Nada Zeineh followed her bliss; it led her to create unique hand-crafted jewelry and a beautiful life.

“Nature brings you back to what you really are,” said Nada Zeineh, architect by training, jewelry designer in practice. Her interest in nature is evident in her bright showroom on the fifth floor of the Kassir Building in Sursock, Beirut.

“Nature brings you back to what you really are.”

Its white walls are punctuated by golden leaves and natural olive branches, reflecting the Greco-Roman style of ancient times. Golden dragonflies and stylized gold stars with turquoise centers sparkle, along with the simple display of elegant jewelry.

In a one-on-one interview with HOME Magazine, Zeineh talked about what attracted her to jewelry design and how nature inspires her.

Zeineh’s journey to jewelry design started as an architectural student at the American University of Beirut. She is still inspired by abstract geometrical shapes inherent to her training as an architect.

After living for 10 years in France, she came back to Lebanon in 1994 and signed several projects, including the Soap Museum in Saida and the AUB Museum, where she has worked with her husband, the architect Youssef Haidar.

Through the years, Zeineh realized architecture was not the career for her. “I used to be very stressed because architects need a lot of patience, tolerance and dedication to work with people.” Even the idea of pursuing a career in interior architecture feels constraining, she said. The designer is limited by people’s choices. “People should do their own interior. Dealing directly with clients and their specific needs, I can’t be free to work the way I want to.”

But her years in the architectural field were a stepping stone that provided a strong foundation for her jewelry design, she said. “It helps me when I think about designing. I think about 3D, comfort and affordability.”

“I drive for him and he cooks for me.”

When designing jewelry, Zeineh feels free, she said. Enchanted with the world of handmade jewelry, she creates objects with joy. She is not market driven, but rather she follows her art – and her heart.

Since the beginning, 32 years ago when she first started designing, Nada enjoyed working with her hands and creating pieces out of nothing. Success came as a result of this pleasure and at one point she worked hard to develop her work and improve it. So, developing her craft became her main focus back then.

“I want to take time to live.”

Zeineh has not only learned how to create beautiful jewelry; she has learned to create a beautiful life. “I could have grown my business much more, but I decided not to because there are priorities in life. I don’t want work to take from the pleasure of life. I want to take time to live, such as sharing memorable moments with people – walks in the mountains, enjoying nature, dreaming and not being stressed by time.”

As her love for design has grown, so has her passion for nature. She and her husband Haidar bought and restored an old peasant house in the wilderness of the Chouf region, where they are surrounded by nature and coyotes. As a couple, they enjoy making honey and planting thyme. “I drive for him and he cooks for me,” she said about their mutually agreeable arrangement.

“My luxury is to be able to do exclusively what I like to do.”

Zeineh said she enjoys disconnecting herself from people and connecting with nature and its magical beauty.

One of her latest collections, “Spring of Bkerzay,” was created out of her love for the wilderness where she spent her time; it later became known as Bkerzay village. “Many of my collections are inspired by Bkerzay’s charm, the beauty of its nature, its tiny flowers and insects.”

“My luxury is to be able to do exclusively what I like to do,” she said. “I am privileged. I like the process of creating and designing and specifically working with my own hands.” This made her fall in love with pottery that she is still enjoying and practicing until now.

“We as humans, we are nothing.”

“I needed to go back to basics, to the trees, planting and sound of birds.”

“Finally, we as humans, we are nothing.”

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