The mostly instrumental Jimi Hendrix song Third Stone from the Sun could be the soundtrack to this portrait of the woman behind the tantalising jewels of Rosa Maria. Tuning into self-described wild hippie designer Rosy Abourous harmonises perfectly with the jazz-influenced psychedelic rock classic emerging from the speakers. Like Jimi’s sound, her creations are as mystical as they are of the earth — original and bold, feminine and free, stunning to behold and a sensation to wear. Yes. Our conversation was indeed an Experience. So welcome to its fruit.
Born in Beirut, Rosy Abourous began collecting, artistically experimenting and creating early on in life. Buttons. Mother of pearl. Elements of nature. More buttons. This collecting and assembling were early indicators of her sharp eye, attention to detail and capacity to combine disparate pieces into a whole work. Her hippie nature and a yearning to move beyond the tragic constraints of war would push her outside of Lebanon, where she’d already planted strong seeds in fashion and design, and to Amsterdam where she established her name as a designer to watch.
It was in 1998 that Rosa Maria first showed in Paris, and it was in that very show on rue de l’Opera that Rosy caught the attention of Armand Hadida. Shy but confident in her work, Rosy asked, “Do you like my collection?” to which Armand Hadida replied, “Yes, I do, but it’s not going to be for this time.” Heartened by the recognition, Rosy immediately understood that she could have a chance to “belong to his landscape”. Two collections later, LECLAIREUR started selling Rosa Maria jewellery, and the beginning of what is now a long, deep friendship between the creators and their respective families was forged. The dynamic between them is fluid and faithful, which is hardly surprising given the aesthetic kinship and the family-founded operations run by each of them. LECLAIREUR is Rosa Maria’s home in Paris.
Rosy refers to the Beirut studio which has been making her pieces since the 90s, as a lab. When she discovered it, its two founders were fabricators of classic fine jewellery. She asked them to create some pieces based on her ‘collages’ — assembled influences and items from over the years. “It’s like a puzzle, in which someone puts the pieces together to create different combinations”, explains Rosy. It took about one year for the two lab owners and their jewellers to become expert with the ancient, Ottoman era smithing and setting techniques that comprise her signature look. And by then, they had become so enthralled with their return to true handcraft, and with the magnetism, generosity and vast creativity that Rosy brings to the work, that they ended up devoting all their resources to the Rosa Maria line.
And yes, yes — what about this epic line? Riding the frontier between organic and geometric, roughness and elegance, Rosa Maria’s jewels mix silver and gold with unique, rose cut diamonds, rubies, sapphires and topazes, among other precious stones. Each piece is fabricated and each stone set by hand, infused with timeless, liberated soul. From statement pieces to daintier stacking rings, from long and large circular pavé-ed pendants to the most feminine of drop earrings, Rosa Maria shapes recall fundamental symbols reinvented throughout human history, but here, they are ever so sublimely reinvented by her. The hammered shanks, organic rose cuts and sweeping pavés on our fingers make us feel like modern luxury love warriors — ancient, bohemian, soul stirring and avant garde, all at once.
Rosa Maria jewellery would have looked right at home on Jimi’s fingers as they flew over his strings. Just as they will look right at home on yours.