Keeping traditions alive through jewellery

Lakshmi Kothaneth –
Nadiya al Rawahi’s jewellery, seen at Muscat International Airport, has that unmistakable stamp of Oman all over it. And it’s a dream come true for the school student from Fanja.
After completing school, Nadiya had initially no plans of designing or making jewellery. She worked at the school cafeteria until she came across Public Authority for Craft Industries and attended training for two years.
Subsequently, she had her own workshop and has not looked back since. Within six years, she had an own shop in Fanja. Today, after having spent 12 years in the jewellery industry, she is now a trainer who guides others interested in pursuing a career in jewellery making.
Asked if she faced any challenges, she says: “Nothing at all. Maybe there were some initially, but not now. I also enjoy teaching others.”
Nadiya is the first in her family to have chosen to become a silversmith. She is interested not only in making jewellery, but also in the making of Omani Khanjar.
She says she likes traditional designs, but “we also need to develop it further”. “Young women today want something lighter and prefer silver-plated gold. I like to work on new designs.”
According to her, the most difficult piece of work is the designing of the Omani Khanjar. “It takes about a month to complete a khanjar.”
She has regular customers for her khanjars, but a special segment in her collection are the ten-rings set.
She enjoys explaining names of the rings set such as Shahid (to be worn on index finger), Al Haisa (middle finger), Khatam (ring finger) and Mushak (ring for the thumb) and a simple ring for little finger.
She purchases silver from Central Bank of Oman and, at times, from Dubai.
Nadiya has won several awards for her designs. She was placed second in the Sultan Qaboos Competition for Handicrafts in 2010 and 2016, while she won the international competition in Kuwait.
She is currently preparing for an exhibition to be held in February in Abu Dhabi. She has showcased her collections in UAE, Saudi Arabia, China and Syria. Her dream: “Have my own shop in Muscat.”