Maher Khansaheb: New-age Traditionalist

Designer Maher Khansaheb encapsulates the essence of Emirati culture and heritage in his creations for Misk, a jewellery label that he founded in early 2020.

Maher Khansaheb’s fine jewellery brand was a “pandemic baby.” The world ground to a halt, impacting potential launches. For Maher, this concluded in a trip back to his drawing board and the atelier. He saw a creative opportunity amid the upheaval; he got busy transforming his bejewelled dreams into reality. Maher launched Misk in March 2020.

Maher Khansaheb

“It worked well for us due to the increase in online purchasing; we do not have a store yet and I believe the buying market dynamics worked in our favour,” says the founder of the emerging Emirati fine jewellery label.

The Al Noor collection comprising contemporary lines – Blossom, Lace, Harmony, Harf, Mosaic and Heritage – reimagine traditional Emirati motifs. The pieces, set with precious and semi-precious gemstones, are made in 18-karat gold, while opal, lapis lazuli, malachite, turquoise, rose quarts and agate beads are mounted alongside diamonds and coloured enamel in the jewellery that is handcrafted in Dubai.

Earrings from the Al Noor Heritage by Misk

Maher employs gloss finish in many of the pieces that often borrow on intricate patterns and silhouettes from traditional Emirati jewellery. Embarking on his own creative vision, Maher offers a fresh take on his wearable designs – a cultural milieu of Emirati heritage is key to Misk. The rings, bangles, cuffs, bracelets, necklaces, chokers, and earrings are instantly recognizable as the designer’s own. His grandfather, Maher confesses, has been a huge inspiration to his collections. “My grandfather has always been a mentor to me both in my business and my personal life,” adds the designer.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Dubai. My family is deeply rooted in the Emirati heritage with its million-dollar construction and investment business. I set out to further my business and finance skills in Paris with a Master’s in Finance. The aim, on returning, was to take over as the Director of Finance in our investments business group.

How did Dubai and its culture influence you?

I was deeply inspired by my grandfather’s love for collecting artefacts and jewels from around the world. I would admire them and as I grew up and learnt from him more about jewellery it served to spark my interest in gems, diamonds, and jewellery.

Pendant and earrings from the Al Noor Harmony collection by Misk.

How did you transition into designing jewellery?

My dream was to be able to invest in something that I am deeply passionate about: creating pieces that carry our heritage, that people have been adorning for years and bringing it to the current and future generation has motivated me to segue from my finance career into doing something that excites my creative soul.

The Misk atelier

What materials appealed most to you when you launched Misk?

I’d have to say gems and diamonds – working with these two together, with their magnificent properties and glorious colours, inspired me to put together creations that jewellery lovers like me would love to flaunt and treasure. The name of the brand, Misk, is an abbreviation of my name.

What has had the deepest influence on your creativity?

Well, that would definitely be my grandfather’s art collection and natural gemstones, blending magically with gold and diamonds. That influenced me to create the collections for Misk.

Model showing off Misk jewellery.

What role do diamonds and geometry play in the design, especially in the debut line, Al Noor, with its Heritage necklaces. They are quite lovely!

Thank you, it is our hero collection, the most loved by our clients. The line also embodies our tradition, heritage, Emirati architecture, blending beautifully with gold diamonds and gemstones to make it look like a piece of heritage. We created first our pattern that is incorporated in all our collections for the Heritage collection. It was inspired by the traditional Emirati gold jewellery, a demi-circle shape with an intertwined pattern, and set in brilliant-cut diamonds. The pieces are framed by a ‘perlee’ row of agate beads. 

Al Noor Lace earrings by Misk.

Would you elaborate on your creative process?

Most of my creative ideas are first discussed with my production manager to check the feasibility, then penned down with our designer in factory. It is, then, finalised once I have the best 3-D design of the inspired piece.

Are you dropping any new collection shortly?

We have beautiful pieces coming up for our pre-Ramadan show. The designs capture the beauty of the month. Also, we will be launching new high jewellery pieces for occasional wear for Eid and weddings as well.

Where is Misk currently available?

They are available online on our brand’s website. We also offer home service to view the collections in most of the cities in the UAE.

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