Azza Fahmy -- master gold and silversmith

Azza Fahmy -- master gold and silversmith Last updated on Sunday 18th April 2010

Like her sister Randa Fahmy, Azza Fahmy is considered pre-eminent in her field -- the Arab world's finest designer of traditional jewelry.

Born in Suhaaj, Egypt, Ms Fahmy took a Fine Arts Degree in interior design from ::I University before apprenticing to a master gold and silversmith at the ancient Khan El Khalili, the first woman in Egypt to be permitted into a traditionally male-dominated profession.

After years of apprenticeship and intensive research into traditional jewelry forms, she held her first exhibition in 1974 and launched a career which has taken her around the world and placed her among the top professional women in Egypt.

Working in silver, gold and with semi-precious stones, her work reflects a wide range of Arab and Islamic traditions and periods, including Bedouin, Nubian, Kabili (Algerian Berber), Umayyad, Egyptian and Syrian Ayyubid and Mamluki, Persian Safavid, Central Asian Seljuk and Timurid, Turkish Ottoman and Indian Mogul. Ms. Fahmy has also been credited with reviving the use of classical Arabic poetry and Islamic wisdom sayings in the calligraphic inscriptions incorporated into many of her pieces, which express profound spiritual values that have been lost to much of the modern Arab world.

In America Azza Fahmy has had exhibitions of her work in Washington DC, Denver, Houston and New York. Her work has also been shown in England, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Her commercial clients include the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Howard University Art Museum, the Museum of Women in the Arts, the Textile Museum and the Sackler Museum at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology, the University of Illinois Centre for the Arts, Williams College Museum of Art, the Brook Museum of Art at Memphis and the Institute du Monde Arabe in Paris as well as Harrods and Liberty of London.

Her many international clients include Queen Noor of Jordan, French actress Catherine Deneuve, Madame Jihan Sadat, Egyptian actress Fatin Hamama and the royal families of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.

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