Known as one of Egypt’s most influential women, a free-spirited pioneer with no fear of being different and paving her own path, Azza Fahmy is still working as hard and passionate as 50 years ago.
Thanks to the excitement and impatience of the world’s jeweler community and passionate fans, Azza Fahmy is finally launching her autobiography, a mirror into her past and an oasis of inspiration. The 400-page journey takes the reader by the hand and immerses him into a historical and educational trip, along Fahmy’s personal journey, which is just the cherry on top.
Time-traveling through her eyes, Egypt transforms and tells a different perspective on success, an experience that the younger generation can benefit from. You’ll be taken through Upper Egypt, Helwan and Nubia, ending up with a world trip.
Azza takes a transformative look at her development, through lows and highs. It gives us an insight into her life as a daughter, with the many valuable lessons learned from her father, until he passed away when she was thirteen years old.
Her passion for jewelry appeared from nowhere, faith bringing her to discover a German book, which she found by chance at the first book fair held in Cairo. That determined her to go to Khan Al-Khalili to learn the craft from its masters.
After eight years of intensive work, she became the first female goldsmith with a professional license. Years passed and Azza Fahmy became a pioneer in designing jewelry in Egypt and the Arab world and she stills maintains the excellency title to this day, thanks to her glorious creations.
Let’s take a peek into her wonderful odyssey, through our interview!
What’s the most inspirational story for people in the autobiography?
That no matter how challenging the road gets, you will eventually make it through. The journey to discovering yourself and your passion is a long one, you will try out a lot of paths and many of them won’t work; the key is to have resilience when it doesn’t.
You don’t find your purpose in life overnight; it takes dedication, consistency, and most importantly, patience. Remain passionate about what you do and believe that you’ll reach your goal, and one day, you will.
Which are the 3 crucial moments in the evolution of Azza Fahmy, as the brand ambassador for the Egyptian contemporary talent abroad?
Of course there were crucial moments in my life, but I can’t pinpoint three specific ones. My life has been quite the journey so far, and I am still curious to explore what awaits me; so I don’t really consider a certain moment an evolutionary point, it’s yet another chapter in my story.
Which are the nations that embrace the most this statement of Egyptian creativity? Could you share a story about an influential foreigner loving to wear Egyptian jewelry created in your laboratory?
I believe that jewelry transcends borders. When we first opened our stores in London and Dubai, or even our pop-up shops in the United States, we were surprised when we found that people connected to the Arabic calligraphy on an intimate level, as if it carried a secret message that was meant only for them. It is always fulfilling to see the jewelry resonating with its wearer, no matter the nationality.
Which are the top 3 collections that are closest to your heart?
Each collection has pieces of great significance to me. The Pharaonic collection is definitely one of my favorites but it was a challenge, as it took me 8 years of research, traveling to examine temples, and working very closely with Egyptologists to finally start the designing process. I felt like I had the responsibility of presenting this great civilization to the world, so every intricate detail had to be done right.
I also love creating pieces that involve different verses, sayings, and poetry; an example of that would be the words of the incredible Gibran Khalil Gibran: جمعنا لقد” “يفرقنا فمن الحب which translates to “Love joined us, who could part us?”
A childhood memory that announced the creative person you are today:
My upbringing was a strong factor in discovering my creative side. My father always took my siblings and I to museums, gave us books to read about different topics, and took us on cultural trips around the country to teach us about its traditions and history. That affected how I view life generally, my curiosity for knowledge grew by the minute, and therefore, my creative side started developing thanks to the childhood I was exposed to.
An overheard cliche related to the Middle East or Egypt and what the world should actually know:
The most famous sights in Egypt are the pyramids and the Nile, but it should be known for more than that, like its oasis, the Red Sea, its crafts, food, and the list goes on. The world should know how rich the Egyptian culture is. It is also worth mentioning that Egypt has a lot of pioneers in different fields that people don’t know of.
A statement of Egyptian humor:
Egyptians have a way of making most of their statements humorous, you can’t keep up with them.
Published by Al Dar Al Masriah Al Lubnaniah, the Arabic copy is available for purchase at all major bookstores and Azza Fahmy boutiques.
Photos courtesy of Azza Fahmy. Book cover photo – through the lens of Toufic Araman.