Morocco is a country with a rich and diverse history spanning several millennia. In it’s lifetime, Morocco has been home to an extensive variety of demographics; beginning with the indigenous Berber people in the first millennium BC, and continuing with colonisation and invasions by the Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantine Empire, Arabs, Moors(Spanish) & French.
With each colonisation and invasion, came a new set of influences in terms of architecture, style and tradition. To this day, Morocco is a hot melting pot of traditions and aesthetics which are a testament to each era of rule in Morocco.
The indigenous Berber people have remained strong throughout each invasion and colonisation and although the numbers of people practicing Berber traditions have diminished vastly, there are still whole families who are committed to continuing these traditions and keeping the native Berber tribe’s languages alive.
These days many of the historical adornments worn by the indigenous tribes of the Maghreb, can be found gracing the halls of museums and galleries around Marrakech. Unfortunately, many antique silver and resin beads are now being bought out by the Chinese market for very cheap prices – those pieces are then melted down for their weight and used to create modern jewellery. This practice is very bad news for antiques collectors, jewellery traders and the indigenous Berber tribes heritage. The imitation Amber beads coming out of China, are made by melting down real Amber and combining it with cheap plastic resin to create heavier pieces which are then sold at extortionate prices to unaware customers.
The internationally renowned jeweller of Marrakech Faouzy Mg’hete, is one of the Moroccan artisans committed to preserving antique adornment of Maghreb. His beautifully kept store can be found in the way of Mouassine, and you will recognise it instantly by it’s carved wooden front & eye-catching window displays which are changed regularly.
Faouzy believes that it is paramount to preserve Berber history and educate people about their peaceful and non-consuming way of life. There are many lessons that the modern man can learn in terms of humility and respect for the Earth, by taking a detailed look at the lifestyles of these tribes. His contribution to this preservation, is via the medium of jewellery design and creation.
Faouzy purchases examples of antique pieces in various conditions, which are sourced from all over North Africa and beyond. He breaks down the jewellery into elements and then rebuilds each piece to a contemporary style which is more wearable to the modern customer. Where possible, he honours the traditional combinations of pieces and repurposes them into something magnificent. For him, cultural significance is hugely relevant in each of his designs – and if you are to purchase a piece of jewellery from Faouzy then he will be happy to give you a detailed history of each element.
His stylish, contemporary and historical pieces are a big deal in the jewellery market. Clients from far and wide are excited to buy their first “Faouzy design”, especially those with an interest in ethnic jewellery and it’s cultural significance.
Faouzy is multi-lingual and very charming, a visit to his shop is guaranteed to leave you feeling happy, educated and perhaps with lighter pockets!
You can find this jewellery store on our FREE Marrakech Riad Travel Guide App today.