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Love is in the air
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 08 - 02 - 2016

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and jewellery can be a very special gift for your partner as it will remain a girl's best friend. You rarely find a woman who says no to jewellery. Though each woman has her own unique taste, most believe that accessories — whether gold, silver, diamonds or pearls — are the way to show personality and style.
“The beauty and elegance of any piece of jewellery depends mainly on the eye. I feel jewellery is something very special, and my aim is to design unique pieces of jewellery that women can wear on any occasion,” says Egyptian jewellery designer Iman Medhat.
Medhat has a degree in communications engineering and a Master's in information technology. She participated in many exhibitions and her designs met with positive responses from clients. This encouraged her to specialise and she do further study, taking professional design courses to help her reach out to an international audience.
Designing jewellery had been Medhat's hobby from the time she was a girl, long before she started working as a professional designer six years ago. “At first I designed accessories for myself and my friends, but not on a commercial basis. Then I decided to work for others as well,” she says.
In her Valentine's Day collection, Medhat uses red colours, with silver, gold and copper highlighting pearls, glass and gemstones like jade, rubies and garnets. “Red is never out of fashion, andi always used to express intimate feelings,” she explains.
She says that 1980s' fashions are coming back this year, as far as accessories are concerned, though no particular colour prevails. “There is a great variety of colours, giving us as designers a huge variety when it comes to designing jewellery or accessories.”
Small- and medium-sized bracelets are fashionable this year, and also big sized jewellery inspired by Pharaonic, Islamic and Bedouin culture, including necklaces, earrings, tiaras and rings. Jewellery and accessories in different sizes are available to suit all tastes.
Earrings have a special character in 2016, according to Medhat, having the potential to become main pieces. “There is almost no need for any other piece beside them,” she says. Medhat adds that for veiled women necklaces can be the main item of jewellery, matched with rings and bracelets. Belts are still in, but they are unlikely to be main pieces this year. Brooches have ceased to be of interest.
Single large rings are back, with many women seeing them as very stylish. Double or triple finger rings are also in fashion, but not among top trends, explains Medhat.
The past year was full of achievements for Medhat on the international level. Her haute couture jewellery designs were displayed at Tiffany's in Paris, and the French actress Sanaa Alaoui wore jewellery designed by Medhat for a recent photo session in France.
Her designs were also featured on the cover of a Paris fashion magazine, and she was selected as official jewellery designer for Miss European Tourism 2015, an international beauty event held last year in Malta for which Medhat designed the winners' crowns.
In 2014, Medhat made special designs for Czech Republic beauty queen Lenka Josefiova in the International Beauty contests. Josefiova is a supermodel, host, brand ambassador, actress and presenter on the Fashion One TV channel. She won a crown in the Miss European Tourism event last year, was named Miss Czech Tourism International in 2015, and was the runner-up at Miss Piel Dorada in 2015 in Mexico and Miss Intercontinenal in 2014 in Germany.
On the national level, Medhat was the only designer to take part in the Dantel Fashion Show in Alexandria in 2013, and she was among 19 prominent jewellery designers who participated in the Fashion Zone Cairo Couture Collection for 2015. At the end of the show, Josefiova appeared wearing Medhat's designs that had been specially made for this event.
Medhat's favourite stones are natural gemstones and pearls, and these are included in all her collections for casual, après-midi and soirée wear. “I read a lot about the different types of gemstones and how they affect human energy,” she explains.
She also uses semi-precious gemstones, mixing them with different materials like silver, beads, copper, glass and mirrors to make them feel more stylish. She also uses pieces of stained glass and mirrors in her designs, something she relates to Islamic, Pharaonic and Coptic jewellery cultures.
Lately, Medhat has focused on haute couture soirée and accessories designs. From her own experience, it can be asking a lot of any woman to buy a new dress each time she goes out, when her closet is full of dresses from past events that are now unused. As a result, she decided to design a very simple unembellished dress to be worn with different accessories.
“Accessories make the dress, pushing it into the background. I just change the accessories and wear the same dress,” Medhat explains, adding that she has designed a whole range of accessories that can be worn with a plain dress.
Medhat often uses pearls with materials like gold, silver-plated copper and crystals. “They are very elegant and give light to the skin. They also match all colours,” she says, adding that she often uses copper wire plated with gold or silver as a wrist corsage or to create chain effects.
Choosing the perfect accessories
Follow these simple rules when choosing accessories for any dress:
- Take a look at your existing wardrobe before buying any new accessory or jewellery.
- Choose accessories that match the clothes you are going to wear.
- During daylight hours, working women should choose simple, chic accessories and avoid lots of detail. Make simplicity your motto.
- Girls might consider wearing smooth pendants with chains, a single ring and a delicate bracelet. There is no need for them to go for more.
- Plain silver and gold with pearls or translucent crystals suit many outfits. Turquoise stones can be used for a main piece as it matches with all colours. Turquoise is also flattering to many skin tones.
How to stop jewellery from discolouring
- Apply perfume 20 minutes before putting on jewellery or accessories.
- Don't use hand cream immediately before putting on a bracelet.
- Use a thick cotton towel to clean jewellery properly.
- Store jewellery in a proper box with a lid and lined with anti-tarnish paper.
- Put each piece of jewellery in a separate soft pouch.
- Keep the jewellery box closed when it is not in use to keep out sunlight and dust.

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