Images Courtesy of Jude Benhalim
Cairo-based jeweler Jude Benhalim recently caught our eye with designs that are a strong nod to geometry and architecture. Her creative aesthetics have undoubtedly been influenced by her world: her mom works in the fashion industry and her dad is an architect. That said, an interesting mix of materials – sterling silver and gold-plated brass with custom-made resin stones – not only evolved into Jude’s USP, but also made it appealing.
It was a school project that drew Jude into designing. “I chose to make a debut collection of beaded pieces and sold it at a bazar exhibition for charity,” says Jude, who launched her brand in 2011 with her mother, Rana Al Azm. “My mom, until this day, is a vital part of the company and manages the operations.”
Jude works with a team of skilled Egyptian craftsmen and does sample trials until she is satisfied with the final prototype. “I then test the quality and practicality of the piece by wearing it and going out. This helps me assess the extent of its comfort,” she explains.
Having studied filmmaking in the American University in Cairo, Jude dreams of becoming a director. “Although studying film was completely unrelated to jewelry design, it opened up my eyes to many gender related ideologies that eventually became a key conceptual force for my brand.” Jude has since been creating pieces that “encourage women to powerfully embrace and express their individuality” as is reflected in the jewelry.
The Goddess of Dawn collection was a collaboration with artists Naila Marei and Shadden Fahim. “They are my friends and I’ve long admired their unique art. Each of them hand-painted three original designs onto our Aurora chokers and bracelets.” These paintings drew upon goddesses of ancient civilizations as well as symbols and traits from mythology. For her latest line, Urban Rebel, featuring cubes, hoops and cut-out patterns Jude explored the city and urban landscape. With expansion plans on the anvil, Jude continues to “tell a relatable story” through her designs, while also “inspiring women to feel empowered.”