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Art to wear

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Egyptian jewellery designer combines natural and precious materials in unique designs.

Salma El Farsy offers sophisticated designs that are both wearable and artistic (Photo from Salma El Farsy Facebook Page)

Salma El Farsy offers sophisticated designs that are both wearable and artistic
(Photo from Salma El Farsy Facebook Page)

By Fatma Ibrahim

Most women can appreciate the thrill of finding jewellery that perfectly suits their personality and style. Cairene artist Salma El Farsy offers a unique jewellery collection for those seeking distinctive pieces and beautiful works of art.

“I have had the passion and talent for making jewellery since I was 15,” said El Farsy, a graduate of the art education department of Cairo University. “I studied various types of art like photography and sculpture during college, but I wanted to specialise in jewellery making.” After her work impressed a professor in the jewellery department, she was nominated for a one-year fellowship, and took classes at the American University in Cairo as well as in Italy, learning “designing, making jewellery, and wirework from scratch,” she added.

El Farsy’s entry to the industry was in 2001, working as a designer in a gold factory. From there she moved to a manager position in a jewellery centre in the Industry and Trade ministry. During that time, she was tasked to train factory workers as well as and consult for “jewellery factories’ expansion and development,” she explained.

“I incorporate silver, brass, gold, wood, and fabrics in my designs. My goal is to create a work of art, not just an ordinary gold piece to be weighed and worn for being expensive,” El Farsy said, noting that she also designs custom pieces.

The artist explained how she incorporated her inspiration from nature “along with traditional materials such as brass or precious stones. In that way I bring the modern and the traditional together, to create something totally different.”

El Farsy specialises in wax modelling, a rare skill for a jeweller, and creates models of different pieces to be used by factories and workshops.  She explained that in contrast to traditional modelling, which requires foreign labour from India or Pakistan, which is expensive for many businesses, “I make the modelling locally with all the designs they need.”

El Farsy collaborates with foreign fashion designers to make jewellery to complement their collections, and has showcased her work in exhibitions at the American University in Cairo, the Italian embassy, and the Cairo Opera House.

El Farsy currently teaches workshops on jewellery design, technical drawing, wirework, stone setting and accessory making at Yellow Studio, along with her friend Yasmin Mahgoub. Although many jewellery factories have closed in the past two years, she has seen an increase in interest among people in learning the craft since the 2011 revolution.  “Ironically, more people lost their jobs after 2011, so they come to learn the jewellery industry to start their own projects, or get some extra income,” she said. Yellow Studio is in 6th of October city.


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