Fatima Al Dhaheri’s Dual Pursuit: Excellence in Amwaj and Innovations with Ruwaya

Fatima Al Dhaheri aims to create exceptional jewels for her family-run brand Amwaj, while exploring new styles for her own line, Ruwaya.

Fatima Al Dhaheri, head designer and managing director of Amwaj, breathes new life into high jewellery.

Amwaj, launched in 1999, in Abu Dhabi, has since been an enduring force in the regional jewellery landscape. Her family has been into the business of precious gems and jewellery for a very long time, and all the pieces are made at the family’s atelier in the heart of Abu Dhabi.

A desire to refine skills and delve into the intricacies of diamonds and coloured stones, spurred Fatima on a creative and academic path.

“The academic journey laid the foundation for my role as the founder of Amwaj,” Fatima says. “At Amwaj, creativity, quality, and exceptional craftsmanship are paramount,” she informs. Encouraged by her father, she joined the family business in 2010. “I channelled my know-how into reimagining Amwaj and transforming it.”

As Amwaj grew from strength-to-strength, her father urged her to launch her own brand and explore her passion for design further.

Ruwaya, her fine jewellery brand thus founded in 2015, narrates the story of “Emirati heritage through a contemporary lens.”

Fatima Al Dhaheri

Who kindled in you the love of jewels?

My mother, of course, was my biggest role model in life — and her sense of style, fashion and bold choices in jewellery fascinated me. It all started with my love of playing dress up with her jewellery at a very young age. Now, I recreate those experiences for women with my jewellery. This is why I encourage them to try on the pieces and have fun with it.

The Art Deco-inspired bridal diamond necklace laced with graduating emerald drops.

Do share with us your fond memories of jewellery?

Jewellery design comes from my need to express myself as well as the need to narrate my stories. The jewellery that we decide to wear every day is an extension of our character and how we choose to express ourselves. My fond memories of jewellery are intertwined with moments of creating these meaningful pieces. Each design tells a unique story, and the process of bringing these stories to life is a memory I cherish. Witnessing the joy and connection that people feel when they wear our designs is a continued source of inspiration and fulfilment. I’d say jewellery, truly, is an experience more than anything else.

What drew you to jewellery? 

The allure of jewellery and, in particular, its ability to tell stories and capture emotions, drew me to it. My father’s legacy and the family’s deep connection to the jewellery business sparked a profound love for jewels in me. The idea of creating pieces that go beyond a jewellery piece and become a wearable art became a driving force in my journey as a designer.

Jewellery from the Eclipse collection.

How did you begun designing jewellery?

I learned the ropes of jewellery-making through a combination of academic study and hands-on experience.

Studying at the Gemological Institute of America provided me with the technical knowledge, and immersing myself in the family business allowed me to understand the intricacies of craftsmanship. It’s a constant learning process — every creation contributes to refining my skills.

I also travel quite a bit. It helps challenge and evolve my existing knowledge in the craft of jewellery, and interacting with various creative talents globally expands my horizons.

Arresting Art Deco diamond and ruby earrings.

What was your debut collection for Amwaj?

My debut collection consisted of a series of bespoke high jewellery pieces. That clearly marked a new chapter for the brand, as it featured pieces designed with stunning gems that I had personally sourced. Among them were some gemstones that I had handpicked during my travels.

A scintillating diamond necklace.

What inspires you? Does your heritage often influence your creative work?

Our tradition, culture and heritage are the source of inspiration. My designs are a reflection on how I perceive the world around me.

Our traditional gold jewellery, the layers and layers of decadent gold adorning the women from head-to-toe — all tell the story of our history, resilience, and powerful women in society.

The love of adornment, I would say, was almost an inevitable infatuation that was ingrained into me at a very young age. Over the years, I’ve refined Amwaj’s bespoke and high jewellery collections based on my perception of the world. It is also informed by my interactions with inspiring women in the UAE and their personal stories.

Bridal diamond necklace.

You participated at the Couture Show in USA a few years ago. How did that help your brand grow?

Participating at the Couture Show was a significant milestone. It provided us with a platform to showcase our unique and contemporary designs, garner recognition and appreciation on an international scale. The exposure and connections made during this event has enabled us to elevate the brand’s presence globally.

Which shows do you usually participate in?

We participate in prestigious shows and exhibitions that align with our commitment to quality and creativity: these include events that provide a platform to showcase our designs to a wider audience, and foster connections with industry professionals and jewellery enthusiasts.

What is your vision for Amwaj in 2024?

The vision for 2024 revolves around strategic business growth. We aim to expand our footprint internationally, exploring new markets, collaborating with like-minded partners — as well as pushing the boundaries of our craft. Our goal is to establish Amwaj as a global name that is synonymous with exceptional craftsmanship and contemporary elegance.

Fan-shaped emerald and diamond earrings.

Tell us about the new collection Eclipse.

The Eclipse is inspired by glimmers of light, when the sun, the moon and the earth are perfectly aligned. Featuring baguette and round-cut diamonds, this collection takes its inspiration from the captivating stories of celestial bodies. We are currently creating new iterations. Don’t miss it!

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