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Silvie Koang GOOD NEWS FROM BEIRUT: GORGEOUS JEWELS BY SELIM MOUZANNAR Wednesday, January 15, 2014 A guest post by Maya Peilow In its heyday, Beirut was known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East.’ Although this reputation has waned following ... 5


A guest post by Maya Peilow

In its heyday, Beirut was known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East.’ Although this reputation has waned following the Civil War and subsequent political instability, it remains true in the realm of fashion. With designers like Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad dressing royalty and countless celebrities on the red carpet, Lebanese fashion is making a name for itself. However, it’s not all about the clothes.

Jewellery designer Selim Mouzannar has been gaining recognition around the world. In a crowded jewellery market in Lebanon, Selim has managed to create his own unique style with his oriental-inspired collections, with references to the old Gold Souk of Beirut. With a mixture of old and new cuts and styles, Selim’s designs seem to strike at the heart of Beirut’s history – an increasingly modern, cosmopolitan city, which still remains in touch with its political past. But interest in his designs has gone global. Last year, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rihanna wore his jewellery in shoots for People Magazine and Elle UK respectively and his pieces are now in demand around the world.

Gwyneth Paltrow wears Selim Mouzannar in People
The Beirut Collection, one of my personal favourites, “takes its roots and inspiration from the shape and soul of Beirut’s traditional homes and souks…the angle from an arcade…the vault of a souk’s main gate.” These small details pay homage to their oriental heritage but still have that all-important modern edge.

Beirut bracelet by Selim Mouzannar

Lebanese women are unapologetic in the love of the finer things in life. As Selim notes, they are known to “accessorize a lot, they are always up-to-date with the latest trends and follow fashion very closely.” Lebanese women are willing to wear fine jewellery every day, rather than limiting its use for special occasions. The demand for local jewellery is reflected in the sheer size of the industry in Lebanon – you can spot at least one boutique on almost every street!

Selim’s success lies in the fact that he “create[s] fine jewellery that is refined but also wearable on many occasions and every day.” While his customers may follow fashion trends religiously, Selim’s jewellery is “a beautiful creation [that] should be timeless and not dictated by ephemeral fashion trends.”

Although Selim may not directly intend to follow the latest trends, his Link Collection ties in well with the geological references which came through in the Spring/Summer 2014 collections. Phillip Lim was inspired by the elements, geode formations, marble patterns and other geological phenomena for his collection. Jil Sander did dresses in the colour of oxidised copper and Givenchy made use of natural, earthy colours. The juxtaposition of wood, silver and precious stones give Selim’s Link collection an elemental feel.

Geology at 3.1 Phillip Lim SS14 (via

A gorgeously crafted bracelet from the Link collection by Selim Mouzannar 

Selim has also embraced the midi ring trend, which has been a big deal in Lebanon for quite a while. I fell in love with a rose gold and diamond midi ring, which is the perfect little on-trend luxury to add to my jewellery box.

My beautiful midi ring by Selim Mouzannar
I am lucky enough to still have some family in Lebanon and I never go to Beirut without paying Selim a visit. And, unlike visiting a luxury jewellery store in London, more often than not, the designer himself will be in the boutique when you go! There’s nothing better than choosing jewellery with the help and advice of the creative mind behind the collections. A truly incredible experience.

Having said that, you don’t have to travel all the way to Beirut to explore Selim’s collections. He is currently a guest designer for Annoushka and a selection of his pieces are available in Annoushka boutiques and its concessions in Liberty, Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges.

Selim’s beautiful, original jewellery is the perfect investment piece as well as being the kind of thing that not all your friends are going to have. Creations of timeless beauty, with a unique, Middle Eastern twist.

All images courtesy of Selim Mouzannar

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