Despite initially pursuing a career in physics, then finance and luxury PR, London-based Dalia Daou always felt as though jewellery was her calling. ‘The longer I stayed away, the stronger my motivation became,’ she says. ‘And of course, fine jewellery is part of my heritage.’
Three years ago, Daou reignited the namesake brand that her late grandfather, Georges Daou, founded in Beirut in 1930. Continued by George’s son AG Daou, it made royal appointment to King Hussein of Jordan in 1966, and in 1967, the house created a decorative cross for his Holiness Pope Paul VI. ‘It seemed disrespectful to not speak to that story that is part of me and my understanding of jewellery,’ she explains.
Daou’s collections are a thoughtful culmination of past and present, melding select references from the brand’s archive – such as the use of vivid gemstones and fine opals – with a modern femininity. ‘There’s a light energy in the designs, they look elegant and feel beautiful to wear,’ she says.
‘Bird of Paradise’ archive brooch, in yellow and white gold with coral, diamonds and ruby cabochons
For her autumn/winter 2017 outing, she sought inspiration from the mythological phoenix to signify the renewal, resistance and rarity of Daou jewellery. Flickering flames and the ruffle of coloured plumage are interpreted imaginatively throughout. Solid gold feather ear climbers display a shock of turquoise cabochons, a delicate pendant necklace mirrors the silhouette of an exotic bird in flight, while a cluster of rose quartz, opal and pink tourmaline stones form cocktail earrings.
The ear climbers, Daou explains, are a direct take on a pair of feather earrings that her father designed in the early 1970s. ‘He was way ahead of his time,’ she says. ‘They were once described to me as Wonder Woman earrings, which sums up the Daou wearer perfectly – self-assured and independent.’
In the spirit of the collection, the lookbook proudly showcases pieces against a backdrop of vintage Daou photographs. ‘For me personally, jewellery is intrinsically linked to our family. It has love, longevity and richness in myriad ways,’ she concludes.