Twenty years after founding her jewelry business in Beirut, the Lebanese designer Nada Ghazal (pictured) is making a fresh start in London.
In December, Ghazal moved with her family, including her husband and their three children, to the English capital. While her jewelry—best known for its brushed gold, playfully set colored stones, and sensual, organic forms—will continue being made in Beirut, where Ghazal maintains a team of artisans, she currently is searching for a retail location to open her first flagship store outside of Lebanon.
“I’m not sure if I’m brave or crazy,” Ghazal tells JCK. “Not just juggling between work and family, but also the operation in Beirut; we’re a team of 16. But I like challenges.”
American retailers may remember Ghazal from the 2012 JCK Las Vegas show, where she exhibited as a Rising Star designer under the Nada G label. The show opened the door to a number of wholesale accounts in the U.S., but Ghazal was growing her family and her retail presence in Beirut, so she pulled back from international expansion until the end of 2019, when she decided she was ready to rebrand the business as Nada Ghazal Fine Jewellery.
“We felt the brand was more mature,” Ghazal tells JCK. “Nada G was right for when I started, but the jewelry needed some uplifting.”
The explosion that rocked Beirut’s port in August 2020 was among the reasons Ghazal felt the time was right to relocate her family.
“I was 1 kilometer away from the blast, my children were less than a 10-minute walk, and my husband was just opposite the port, 400 meters away,” Ghazal says. “We had to leave our homes and offices for 45 days just to fix the glass.”
“I felt it was not safe for my children and that I owed them a better future, and honestly, I felt I owed my business a better future,” she says.
Despite her change of location, Ghazal’s vision remains the same. “Everybody knows us for telling a story through the jewelry,” she says. “I express my feelings, my emotions through my jewelry. Even though these stories could be personal, they’re very universal, so people around the world immediately connect with them.
“Most clients come to our shop in Beirut and instead of asking, What’s your new collection? They ask, What’s your new story?” she adds.
My Muse, Ghazal’s latest collection, introduced last year, is a tribute to her hometown. “One of the things I love about Beirut are the colors of the fuchsia and green bougainvillea, and the summer nights: purples, pinks, and yellows,” says Ghazal. “For every collection, I have a certain mix depending on inspiration. I use a lot of colored sapphire, amethyst, and tsavorite.”
Currently, Ghazal sells her collection at numerous stores around the world, including That, a concept store in Dubai; the Conservatory in New York City; Twist in Portland, Ore.; Shannon Green in Naples, Fla.; and Liberty and Dover Street Market, both in London.
“We have clients in their 20s and their 70s, all powerful, graceful women looking for something different,” she says.
Even as she eyes additional expansion, especially in the U.S. (look for her booth at this year’s Couture show in Las Vegas), Ghazal remains devoted to the place she’ll always call home.
“I felt that growing outside Lebanon, I’d be able to have a bigger impact on my community in Lebanon,” she says. “You go out in order to come back again.”Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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