My Life in Jewelry: A Memoir (Hardcover)

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My Life in Jewelry: A Memoir By Azza Fahmy, Sarah Enany (Translator) Cover Image
By Azza Fahmy, Sarah Enany (Translator)
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"How a female artisan became the Arab world's top jewelry designer"--CNBC on Azza Fahmy

The inspiring personal story of an exceptional female artist and entrepreneur who overcame great obstacles to become one of the most recognized jewelers in the Arab world and an international luxury brand

In the Egypt of the 1970s, a young Azza Fahmy set out into the all-male world of Historic Cairo's jewelry district to apprentice as a silversmith. This was the start of a remarkable success story that would make her name an international luxury brand. With warmth and candor, she recalls a happy childhood in Upper Egypt, spent in the bygone world of postwar Egypt. This idyllic start to life ended abruptly with the death of her father, when Azza Fahmy was only thirteen, and the family was forced to move to Cairo, to begin a new life under much reduced circumstances.

It was a chance find at a book fair that changed the course of events for her--sparking a passion for silversmithing, and inspiring her to seek out the master craftsmen of Khan al-Khalili, the great craft district of Historic Cairo, and the nearby Sagha, or goldsmiths' and silversmiths' district. Through her intimate knowledge of these jewelry workshops, Azza Fahmy takes us through the quarter's exquisite architecture and bustling alleyways, peopled with silversmiths, goldsmiths, brass workers, and artisans of every stripe, and lays out the indelible influence this now disappearing world has left on her acclaimed jewelry designs.

While Azza Fahmy's story is one of great accomplishment, woven through it are her struggles as a single mother, a middle-class Egyptian, and a woman working in a man's profession. This memoir, a tribute to the people and places that shaped her creative imagination, is also an ode to the conviction that with hope and perseverance, anything is possible.

About the Author

Azza Fahmy was born in 1945 and raised in Sohag, in Upper Egypt. She graduated in interior design from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Egypt, became the first female apprentice to several of the best jewelers in Cairo, and studied jewelry craft at the City of London Polytechnic. She now makes and markets her own jewelry internationally with multiple stores, in Egypt, London, Jordan, Dubai, and at She is the author of Enchanted Jewelry of Egypt (AUC Press, 2007) and The Traditional Jewelry of Egypt (AUC Press, 2015). Sarah Enany is a literary translator and a professor in the English Department at Cairo University. She is a recipient of the Saif-Ghobash Banipal Prize for Literary Translation for her translation of The Girl with Braided Hair (Hoopoe, 2020).
Product Details
ISBN: 9781649032898
ISBN-10: 1649032897
Publisher: American University in Cairo Press
Publication Date: January 30th, 2024
Pages: 416
Language: English