Talented jewelry designer Nadine Kanso takes time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about her celebrated jewelry line, Bil Arabi, and her unmistakable calligraphy-inspired pieces.
How did you start out in the industry?
I am not a jewelry designer by trade but a graphic designer. In 2006, I started the Bil Arabi brand. I just consider myself a designer who can design a ring as well as a scarf and a vase and so on…
How did the idea of Bil Arabi come to life?
Bil Arabi came to life after my first solo photography exhibition, “Meen Ana”, which tackled Arab identity issues. I felt there should be a pride in wearing our own alphabet, and created a jewelry line with Arabic calligraphy to stand as a statement more than anything else can.
Which piece from your Fall/Winter 2011 collection is your favorite and are you proudest of?
My FW11 collection is very feminine. I’m proudest of the “Maya” butterfly – it’s my absolute favorite.
What was the first piece of jewelry you created?
The Bil Arabi label started with the “Big Noon Letter” ring (the letter “N”), which set the trend for everything else.
If you weren’t in the industry, what would you be?
I am a photographer as well, so I guess I would have put all my energy there!
What is the most precious piece of jewelry you own?
A gold and diamond vintage heart that my mother gave me when my first son was born. It was actually her own and she had worn it for as long as I can remember, so it was really special.
What piece of art would you most like to own?
I love Mohamad Rawas’ works and would love to have an old oil painting by him.
How would you like to develop your brand?
I am really enjoying the organic growth of my business, and I always love a collaboration. I would love to collaborate on a jewelry design like I did with Louis Vuitton in Dubai with my photography.
How has your personal style evolved over the years?
It is still very colorful! I thought growing older would mean I would start wearing more neutral color, but so far that hasn’t happened.
If money were no object…
I would try and make the world a better place.
I never walk out of the house without…
A camera, to capture all of life’s moments as well as inspiration for my next designs.
Best dubai address?
DIFC. I absolutely love that place – it’s amazing.
Photos: Courtesy of Bil Arabi