Alongside its record-breaking skyscrapers and man-made islands, Dubai’s sprawling gold markets, which are scattered throughout the city, are hard to miss. And whilst the traditional jewellery souks have maintained their charm throughout the years, a new generation of Emiratis are bringing new life to the age-old craft. Leading the way is Alia Bin Omair with her eponymous label.
The Dubai-born and raised designer paved a lane of her own after founding her label in 2016. Keeping true to her Emirati roots, Bin Omair finds her inspiration in day-to-day life, working strictly with different materials from the UAE, but it’s the use of Emirati cultural symbols in her designs that sets her apart.
Entitled ‘Classic’, one of her first collections remains her most popular. The necklaces and bracelets feature dainty nameplates in 18-Karat gold that have ‘Dubai’, ‘Abu Dhabi’ and Sharjah’ delicately carved out. The designer embarked on her venture into the jewellery business after studying graphic design at Dubai’s Women’s College followed by a stint at the Damas Jewelry Academy in Dubai, where she pursued a degree in jewellery design and production. Bin Omair then dabbled with various mediums, from photography to illustration before settling into her role as a full-time jewellery designer.
“My life has always been inclined towards art and design” she told Emirates Diaries early last year. But it was her desire to work with tangible objects that underpinned the launch of her label.
Al-Satami, the traditional Emirati necklace which typically features medallion-sized gold coins, got a 21st century makeover in Bin Omair’s latest collection in the form of earrings, rings and necklaces featuring smaller golden disks. The collection, aptly titled ‘Satami 18’, doesn’t come without a distinctly Bin Omair touch, with each pieces embossed with her now-signature fingerprint.
Another collection, called ‘Tears’, looks to the Frankincense trees of the UAE. Bin Omair found inspiration in the natural fragments of the tree when designing the collection, with a pair of earrings called ‘Nuggets’ taking after the raw shape of the natural gum produced by the trees themselves.