"The name is based on the Berber warrior queen Dihya"
How did you come to the idea of creating Dihyan? and what is the inspiration behind the name?
Passionate about jewelry since childhood, it was while wearing traditional pieces from her private collection that caught the attention of others during her last Paris Fashion Week that Youssra entertained the idea of creating for the first time. Dihyan, then emerged when Youssra’s passion for traditional Arabian jewelry meets Nicole’s fascination for ancient cultures. Their shared interests resulted in this new project, a one of a kind jewelry line crafted out of delicately curated semi-precious stones combined with silver and gold-plated accents, all handmade in Fès, Morocco by local artisans.
The name is based on the Berber warrior queen Dihya which perfectly represents not only the two female entrepreneurs behind the brand but also the Amazing Arab traditions which inspire the design and creation of the jewels.
What is the strongest principle you both have as the founders of Dihyan? What do you love most about being female co-founders?
Create jewels that keep the tradition of the Moroccan heritage, modernize it and globally recognized while helping the artisans that make them to remain relevant and creating work for them with our brand. We love to create beauty for woman with our pieces but most importantly give the opportunity to other woman by creating new jobs for them while giving them the opportunity to learn new skills on the art of craftmanship. The goal is to keep these individuals and small businesses alive and not give up on mass production while mastering our creativity and bringing it to the world through their magic hands.
Can you talk about the artisans you work with? What is their story and the history of their craft? How long does it take to make a Dihyan necklace or earrings?
At Dihyan, one of our priorities is to showcase Moroccan craftsmanship and exceptional savoir-faire. We make sure that all our pieces are handmade with the best resources. It is important for us to advertise this outside Morocco. Before launching the first collection, a trip to Fes, the heart and soul of Moroccan artisans, was necessary to find the best and brightest in order to bring the designs to life. There, Youssra meets an exceptional workshop master who will eventually make her dreams come true. “Magic hands” she said. “You should know that working with silver is more complicated than working with gold. I am very lucky to have been able to meet these craftsmen. It’s a magical moment when you see your sketches come to life for the first time”. Part of Dihyan profits are donated to a small cooperative of Moroccan women, and Dihyan is working on a project to teach them this craft because there are very few women in the goldsmith’s trade.
“We really want Dihyan jewels to be done by women for women”
What is your artisan mission goal? (i.e. How would you define your main goal in affecting people with your brand? Do you aim for people to be conscious of the effort behind the product creation? Or do you want them to appreciate the Moroccan culture? Or something else?)
By lightening traditional models, Dihyan intends to review the way we style our outfits and wear jewelry. The collection is handmade and revisits ancient pieces to adapt them to the 21st century without losing their historic values. Chic without being ostentatious, precious without being too much and traditional without being old, these gems adapt to every outfit (caftans, evening dress, or any daily outfit).The company’s leitmotif: “Before, in the 1930s to 1950s, Moroccan women wore traditional jewelry every day; while cooking, while entertaining for tea… we wanted to bring it back into our daily life. But this time in an easier, cooler way, without feeling like you're wearing a big and heavy piece of jewelry.”
Do you have favorite pieces from Dihyan, how do you style them in your daily life?
Even if the collection only started to appear on the radar of fashionistas, some of the pieces are already on the way to becoming real icons. Like Izlane (meaning "fluid" in Berber). A flexible long necklace with a central golden cylinder set with jade stones and red agates. Another must-have is the Lahna necklace (meaning “happiness”) with its intertwined threads, or the “Joher”, a beautifully designed choker to accentuate every outfit. Otherwise, alert fans of earrings: Mi-Chanas or Fassas, sparkling pendants with agathes, boost any outfit lacking in sparkle.