Amynah Hassanali, a youthful designer with great flair…Dubai

Many love stories are associated with jewelry.  In recent times, one immediately thinks of Richard Burton’s constant offering to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor’s already overflowing cache.  Go to any museum with jewelry areas from ancient Egypt, Greece  and Roman times for starters and you’ll see armload’s of gold hand crafted jewelry and in many cases, they were also gifts to their beloved. And as old as they are, there are so many beautiful designs that many designers still take inspiration from them.

Now to recent time. During a visit to Dubai, I went to the showing at a small boutique in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) where Aliel, a small, bijou of a boutique is located among the art galleries and fine restaurants.

It’s quite unusual to see the Expats and Emirati intermingling at these soirées, but this night was special.

Designer and owner, Amynah Hassanali, born in Pakistan, was brought up  and went to university in Dallas Texas, studying in the IT field but always loved jewelry, always looking at the various colored stones, and the possibility for their designs to suit their shape.

A few years ago this dream materialized when she moved to Dubai with her husband and two sons. She opened a small boutique with her more youthful, less pricey  designs  in a location where young, affluent business people work.

Amynah is a believer that on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries, a very special stone of high quality, in time, is less of a liability than the constant ups and downs of stocks and bonds. She suggests that the stone which may be unset, be kept in a security box for as long a possible and see the prices rise.

Much of the craftsmanship is done in Italy and in Thailand for the best jewelry work. but the designs are done by Amynah in Dubai. But to make sure that all is done properly, she does spend time  a few times a year, overseeing the craftsmanship in the other countries

And with all her talent, it’s hard to believe that she is still so modest and shy that even posing for a photograph of this true beauty is still difficult for her.

The night of the DIFC Art Nights (Dubai International Financial Centre) event I attended at the small very sleek, with dark wood and glass boutique, were some of the most elegantly dressed women, many accompanied by their husbands.  What is so unusual, is that the majority of women were of ‘a certain age’ , not young twenty-thirty year olds, although some did come in and carefully selected designs, walking out with perfectly wrapped pieces. The somewhat older women were delighted to see new, original designs instead of the still fashionable but not unique, large precious stones surrounded by other semi and precious stones.  Her items were simply elegant. and original.   However, there is a certain amount of discretion  among this age range and although not much was sold to them that night, next day there was a rush to try on and buy the items they eyed the night before.

Quality is most important to Amynah and although she may be designing with semi precious stones like crystal, tourmaline, aquamarine, topaz, citrine, amethyst and more, she does also have one vitrine filled with amazing baubles.  One piece that stands out isn’t original but with diamonds of the highest quality in all categories. except for the incredible size and quality of the stones. It’s still referred to  as a ‘tennis bracelet’.  But since the deep yellow centre stone is about 5 carats and the smallest is over one carat, it’s hard to imagine any one wearing this for a game of tennis.  The price tag, $345,000.00. Also, another showpiece, was a three carat emerald cut, D graded, VS 1 solitaire set with four bands in three coloured gold inset  with diamonds- by micro pave – a breathtaking item for $84,000.

“For some , this stones may be considered small,”  says the stunning, exotic, dark hair, 40 year old designer.  “But here, quality not size, counts. While in America, the larger the better but the quality isn’t important.”

However, less costly are other designs such as her signature creations which are semi precious stones inserted on other semi precious stones.  Earrings and pendants were some that featured beautifully.  Also, wood bracelets studded with small diamonds and colored stones were also outstanding. “I see women spending so much on expensive, fashion designer costume jewellery while for a bit more, they could have genuine stones with very fashionable designs.”

What is so interesting about this woman is that she’s a contradiction.  She loves jewelry, loves designing, enjoys seeing her clients ,now friends, enjoy their purchases,adores her boutique yet “it’s not my personality to wear a lot of jewellery”.  That said, this evening, each earlobe had the most glorious dangling diamond earrings  ending with a drop at the bottom, each approximately three carat diamond.

Also, for security and secrecy reasons, behind her counter and the shop’s displays, is a closed-off private room for clients who want discretion,  She also realizes that although her fame was all from word of mouth, no ads at all, people have come to trust her and “are clients for life”.

And to add to her philosophy Amynah sees jewelry as an investment in emotions, too.  “When buying jewelry, whether you are spending $1000 or $1 million, it’s important that you buy something that has value, whatever that value may be… something that can be passed down to your children.”

It’s been over 18 years now that she has been married. “My husband and I have raised our two accomplished young sons.  When they get married, the special thing I can give them is their  late mother’s jewelry.  Though it may not be worth millions of dollars, to them they will be worth much more as the items are beautiful and still have her smell, her feel and her personality.  When they look at the jewelry, they will always smile,” says the sensitive young woman.

And one thinks that each of her clients  will always and also gets great delight when they put on one of Aliel’s glorious, not overpowering, youthful and original jewelry designs.