At a jewellery show like Jewellery Arabia, held annually at Bahrain’s International Exhibition Centre, it is always going to be tough to stand out amongst 500 plus exhibitors. However, this feat was pulled off elegantly and effortlessly by Al Zain jewellers and their show stopping piece the ‘Cascade of Dreams’.
The piece- and it is far too elaborate to call it something so mundane as a necklace- encompasses the whole body, in front and behind. The more elaborate festoons can be detached, allowing the neckpiece to be worn separately as a choker. The ‘Cascade’ is a magnificent example of more is more, set with 1970 Bahraini pearls, 12826 diamonds and eight perfectly matched, large important Columbian emeralds. It took a cool 2700 man hours to make. I did not bother asking the price.
Theo Swart, CEO of Al Zain, explained that the company wanted to create a piece that was unashamedly Middle Eastern, a celebration of all that Al Zain is well known for. In spite of its size, the ‘Cascade’ is a beautifully balanced jewel of Islamic inspiration. The use of pearls celebrates the gem for which the Kingdom is renown and the craftsmanship is the epitome of skill acquired by a house which has been operating for over 80 years.
Al Zain Jewellers was founded in 1930s by the late Hassan Al Zain, already a figure within the Kingdom’s pearl diving industry. His son, Abdulla Al Zain joined the business not long after in one of those rather perfect family combinations of business savvy with jewellery expertise. Their flagship store opened in the 1950s in Khobar and their expansion in the region continued in the coming decades. The company continues to be very much a family affair, with each generation honing their particular skills and using them to continue the growth of the company. Al Zain continues to celebrate pearls, the gem that allowed them to flourish, whilst embracing new techniques and innovative design.