Dubai to Host Pearl Jewelry Design Program


Some of the world’s leading luxury jewelry designers and regional jewelry design students have received exclusive invitations from Dubai Multi Commodities Centre to take part in the inaugural “Pearl Essence”—the Dubai international pearl jewelry design program.

The program incorporates different categories of pearls, including Tahitian, South Sea, Akoya, and Freshwater.

“Pearl Essence’ is a two-tier program incorporating both leading professional designers and students of jewellery design,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman, DMCC. “The professional designer tier will constitute a custom-designed collection of pearl jewelry pieces, created by ten invited luxury brands inspired by the rich Arabian pearling heritage and represented in a modern and contemporary fashion. The student tier is a competition for final year students from schools that offer a minimum two-year full time jewellery design course, spanning a broad geographical market.”

For the professional designer tier, DMCC is in discussions with leading luxury jewelry brands including members of the Dubai Pearl Exchange to create one unique piece each for the collection. The entries will tour international jewelry trade exhibitions before being auctioned by Christie’s with the proceeds being donated to charity.

DMCC is working with 44 jewelry design schools spanning Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, Singapore, South Africa, and Turkey to solicit entries before the early 2009 deadline. The student entries will be judged by an international jury, chaired by DMCC, and comprising trade journalists and professional jewelry designers. The designs will be evaluated for commercial design, wearability, theme-based creativity, and the use of pearls as the main design feature.

Ten student designs will be fabricated into finished jewelry by DMCC-nominated manufacturers and pearl sponsors. The fledgling designers stand to win several awards including a 30-day internship with an international jewelry design house, a week’s visit to the pearling operations of Paspaley Pearling Co. in Western Australia, a seven-day course at Gemological Institute of America’s Carlsbad campus and online pearl courses from GIA.

“Pearl Essence is a very exciting initiative. It pays fitting tribute to the gem of Arabia, while at the same time bringing together the international pearl community in a unique manner,” said Gaiti Rabbani (pictured), executive director, Coloured Stones and Pearls, DMCC. “We are very encouraged by the response we’ve had from the pearl community; Paspaley Pearling Co has confirmed a support sponsorship role alongside official pearl sponsor for the student category. Damas, Dhamani, Mikura Pearls and Pinctada have confirmed participation as official manufacturers and the list gets longer as more partners sign up with Pearl Essence.”

DMCC’s two-year Pearl Essence program will culminate in a gala event in Dubai, which will include an exhibition showcasing the pearl jewelry created by both the designer brands as well as the students and an awards ceremony to select and honour three winning students. In addition, the final pearl jewelry collection will form part of a six-month traveling exhibition to major international jewelry shows.