Despite an international upbringing between Canada, France and the UK, Ralph Masri has his sights firmly set on the Middle East. Crediting much of his success in Dubai to winning the inaugural 2016 Dubai Design & Fashion Council (DDFC) Fine Jewellery Prize, his Arabesque Deco collection is currently exclusively available at Harvey Nichols in Mall of the Emirates.
Having trained at London’s Central Saint Martins in both jewellery design and craftsmanship, Ralph returned to his native Beirut in 2011 to set up his eponymous brand. Today all of his jewels are hand-made in the workshop at the Beirut store (with Ralph still making most of them himself), having grown from a small silver range to fine jewellery pieces that now span three separate collections.
Ralph Masri Arabesque Deco yellow gold ring
Each year at the New York and Paris Fashion Weeks Ralph debuts new pieces that are added to his Arabesque Deco and Sacred Windows collections, whilst his latest Phoenician Script line will soon be hitting the Dubai stores. Explaining that many of his designs “blend east with west, classic with modern”, Ralph’s Arabesque Deco line uniquely combines Arabic and Art Deco themes. Through mixing his love of both traditional local architecture and the historical Art Deco movement, Ralph believes the collection injects a contemporary feel to Arab motifs.
Ralph Masri Sacred Windows ring
History and colour are also big inspirations of Ralph's. Set with bursts of coloured gemstones such as garnets and champagne diamonds, the Sacred Windows collection is inspired by the high arches and stained glass artwork of cathedrals, whilst the Phoenician Script line draws from the ancient alphabet.
Whilst Ralph was already stocked in London’s Harvey Nichols before winning the DDFC Fine Jewellery prize, he suspects that the award had much to do with his recent popularity in the city. “I can’t say for sure, “ he explains, “but I had been in talks with Harvey Nichols in Dubai for a long time about stocking my designs. A week after winning the prize, they suddenly agreed.” Despite receiving a generous cash prize, Ralph says the true importance of the award is the amount of exposure and publicity that has “snowballed” since the announcement was made.
Ralph Masri Sacred Windows earrings with garnets and champagne diamonds
For now he is excited about the brand’s upcoming plans for the Middle East, and clearly enjoying the busy schedule as one of the region’s leading emerging talents.