Aya is a diamantaire who heads her own small business – Fyne (@fynejewellery)- producing high quality, sustainable and ethical jewellery. Aya describes Fyne’s jewellery as being tailored to the “modern minimalist woman – one who carries a sophisticated rebellion – a woman who will stand up for what she believes in and for the positive change she wants to see in the world.” Through her finely crafted jewellery, Aya celebrates not only her Lebanese heritage but also promotes powerful messages about women empowerment.
In June 2020, in honour of World Refugee Day, Aya lent her business as a platform to raise awareness about Habibi.Works.
We asked Aya to share a bit more about herself, her vision, background and sources of inspiration.
Could you tell us a little more about yourself and your background?
I’m a third generation Lebanese diamantaire, who was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium. My family left Lebanon during the civil war to look for better opportunities and a stable life to raise our family. Although I never lived in Lebanon, our family used to vacation there every summer and I am still am very much attached to my Middle Eastern roots.
I have always been very mathematical and really enjoyed studying Finance and Real Estate in London. So it’s actually quite a surprise to many – including myself – that I decided to go into jewellery!
How did you get started with your craft? How has it evolved since you started?
Prior to launching Fyne, I trained as a diamantaire in Antwerp, Belgium appraising and sourcing rough diamonds. I was the first woman in my family to work in the wholesale diamond market, and one of (if not the only) woman who was working in rough diamond sourcing. For an industry that is made for and advertised largely to women, my gender was extremely underrepresented; That was the first push I felt to do something differently.
While working in Antwerp, I created engagement rings on request as I had access to wholesale diamond prices. I found that there was a huge demand for accessible yet high quality jewellery. That’s when I realised that there was an opportunity to create something beautiful and innovative for my generation: A generation that is conscious about making sustainable and ethical choices but also one that is more price sensitive. I went slightly further and made Fyne all about the modern minimalist woman – one who carries a sophisticated rebellion – a woman who will stand up for what she believes in and for the positive change she wants to see in the world.
Being of Lebanese origin, I decided to bring my vision closer to home: Fyne was launched in Dubai in November of 2019.
I realised that there was an opportunity to create something beautiful and innovative for my generation: A generation that is conscious about making sustainable and ethical choices but also one that is more price sensitive.
What keeps you motivated to keep doing your craft? What inspires you?
I think motivation comes from habit and self-discipline. I’ve always been quite productive and disciplined – even at school. That being said, however, I really enjoy the creative aspect of building a brand and connecting with people. I also think it’s wonderful when you can create something that makes people happy. I love receiving feedback from clients and hearing how my brand values resonate with them. That is enough motivation for me to keep doing what I’m doing.
I feel inspired by successful small business owners – especially women. I love hearing their small success stories and how they’ve been making an impact in their communities. I think during this year, especially, small businesses have come together and supported each other in any way that they can and to see that sense of community building is also very inspiring.
What first led you to want to collaborate with Habibi.Works/Soup and Socks?
From the start, I’ve always had the vision to support regional causes. As a sustainable business, I’m constantly searching for ways to become more ethical, community driven, as well as reduce my impact on the environment. I’m always actively searching for ways that Fyne can collaborate with other like-minded businesses.
I had a friend who had gone to work at Habibi Works for a short time and she had a lovely time meeting all the people involved at the site. What I loved about Habibi Works is that you can feel the sense of community between the locals and makers. I thought Mimi’s vision about how to transform the residents time to become more efficient and impactful was also spot on.
Most of the refugees landing on the Greek shores are from nearby regional countries and I think it is a regional issue as much as it is a European one. So, I thought it would be a good opportunity on World Refugee Day to raise awareness about the wonderful work Habibi Works is doing.
As a sustainable business, I’m constantly searching for ways to become more ethical, community driven, as well as reduce my impact on the environment.
Can you talk a bit about the inspiration/meaning behind your designs?
FYNE Jewellery comprises of three main collections:
Dahlia: Embracing founder Aya Ahmad’s rich Middle Eastern heritage, Dahlia fuses together contemporary floral patterns with traditional Islamic motifs to deliver a bold collection that radiates modernity and individuality.
Zora: Celebrating untamed designs for untamed spirits; the Zora collection features intentionally rough edges designed to empower women to defiantly embrace the quirks, idiosyncrasies and imperfections that make them so unique.
Adilah: Inspired by the spirit of International Women’s Day, the Adilah collection’s recognisable gold circle design pays homage to the collective effort of women supporting women. A single diamond offsets the minimalistic design; a reflection of the endless potential of its wearer.
Is there any message you’d like to share with our audience?
Thank you for listening to my story! I wish you all a hopeful and safe New Year.
If you’d like to own one of these stunning pieces of jewellery for yourself, visit Aya’s Fyne Jewellery shop here.