Noora Shawqi talks about the sparkling insights and scintillating journeys that led to her debut jewelry line: The Ceylon Collection
Noora Shawqi on the travel inspiration behind her debut jewelry line
LAST YEAR, NOORA SHAWQI – fondly nicknamed the ‘jewelry girl’ – dragged her entire family on a vacation to Sri Lanka for one very specific reason: to find a rare gemstone. “It’s called Padparadscha,” she reveals. “It is s a kind of sapphire that is mainly found in Sri Lanka. nka. It’s a very special stone – it is like a lotus s flower.” When she finally found the stones – on n the last day of her trip, that too – she was blown n away by the vibrant hues of these elusive gems.
It was the Padparadscha sapphire, along with many other colorful gems she discovered and learned to appreciate in Sri Lanka, that t inspired her to design de her debut jewelry line, fittingly called the Ceylon Collection, after the country that is so renowned r for its gemstones it is known as Gem Island. Isl
For someone som with such a deep-rooted love for gemstones and jewelry, Noora actually didn’t start working work on her dream job right away – at university, university she initially studied Public Relations. “Back then, then I didn’t know what I wanted, so I just went for the th best option,” she explains.
But jewelry jew was always her passion, ever since childhood, childhood and it was always going to be a big part of her life. Even after she graduated, for example, “I started applying for jobs but, in the meantime, I was telling everyone I was going to do a course on diamonds,” she says.
Noora did work in PR, but the urge to get into j jewelry eventually got the better of her. After a course with the International Gemological Institute, she decided to enter the field one way or another and began blogging about jewelry and started posting photos and videos on her popular Instagram account @noorask.
“People really liked seeing these things,” she reveals. “I gained quite a reputation and a lot of followers. For example, people would use my account as a reference [if] they want to buy a gift.”
Finally, when she had her first child, it granted her the impetus to go into jewelry full-time: “I was like, ‘Life is too short, so I should proceed with my jewelry dream,’” Noora recalls. With encouragement from her husband and support from her mother, she slowly worked at making her dream a reality.
Even within her debut jewelry line, the Ceylon Collection, Noora’s love for gems predominates. “Gems have this life in them. Jewelry completes them,” she says. “This collection is very minimal, because the gems give life to the pieces.” Her jewelry is always inspired by her journeys. “My brand is like travel,” she explains. “Each piece is a city or place; I implement what inspires me about a place.”
Another goal for Noora is to increase people’s appreciation for gemstones, which is something she feels those in the region don’t really go for all that much. “Here, it’s only diamonds and emeralds, but I wanted to change that,” she notes. True to her passion, colorful stones dominate the collection. She lists them off: “Aquamarine, amethyst, citrine, different colors of sapphire, including Padparadscha. I also did tourmalines – different colors, rodalite, granite...”
The collection comprises rings, earrings and necklaces, each in 18K gold, with gems front and center. And, for her, Sri Lanka is just the beginning. “I want to do Maldives, Africa… My signature is traveling through the jewelry,” she concludes. @by.noorashawqi