Ever thought of buying your wife or girlfriend a piece of jewelry just to show how much you care? For no reason in particular – no birthday, Valentine’s Day or wedding gift.
Most men would not give the notion a second thought. It is entrenched in Egyptian culture that such an expensive present means that only a major milestone warrants a trip to the jewelry store.
One man who set out to challenge this idea is Mostafa Nassar, chairman of Iram Jewellery, one of the biggest jewelry producers in Egypt and the Middle East. He wanted to encourage husbands to buy their wives jewelry just to say “I love you.
It was to much fanfare that Iram launched its spring/summer collection 2007 on June 21, 22 and 23 at the Intercontinental City Stars Hotel. The firm unveiled five new jewelry lines: Marry Me, Colorful, Master Piece, Pearly, Trust in a glitzy showpiece where models displayed the latest designs. The lines are more colorful and Western in their style and taste than the average Egyptian jewelry producer.
“I am trying to develop the taste here from Egyptian to relatively modern, says Mostafa proudly, pointing to his latest catalogue.
Mostafa’s father founded Iram Jewellery in 1935. The original shop was located in Old Cairo. In 2000, Mostafa took the helm, when the company switched from being a retail operation to becoming a wholesaler. It was at this time that they built a sophisticated manufacturing facility in Obour City, covering an area of 20,000 square meters. The most advanced manufacturing techniques are employed by the 1,000 staff, some one third of them expats, some from as far away as Hong Kong and Thailand.
“Quality of product, competitiveness in price and exclusive service is the firm’s slogan and Mostafa confirmed that he views high standards of service as integral to the company’s success.
“We are the only wholesaler in Egypt without our own retail stores. We rely on the intimate relationships our sales assistants have with the jewelry stores, he said.
Mostafa traveled to Germany to study cutting and grading of diamonds and other precious stones. His devotion to the subject meant that he amassed 17 different diplomas from the various world-renowned international institutes he attended. On his return, he used this new-found knowledge to introduce elegant, sophisticated jewelry lines to the Egyptian public.
He originally focused Iram’s energies on Cairo. Alexandria, though, represents a new market for the company in its expansion beyond the capital.
“Alexandria is an untapped market. The tastes of customers there are different from Cairo so we have decided to set up a specialized service team to address this, said Mostafa.
“Beyond that, Upper Egypt and the Delta region have largely unexploited jewelry markets. So we hope to spread to cover these areas in the future, he added.
Judging by the nation’s obsession with the diamond, the appetite for Iram Jewelry looks set to continue to grow.