x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Sheikha Mariam Khalifa's new jewellery collection

Sheikha Mariam Khalifa, the granddaughter of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has launched her first jewellery collection online.

Examples of Her Highness Sheikha Mariam Khalifa's new jewellery brand, MKS. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National
Examples of Her Highness Sheikha Mariam Khalifa's new jewellery brand, MKS. Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National

Sheikha Mariam Khalifa, the granddaughter of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has launched her first jewellery collection online. Her eponymous MKS brand will be available from next month at leading department stores across the UAE. We were granted an exclusive audience with the Sheikha and a preview of the precious-stone pieces.

Sheikha, for how long have you been considering a jewellery collection?

Around two years, but I didn’t have the opportunity before now as I was focused on my university studies. Once they were finished, I had time to look back at my sketches and I decided this was the right time to launch the business.

Tell me more about the brand’s name MKS?

It stands for my name, Mariam Khalifa Sheikh. A lot of my friends have always known me as MKS, so I thought it was the most suitable name to use. It’s also pronounceable as “mix”, which is appropriate as my collection is a mix of many elements.

By “mix” does that mean you’ve been influenced by your travels in the region and abroad?

Yes, everything around me inspires me. Even conversations with people can trigger ideas. From Mother Nature in all her splendour to studying art and paintings to the natural colours used in local furnishings, it’s very exciting to be inspired creatively by my environment.

What are the key features of your debut collection?

The collection is split in two; the first part is called “Little Hearts” and consists of four main pieces that can be worn in different combinations so, for example, necklaces that double as bracelets. We’re hoping to add rings to that collection soon, too. We have one new necklace, which you’re the first to see; I call it “eternal love”. If you detach the chain you can wear it as a bracelet, necklace or anklet – so it’s three-in-one, which we haven’t seen done before. The other collection, Sparkly Me consists of diamonds or gemstones placed on see-through [Perspex] wires. When worn or layered, the rings look like they are part of your skin. People can choose the stones they like and most tend to go for their birthstone.

So I could pre-order a ring with an emerald centrepiece?

Yes [laughs]. The emerald is the one everyone goes for. Some people like it even though they’re not born in May and, of course, you don’t have to take the concept literally.

Are you wearing some of your designs?

Yes, I really love the pieces. I wouldn’t design something I wouldn’t wear myself. I’m wearing the first piece I made with diamonds and I’m also wearing my birthstone – a garnet for January. And, of course, my black diamond with rose gold piece.

Is that your preferred precious metal-stone combination?

Yes, I love the pairing and you don’t see it very often. Black also happens to be my favourite

colour.

With its hearts and endless-knot designs, the collection appears very romantic?

I think everyone likes the idea of love and being romantic. But to me, it’s more about symbolism. When I buy my own jewellery, I always look for pieces that have a special meaning. They are rarely found and so I wanted to incorporate beauty and symbolism together – the first collection is full of that. Take the heart – the universal symbol of love – it’s found in all the MKS collection including the wishbone necklace. The horseshoe and heart pieces have been the most popular so far.

With the use of coloured diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and white/yellow/rose gold, how accessible are the pieces price-wise?

I would say my jewellery is reasonably priced. There are pieces from Dh1,650 to around Dh6,200. They also come packaged very nicely and have gift cards.

What was the logic behind the leather pouch packaging?

I was looking for something unique and unavailable in the market. Usually when I buy my jewellery it comes in big boxes that end up being thrown away and the pieces are easily misplaced or damaged. The MKS pouch is soft, easily stored and practical. It’s 100 per cent leather, made from Abu Dhabi camels. My hope is that people will reuse the pouches to transport and protect MKS jewellery, or other pieces they own.

What about private commissions, is that an avenue you’re keen to pursue?

Yes, I get a lot of requests for bespoke pieces and I love doing them, especially because a client can tell you exactly what she wants. She can always ask me to add this, make this bigger, change the colour of the stone, etc. I’m very happy to do that because I don’t feel ownership over the pieces. We recently had a client, for example, who wanted her birthstone; her husband’s and her child’s on one ring and a necklace.

What might be next, accessories for men or chunkier pieces?

We’re developing camel-leather bracelets, but whenever there is thread or leather involved I like to try out the pieces first to see how well they wear. I actually have a pet ferret [pure white breed, called Bobo] who is very energetic and she tends to bite. So I figure that if the leather bracelet can withstand her teeth, it’s pretty durable and won’t get ruined [laughs].

MKS jewellery is available to purchase online at www.mksjewellery.com. For more information, call 056 112 0023. See the collection in leading department stores in the UAE from July

rduane@thenational.ae

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