getting her opinion in terms of color, size, materials to be used – white, yellow or rose gold, kinds of stones.  I do brain storming because you think up the idea, you have the taste but, sometimes when you are involving yourself in the work heavily, you forget many elements. So, brainstorming with people, keeps on reminding you of these elements that you may have forgotten in the excitement of designing a unique creation. And, filling the missing parts and accepting the ideas, creating a design and sharing with people close to me or the customer that you trust. There are certain people with certain pieces for certain things, so i would speak about serving customer that I know that may be trusted in this piece or want this kind of idea and design or they can help more because they also go and meet with other people and they may speak about jewellery. They keep hearing ideas from others that they can share with you.

US: What was the first commission you landed?

NA: Seriously speaking, with some suppliers that I know from previous exhibition I attended. And then started with the small collections.  After I graduated, I started to speak with Mr. Ravi more seriously. After my MBA, I thought I needed to change my career.  So we started with the royal collection, followed by elegant everyday collection, then we came up with papillon signature collection and then papillon collection.

I found that people in Doha also wants to see branded jewellery.  So, I started studying each brand, why I should have this brand and this brand and then, Alhamdulillah, I succeeded in speaking to them, because they saw the passion that I have. And this was what Adolfo Courrier, Ferrari Firenze and even Cosia saw in me. They all agreed and started telling me that when they saw me  and said even you are new in this business but we can see passion is driving you to be successful and they asked us, the same question, why we should go with you instead of an established company? My answer was, we are new and are taking care of our jewelry and we will be also able to take care of your jewelry. As we are promoting our collection, we will also promoting you. For example Adolfo Courrier, we are growing together. Cosia pearl is established long time ago, and also Mr.Ravi. So the growing opportunity for all of us is there. We are learning from each other.  That’s why they are excited that we will be their Ambassador of their line in Doha.

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US: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?

 NA: I don’t regret what I started. I wish that I have started earlier and I would not committed to other things. I had more focus on it. But I have learned from my career when I graduated with my degree that I was lucky to be in the place and I learned how to deal with the people. It’s not easy because you are speaking with people with different mind-set, with different characters and different attitude. It was kind of studying psychology in practice rather than in theory. So it taught me how to deal with people, how to gain their trust and learn how to provide the best customer service from them.

US: What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?

NA: My biggest fear is people’s acceptance and establishing a Qatari brand.  It is a very sensitive thing. It is not abaya or other normal items. It’s made of gold and precious stone. So how you will bring your vision, your dream, your line to be accepted by people because here we still have people who believe in brands, like Italian brands, high end brands because they feel comfortable to buy from them and they relate brands to their look and to their style. Like, if I am stylish, if I am beautiful then I should buy something branded. For us to come and introduce our brand or our line and convince people that this is a brand and it is no less beautiful that the high end brand or whatever brands they like. This was one of my biggest fear. I know how much I need to spent to explain to them to be convinced that this is also beautiful jewellery and this is unique. If you wear people will come and ask where did you get this from if not necessary I am feeling to wear something that has the brand  name so people from far will recognize that she’s wearing this brand its more enjoyable if they like it and they  come to you and ask where did you buy from. There you can feel that you are unique because you choose a piece that is beautiful and I am not saying 10 people but even 1, 2 or 3 people will ask you where did you buy this from it gives you different feelings like happiness and the same time when she call me and say well this piece, I did marketing for you. This is the difficult part of bringing this to the people and convince them or like encourage them that this is also high brand they shouldn’t hesitate because when they may think that what she studied about diamond. How that she know that the supplier or the people that she is working with to do with this pieces are really trustworthy, because we are telling people this quality if VVS or VS. So they will say where you learned about diamonds you will know this is really…. But when you go to the brand they already trust the brand they used this kind of standard quality shouldn’t even will ask.


US: What advice would you give to young people who look to you and want to enter a career in jewelry design?

NA: I would encourage them. If you believe in yourself, if you believe in your talent and you believe that you can bring something different, then just go ahead and don’t be scared from other competitors. Learn from them and do something different. This is the important thing how you make something different. Don’t do something that the same as them.  Yes, I know the kind of pieces that is in fashion, it’s ok that you make fashion piece but with your own touch. This is how you can say it’s different or you can say then after a time you will be like encourage or going into upper level where you can feel that I can introduce something totally different on what is the fashion now.  And people will like it, that you create fashion. And I want to be able to do this. This is my goal – to make a piece that is ahead of the trend and everyone will come and say new trend. This what i want to achieve really. This piece is known by Papillon. I really want this in the future.

US: How important is DJWE for you?

NA: It’s important because it’s an opportunity for me and for other jewellers to go to many place and present our jewellery and our passion.  But, at the same time not all people will know us because we are spending a lot of time and effort on instagram, snapchat although it has been here from past 2 and half years. Some people come and say this is the first time for them to see us here. So it’s more important is that it is an opportunity for us to be there, to be visible, and, of course, to see VIPs, Emir Sheikh Tamim, Sheikh Hamad,  Sheikha Moza, to come and see the talent and the passion of the Qatari. And how education is important because the country spent a lot of money to give the best education to the best people. Alhamdulillah, I am very proud of being Qatari, I am very proud of what the State of Qatar is giving to us as opportunity to grow. So if there’s an opportunity to us to go and grow and plan for our future then why not. Like a small return to our country to show the appreciation of this.

US: What can we expect to see in the upcoming DJWE 2018?

NA: We will be featuring the following:

  • Papillon, Royal, Signature, Elegant Everyday Collections,
  • Firenze Italia Collection
  • Italian brands like Adolfo Courrier, Ferarri Firenze, Casato, Coscia, Novecentonoventanove, Reho.

We will also be bringing exclusively made gold collection from Pakistan and Oman.

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US: What are your plans for the future?

NA: To expand another branch in one of the luxury world here in Doha and at the same time I also want to create a new collection. We already have a few collections but I am working on the collection that will be recognized by people. When they see any item, people knows it came from Papillon whether it is Signature collection or Papillion collection. I want to reach this level where they will know us in terms of design, quality and trust.

US: Would you look at collaboration with other designers?

 NA: I don’t mind working with other designers, especially Qataris. Why don’t we do some kind of collaboration? I don’t mind even if they want to build the kind of a community or society.  We are very few in Doha anyway.  If speaking about Qatari designer, we are very few. I don’t mind to collaborate. In the end, competition should be understood in a different way. It just because some people may understand that if you are with me in the same business you are my enemy. They don’t take it in a way that we can work together because if we are working together then we are, evolving or building ourselves together as well to creating one line because then my customer will know them and their customer know me and I think we will get more progress by doing so.  To do something for the first time where I work with another Qatari designer to come up with the collection or line we should be proud to have such thing and I think people will be amazed that we could do this because even the brands like Cartier collaborate with Van Cleef. They are different because they are now big names but we are in a society, community or a small country we can make something different why not, I don’t mind.

US: Your message for 2018?

 NA: I really wish that we get more support from locals and they believe in us. I mean they shouldn’t go behind only names but they should believe in us as Papillon, then we can make this piece for them as per their wish. This is what i want especially now with the blockade, they cannot go and buy jewelry from outside so I think we are now a source here to buy jewelry from and people need to change their perception about jewelry in Doha is very expensive. Because for us, we are bringing them the best quality with very reasonable price. If I am speaking about our quality in other jewelry places, it will be very expensive but for us no.

Papillon also has a great selection of gifts for every occasion and according to the season, the age of each woman, and the traditional celebrations that take place in Qatar. There is nothing left to chance in this beautiful store, even the signature packaging of the boutique is part of the amazing journey that starts in this garden of luxuriousness and diamonds.

For more information on Papillon Jewelry




The shoe that tells a story – with Hissa Haddad

Over a casual coffee, I had the opportunity to get to know fellow shoe-addict and designer, Hissa Haddad. Miss Haddad is known to put her best- and most fashionable foot forward- in the world of glitz and glamour. Hissa was recently selected by the British Fashion Council to participate in the London Fashion Week, after a successful run at Paris Fashion Week last October and showcasing in Doha this year in January.
An engineer in her own right, Haddad translates her unwavering passion for design and the determination to share her expression of her culture into her beautiful shoe collection.


In partnership with the Italian Chamber in Qatar, Hissa curated her first shoe collectin from all-things-Italian, from the materials used to working with a well-known Italian manufacturer. Hissa produced her debut collection using her favorite medium- satin. While the workmanship was of Italian origin, her shoes were made with Qatari-love, expressing her culture as a source of inspiration. Cuts of the shoes were inspired by Islamic architecture, bringing in some structural influence from her academic career. Pearls were a sign of her Qatari heritage, being a well-known item of trade in Qatari history. Gold and gems are used, symbolizing their importance in fashion and beauty in the Arab- and more specifically, Qatari- world. Haddad’s personal love for satin, adds her own unique touch to the collection, which was marketed under the umbrella of other well-known brands.

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Hissa explains, ” My love for design began at a very young age, inspired by my father’s engineering sketches and my mother’s ability to effortlessly customize clothing.” The ability to customize and improvise, all the while adding personal flavour and touch, is an art that should be nurtured and developed, so that it can be expressed and promoted.


When asked about how shoe design stepped out from her engineering career, she says, ”The perception and expectation of achieving a career do not include creativity, but just achieving something “clever”, hence my decision to pursue shoe designing and manufacturing after the completion of my Masters in Engineering.”

Hissa reveals that she loves shoe brands that tell a real story, such as Salvatore Ferragamo, who was considered a visionary.


Haddad also recognizes the vast amount of talent in Qatar and added, “I would love to be an inspiration to all those women and I would love to tell them they can do whatever they want… I have always wanted to launch a Qatari brand. We do have lots of women here who are extremely creative but perhaps, didn’t go all the way to take their brands to the international arena. My advice would be for them is to believe and do it”.


If you never try, you’ll never know.


For more information on HH collection:



Celebrating 15 years of delivering the finest luxury to Qatar

Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition 2018

  • Young Qatari Designers initiative returns to DJWE to celebrate local talent
  • Visitors invited to a new one-day DJWE Forum, daily industry talks, and bespoke jewellery & watches workshops
  • More than 400 brands from over 10 countries to showcase exclusive pieces

 Held under the Patronage of the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani,  the 15th  edition of the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE) will be held between 21 and 26 February at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center. 

This year’s exhibition will host a variety of new experiences for exhibitors and visitors, from the one-day DJWE Forum and daily industry talks, through to watches and jewellery workshops. This unique exhibition continues to maintain its position as a primary platform that features a collection of sophisticated and luxury brands presenting innovative solutions that are displayed through emerging and established brands in the jewellery and watches world. In addition, the exhibition offers market insights and options for industry networking and potential new partnerships. Returning to exhibit this year are Qatar’s premier jewellery patrons, who continue to support and present their unique world-class collections; Al Fardan Jewellery Company, Ali Bin Ali group ,Al Majed Jewellery, Amiri Gems WLL and Fifty One East.


A special pavilion for the young Qatari designers

As part of the exhibition’s commitment to nurturing young talent and creativity, this year’s exhibition returns with its Young Qatari Designers (YQDs) initiative. The YQDs initiative this year will shine a spotlight on three new and three returning talented Qatari designers, by providing them with a unique platform to showcase their new collections alongside renowned international brands. The designers include Nada Al Sulaiti (Hairaat); Nouf Al Meer (Nouf Jewellery) ; Ghada Al Buainain ; Leila Abu Issa (Leila Issam Fine Jewellery); Sheikha Mohamed- Al Ghla Jewellery; and  Jawaher & Hissa Mohammed Al Mannai (Ghand Jewellery).


DJWE 2017 (watchmaking).jpgUnique events during the exhibition

Iconic French Auction House Artcurial will also be returning to provide watch enthusiasts, visitors and collectors with free consultations, valuations and share knowledge about the industry. Also returning by popular demand is French watchmaking expert, Objectif Horlogerie, set to showcase the art of their craftsmanship, by allowing watch connoisseurs to participate in a master workshop, which will include an accredited diploma for each participant.

DJWE continues to grow its offering by introducing exclusive new experiences for both visitors and exhibitors. The exhibition’s unique workshops and bespoke events, being held at the sidelines of the exhibition are set to offer visitors, luxury consumers and connoisseurs, ample opportunity to enjoy, learn about and buy their favourite pieces.  The six-day event will feature more than 400 brands from over 10 countries bringing an extensive display of classic and contemporary luxury collections by internationally-recognised brands and designers. 


For more information:



“You gotta Nourish to Flourish!”

The North of Doha during the winter is usually well-known for setting up Winter camps, evening barbeques and hare-hunting. However, our last trip was about something a little greener. Not too far north from the capital city, we took a turn at the Um Al Amad Interchange to discover Eden Farm. This sanctuary was initially a piece of land to provide a home away from home, a quiet retreat from the fast-paced city, for Dr. Salem Al-Naemi and his family. It was from this foundation, that Eden Farm began to flourish.



Eden spans over 25 acres. From the moment we drove through its welcoming gates, we were overwhelmed with refreshing sights greenery almost everywhere! Nasser Al-Naemi, son of the Managing Director, Dr. Salem, is also an integral part of the family business and was kind enough to take time out of his day to show us around the family farm. The development of the idea of Eden was catalyzed by the need for the local market to provide for its people. At times, supplies of various produce would be difficult to find, or at least of good enough quality. Hence, father and son worked together to develop their farm in order to cater to the demands of the community. Two engineers soon added the art of farming to their résumés- with a twist. In order to maximize on production and to provide adequate supply to meet demands, parts of the farm are run with amazing technology.

As we strolled through the farm, we were amazed at the large variety of vegetables- Indian pumpkin, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, green beans, Sudani beans, chilis, cucumber, yellow, green and red capsicum, lettuce, spinach, eggplant, radish, cherry tomatoes, spring onion… it was like being on a game drive, but instead of sighting wildlife, we were spotting loads and loads of greens! Many of the veggies were kept in greenhouses, or could be farmed out in the open. Seeds for many of the produce were initially brought in from across the globe, including Japan, India and parts of Europe, chosen for their ability to survive best in Qatar’s climate.

Nasser and his team were kind enough to walk us through units where mushrooms were harvested- it is always amazing to see how farming has become such a science, in order to be as efficient as possible! Nasser explained that his mother went to the supermarket one day and was not able to find mushrooms. Realising that this was not only a problem for his family, but also for many other families, the idea of growing mushrooms took roots. As we walked through the units, we saw all the beds of compost and how they were compacted and kept. The mushrooms are all hand-picked in order to keep as much of the product for the customer, as mechanical slicing may lose part of the product. Soil beds can be used for up to 3 flushes (cycles), before replacing the soil bed completely. The first flush can be harvested after 18 days, followed by the second and third flushes, which are harvested in shorter time intervals, about 7 days apart. Relative humidity, carbon dioxide levels and temperature is controlled and the harvesting of mushrooms can be managed, accurate to the day of harvesting! White mushrooms, brown mushrooms and portobello mushrooms are products of Eden farm, going under its own label as “Oryx Mushrooms”. I was impressed by how clean and tidy the facility was, much like the rest of the farm.

Eden also harvests its own supply of honey. With nectar taken from surrounding Sidra trees, the bees can make their honey. The bees on the farm had been brought in from North Africa. It was great to see someone taking an interest in bee-keeping, as the world’s population of bees is being challenged intensely, and many are unaware of how dire this problem is already! There were also kinar, fruits of the tree, hanging, ready to be plucked and eat, just like that! Mashmoom could also be found, a tree with aromatic leaves and deep purple flowers. Traditionally, mashmoom leaves are used by women, young and old, clipped into their hair for the pleasant smell. These leaves can be put in cars, handbags, anywhere in the home even, to exude its great smell!

At some point, we stopped for the late afternoon prayer. Nasser was kind enough to guide us into his family majlis, where hot karak was waiting for us. Qatari hospitality is something that I still find rarely unsurpassed!


We then had a quick look at the livestock on the farm. Eden has a growing unit of Awassi sheep and Sudani goats, both hardy breeds of small stock, able to thrive in Qatar’s climatic conditions.

The tour came to a magnificent end as we watched the sun set, melting away into soft pinks and purples, over the lush pasture beneath it. It was incredibly refreshing to enjoy this time out of the city, taking in all the fresh air around us!


Developing a successful farming business is no easy feat. Coming from South Africa, we are exposed to farming to a degree, aware of the attention farmers have to give to all the finer details, from soil composition, climatic conditions, pests, plant pathologies, and the constant challenge of balancing finances. Indeed, farming is neither easy, nor is it cheap! It takes a great deal of investment in terms of time and money. It also demands a significant amount of patience and perseverance from the farmer. Now, consider farming in the desert, a peninsula, with mostly salt water as a water source and the challenge gets trickier. For this reason, acknowledgement must be accredited to QDB (Qatar Development Bank) for supporting the Al-Naemi family in their farming endeavor. Now, Eden is present in many of the local markets across the State of Qatar, including the Mahaseel market in Katara, selected Al Meera stores and Wholesale Market.

Before we left, Nasser and his team surprised us with a wide variety of their produce. I was so excited to get home and cook and taste these vegetables!


It was inspiring to see how a concept which started in 2004, matured and persevered through the years, becoming what it is today. Dr. Al-Naemi attributes part of the success of the farm to the family and staff that stood by him and Eden throughout all the years, in order to harvest the fruits of Eden’s success. It was also a pleasure to see local people wanting to empower and cater for their community. Eden and Oryx Mushrooms are definitely initiatives I support. I hope you will too! In South Africa, we have a saying that, “local is lekker”, which translates rather poorly to “local is good (or nice)”. “Lekker” is a term for anything to be enjoyed, and after seeing the farm, as well as eating the produce made there, I can say that local is definitely “lekker” in Qatar, too!



Here is what we prepared today, using some of the vegetables gifted to us

Vegetable Stir Fry  

2 tablespoon oil
250 gms minced beef or chicken
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, diced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cups broccoli florets
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup water
Black pepper
Salt to taste
Cornflour (to thicken sauce)


Heat oil in wok or large skillet.
Add mince meat and stir fry until brown.  Remove to one side.
Add onions and garlic and stir fry for about 2 minutes until lightly brown.
Add vegetables, oyster sauce and soy sauce and stir fry for 5 minutes (adding water, if necessary, to cook the vegetable)
Return the mince to the wok and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
Add cornflour to thicken the sauce.
Serve with rice or noodles



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For more information on Eden Farm Market: