By Claudia Cole
Most people consider jewellery to be the finishing touch on the perfect outfit. It’s a way to make a stylish statement that’s uniquely your own.
However, jewellery is much more than an accessory as it has defined cultures and civilisations throughout time. In this context, jewellery becomes a fragment of history and material culture that can tell stories of the past and has the potential to connect us with our civilisational strengths and the better chapters of human existence.
This is precisely what Moors & Saints does through jewellery collections inspired by the architecture of sacred cities and the history of coexistence that marked them.
Designed with purpose and handmade with love, here’s how ethical jewellery brands like Moors & Saints are celebrating human connection.
About Moors & Saints?
Moors & Saints is a fine jewellery start-up based in Dubai inspired by sacred Moorish design and architecture, and dedicated to empowering women and minorities.
Through each collection, the pieces map the history of Moorish patterns from their birth places in Andalusia and North-Africa to places as far as Mexico or India where it was fused with other styles of architecture weaving beautiful stories of cultural and aesthetic coexistence.
Moorish geometric design has settled all over the world showing up across Muslim, Christian and Jewish sites as well as in places that are spiritual but not necessarily religious.
Behind Moors & Saints is founder and creative director, Chama Mechtaly. She has spent has spent over ten years working in interfaith dialogue and championing women, minority and indigenous rights through visual arts.
Moors & Saints’s raison d’être is to promote bridging stories and bring cultures and communities together through design and story-telling.
Chama is also interested in multiplying their social impact through partnerships and donates 10% of profit to UAE based NGO Banat el Emarat, which serves and pushes young women to reach their full potential and pursue projects that tend to the socio-economic needs of various communities in the UAE.
Supporting these initiatives allows the brand to expand their impact and elevate the customer-brand relationship from a commercial one to a more human and sacred one, because what is truly sacred according to Chama is the system of connections, beliefs and rituals that human-beings share.
“We are the Moors, You are the Saints.”
No civilisation was able to rise without migratory movements and the intentional inclusion of minorities or the recruitment of foreign labor. Cultural connections and relationships between people and ideas is precisely what enables progress.” -Chama explains.
Since the recent years have seen a rise in anti-immigrant and “otherizing” rhetoric, Chama wanted to find a way to communicate her deep passion for promoting pluralism and diversity and to remind people that migration and inclusion also make up an essential part of our history.
However, she wanted to achieve this in a way that resonates most with the local community in Dubai using a language they appreciate and value, and therefore, settled on fine jewellery.
I love how the brand has been enabling a sense of belonging and reigniting pride in underrepresented groups and old civilizations.”
An Ambassador Of Peace & Empowerment
Moors & Saints’ social aim extends beyond their customers, starting with how they craft the jewellery. Their pieces range from rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and now cufflinks for men.They also make unique custom-made designs upon request that reflect the multitude of cultures and experiences that many people from our third culture millennial generation carry today.
In addition, they’re made using fine materials such as 18-carat gold and sterling silver. They also use ethically sourced precious and semi-precious stones to adorn a selected pieces.
For instance, the handcrafting process takes place at their partner workshop in Dubai. The local artisans come from a long line of craftsmen with decades worth of experience. which holds an annual celebration to Vishwakarma, the God of divine architect and all of the jewellery pieces are blessed and protected through old rituals of blessing and purification.
Our Jewellery Gift Guide
Treasure yourself or a loved one to the ultimate gift with our selected favourites from each collection.
Moors & Saints first collection, Granada, is inspired by the Andalusian splendour of the Alhambra Palace. It celebrates the octagonal star. This is one of the structure’s most iconic designs. The captivating symbol highlights the most important qualities: modesty and humility.
The Marrakesh collection is most noticeable for its pink tourmalines. It draws inspiration from the glazed cosmic Zellij tiles of the Saadian Tombs. This is the burial site of the Saadi dynasty. Therefore, it’s familiar to every Moroccan artisan with it’s emblematic geometric design. Both pieces beautifully combines traditional craftsmanship and the colours of Marrakesh.
In essence, Moors and Saints serve to remind us that jewellery is far more than just an accessory. It’s a universal tool that has the power to bring communities together.
Each of their pieces celebrates the strength of connection, allowing you to radiate that power each and every day.
Which collection have you fallen in love with? Let us know your favourite pieces in the comments below.
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