More than half a century ago, Cairo-based jeweller Azza Fahmy started as an apprentice in the male-dominated workshops of Khan El-Khalili, learning all about the craft of centuries-old making of jewellery.
She then started her workshop with a handful of people, aiming to tell stories of heritage and culture through her creations, before launching her own line and eventually becoming one of the most famous Egyptian jewellery designers, collaborating with famous names on the catwalk.
Fahmy is now acclaimed worldwide not only for her designs that rely profoundly on research, but also the manifestation of the Ottoman craftsmen hierarchy, which had been present in Egypt for centuries.
Fahmy told Ahram Online in a recent interview that the celebration of the 50th anniversary of her first collection will be marked by the publication of a narrative of her work over the past five decades.
Fahmy revealed that she is about to publish an autobiography for the first time, telling her story as she commemorates the 50th anniversary of the launch of her first pieces.
"It is always important to stay rooted to our culture and art, while being open to modern techniques and theories of applications. The two go hand in hand. We have a treasure of a history right here that we have to utilise," she added.
"I always felt that I have this immense energy to benefit people. I want my expertise and years of mastering design to be channelled to the coming generations of talented Egyptian youth. It is why we established the design school and then the vocational Training Foundation. I want to focus more on the school and the foundation the near future, this is how I know I can benefit my country," she concluded.
Recently, Fahmy revealed that she will also be releasing a new 13-piece collection that revisits some of her most successful art designs, reimagining them in new forms
The collection contains new forms of the iconic talisman necklace inspired by tribal Algerian jewellery and inscribed with beautiful poetry by Saudi poet Ghazi Elksebi.
Other pieces were selected from the African collection that was released few years ago.
The African collection mirrored the bold and colourful culture of Ethiopia as well as the beauty of the Bassari arts and the Fulani tribes
Other pieces were selected from the Fallahi collection, which was produced three years ago, drawing inspiration from rural Egypt.
The Fallahi collection offered a fresh, contemporary take on traditional Egyptian designs, introducing many styles, including kerdan and the ubiquitous serpent motif providing a tribute to the style exhibited by the late, famous Egyptian dancer Taheya Karyoka.