L'Officiel Hommes USA
THE FAMILY JEWELS
Tabbah’s Bespoke Family Values Continue its 157-Year Legacy
In 1862, the Tabbah family left printmaking to become jewelers. Joseph Tabbah took the engraving skills passed down through generations that had been previously used in silk printing and began to engrave precious metals.
Today, Tabbah continues to draw from its printmaking past. Like the wooden block prints that were used to stamp silk, each piece of Tabbah jewelry is made and engraved by hand, and elegant flower motifs in the traditional Lebanese silk prints of Tabbah’s past have inspired jewelry designs since. Even the family and company name, Tabbah, means ‘printer’ in Arabic.
Nagib Tabbah, Joseph’s great-great-grandson and the company’s current CEO, and his father, Nabil—fourth-generation Tabbah—continue the Maison Tabbah tradition of excellent craftsmanship both in their everyday jewelry collections and the momentous bespoke pieces that are usually conceived for wedding ceremonies. Though the wearable New Looks collections—exclusively available in the US at Saks Fifth Avenue—are made by the same craftsmen with the same signature attention to detail, the house’s bespoke jewelry is undoubtedly where Tabbah shines.
When it comes to fine jewelry, no one is more passionate and knowledgeable than Nagib Tabbah. Not only is Nagib Tabbah’s CEO, he is also the jewelry house’s chief designer. As designers, he and his father endeavor to create the perfect bespoke piece for each client. Following the model of Nagib’s grandfather, the fourth- and fifth-generations of Mr. Tabbah travel to meet clients in person—sitting down with only a sketchpad, a pen, and an intuitive gift of emotional awareness.
Over the course of a conversation, Nagib and Nabil work collaboratively with their clients to conceive a unique piece of jewelry perfectly crafted for each occasion. In 2011, former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock became Princess Charlene of Monaco. Her wedding ensemble was to be completed with a bespoke ornament from Maison Tabbah. Nagib recalls his visit with the future princess, and noticing how passionately she spoke about water and its importance throughout her life—from her childhood in South Africa to her athletic career—nagib designed a masterpiece inspired by the fluidity and power of the ocean in front of her eyes. The result is an arresting image of grandeur. Hundreds of tiny diamonds mimic the sparkle of the sun against the waves, ending in six pearls that, much like Princess Charlene, were born of the ocean.
When Tabbah calls itself a family-run business, nothing could be more true. Father and son design together, after which Nagib’s designs are crafted in the Maison’s workshop. Jewels are sourced from the son of the supplier that worked with Nagib’s grandfather. Many of the craftsmen that then handcut jewels for a precise fit are sons of the craftsmen that did the same work for past generations of Tabbah. Even clientele is generational. It is a “family run business in all senses of the word,” as Nagib likes to say.
Since the day Tabbah “started setting diamonds in gold,” the House continues to prove that it is truly a tour de force in jewelry making, and the values of family and tradition that the company holds dear continue to draw generations of clientele to join the Tabbah family.