Azza Fahmy
Illustrations by Zoë Frederick

Azza Fahmy (1912–1997)

Azza Fahmy, an Egyptian entrepreneur, established her eponymous jewelry brand in 1969 in Cairo. Fahmy and her daughters now run an international company in an industry typically dominated by men in Western cultures, with more than 170 employees running stores in six countries and an e-commerce site. Inspired by her Arab and Middle Eastern heritage, Fahmy’s jewelry incorporates calligraphy and Arabic poetry and pharaonic designs. It has been worn by royalty, politicians and celebrities including Rihanna. In 2006, she created jewels for Julien Macdonald’s catwalk show as part of a two-year collaboration with the fashion designer, the first of many partnerships in the fashion world. Fahmy was named one of the 25 most influential businesswomen in the Middle East by the Financial Times in 2007.

Quote Azza Fahmy
“To immortalize heritage, some write books, others take pictures, on the other hand, we design jewelry.” –Azza Fahmy

This feature originally appeared in the Mothers & Grandmothers issue. For more inspiring stories about women, check out What I Learned as a Woman Traveling Alone and our Women In History section.