20 Oct 2020
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Bearer of Legacy-Selim Mouzannar
Embracing the legacy left behind by his forefathers while ensuring that doesn’t stifle his creative process, Beirut-based jewellery designer Selim Mouzannar has a one-of-a-kind personality and his jewellery is just a reflection of that
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jul 22 2020 1:57PM
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Reference: 25051  

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I don’t believe that just because one is born into a family of jewellers, he or she will have a propensity towards the art. However, growing up in an environment filled with jewellery definitely enriched my creative processSelim Mouzannar hails from a family of jewellers who served the Ottoman Empire since the 19th century. As a child, he spent his time in his father’s workshop in the heart of Beirut’s historical jewellery souks. After studying mineralogy in France and Belgium, he was hired by a renowned jewellery group to manage its workshops in Saudi Arabia. Shortly after, he went to Thailand where he led the life of a stone hunter in ruby mines near the Burmese border. It is here that he had a life changing experience, of being stalled by a local militia at the Cambodian border. This misadventure made him an eternal advocate of nonviolence.

Selim is passionate about the Ottoman and Art Deco architecture from Beirut’s past – a fertile blend of oriental culture with traces of the Colonial French presence. He has put all his energy into restoring his family home in the old neighborhood of Ashrafieh, where he currently lives. It is in the comfort of his ancient home that he finds his inspiration. Mouzannar likes to confront the past with the present, which is why his jewellery represents a heritage in perpetual movement.

You come from a family of jewellers. Is it right to say that you are naturally inclined towards jewellery?
I don’t believe that just because one is born into a family of jewellers, he or she will have a propensity towards the art. However, growing up in an environment filled with jewellery definitely enriched my creative process.

How do you blend your Lebanese upbringing and design elements from the royal courts of Ottoman – because much of your jewellery is a cross section between the two?
It is mainly the impact of all the things I lived through and Beirut is steeped in history, including 400 years of Ottoman Empire.

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