HBA: Why did you decide to launch a jewellery label?
SI: I’ve actually been designing jewellery for about 30 years. I like wearing one off pieces and for a long time I bought my own stones and enjoyed working with designers to create jewellery with them.
The idea for INTISARS came from my daughters, who are very picky and refuse to wear normal everyday brands that everyone else does – they want jewellery that means something.
This got me thinking how I could combine jewellery and emotional connection. Why is it that jewellery should have no meaning? Think of a wedding band, every time you look at it you smile. Jewellery should remind you of someone special, and so I wanted to create pieces that make people think of the loves in their lives.
Aqqal gold and ethically sourced diamond bracelets, from Dhs 125,200, INTISARS
HBA: How are you translating Arabian heritage through your jewels?
SI: Our two current collections do this in different ways. The Aqqal bracelets are based on the traditional woolen rope that crowns a man’s Ghetra headpiece. Each comes with a concealed repository under the clasp that holds wax perfumed spheres soaked with your beloved’s scent. Then if you look at the Me-Oh-Me collection it has Arabic words on its rotatable centres.
INTISARS is a mélange of Italian and Arabian influences though. Italians are the top jewellery makers now, and there are many similarities between the two cultures. For a start, we both talk a lot! We are also both very family orientated, love food, and are extremely emotional. Going to Milan is almost like going back home.
Me-Oh-Me VIP vivid enamel and ethically sourced diamond ring, Dhs 48,600, INTISARS
HBA: Are you creating any other collections?
SI: At the moment we have released two collections but will soon have five in total. These represent the five forms of love we want to translate into jewellery: first is Me-Oh-Me, which is about personal love for yourself; the second is the Aqqal collection that is about male love, be it for your father, son, husband, or whoever is the favourite man in your life; the third will be based on family love; the fourth on friendship; and the fifth on love for your homeland.
The last three collections will be coming out at the beginning of next year. It takes time to develop well-made jewellery, and we really push our factory to do excellent work.
Me-Oh-Me VIP gold and ethically sourced diamond necklace, Dhs 23,800, INTISARS
HBA: Can you tell us more about the ethically sourced diamonds you use in the collections?
SI: We work with a medium sized family business to produce the jewels in Italy, and all their diamonds are ethically sourced. This is just one of the reasons I chose to work with them – I’m not a corporate person and like dealing with actual people.
By 2018 our whole supply chain will be ethical, from the gemstones to the gold. At the moment we only use diamonds, but are starting to work with ethically sourced rubies and sapphires and will soon develop the existing collections to include these too.
INTISARS is not just about producing jewellery, we want ourselves and our customers to feel good. I know what I want – I’m a caring person and I create for people who care too.
Sheikha Intisar Al Sabah
HBA: Why do you think women enjoy wearing INTISARS jewellery?
SI: I saw a lady recently at the Kuwait Opera with my jewellery. She approached me and just looked so happy to be wearing it. So I would like to say that the ladies who have purchased my jewels so far feel good wearing it. It’s like lipstick – when you feel a bit down put on a bit of red lipstick and you will instantly feel good. It’s a mood boost.
HBA: Do you feel your jewellery follows any particular trends?
SI: Maybe the trend is to make you feel better! I’ve been wearing jewellery for many years, and I went from wearing bulky, flashy jewels to very thin, delicate pieces. I realised I didn’t really like either – I’m more balanced and like to feel my jewellery but not for it to overwhelm me. INTISARS does this, as the pieces are substantial but they’re not huge.
Many pieces go immediately out of fashion, so we wanted to produce pieces that had longevity and were more timeless. So actually we don’t want to follow trends at all.
Me-Oh-Me VIP vivid enamel and ethically sourced diamond bracelet, Dhs 23,800, INTISARS
HBA: What is your vision for INTISARS?
SI: We don’t want to be a brand that everyone wears. It’s about being discerning – only people who care will wear it. That’s the customer I’m happy to focus on.
We have launches coming up at the beginning of next year in Milan, London and New York. We’re also starting a Foundation that will be integral to the brand, with part of the proceeds providing psychological help for women affected by war. I’m very excited about this; helping others is important to me.