Jewelry has always enjoyed a prominent place in Moroccan society. A social indicator, as family heritage and even as an investment, the heavier and more sophisticated the adornment, the greater the prestige, the perfect example is the famous gold mdamma (traditional belt) that young brides received as a dowry. However, for decades, many have tended to abandon traditional jewelry, as it is difficult and heavy to wear on a daily basis.
The jewelry brand Dihyan, designed by Youssra Nichane and co-founded with Nicole Abate, was born as a beautiful tribute to Moroccan craftsmanship and has the goal of reconnecting woman to their roots by transforming jewels dating from the 17th to the 19th century into everyday pieces adapted to the present, as a” revival” of the wearing of Moroccan jewels with a “modern twist “. The pieces work by “lightening” the designs of traditional jewels, creating jewels that Dihyan intends to inspire woman to wear to accessorize their outfits.
The unique pieces are made by hand from individual parts by local artisans in the country’s cultural capital Fès. The designs are labor-intensive and the true heroes and heroines behind the creations are the house’s enamellers and goldsmiths. Nichane and Abate stand by them strongly through their brand in order to keep this form of art moving forward in North Africa, and to conserve the talent and hard work of the hands that make the brand a possibility.
The brand’s DNA is chic without being ostentatious, precious yet affordable and traditional without being weighty. An array of semiprecious stones carefully picked for each creation and intertwined by silk threads are set on 24 ct gold plated silver. Jewelry is one of the most personal and intimate forms of art. It is capable of expressing deep emotions, while remaining at the heart of fashion.
Passionate about jewelry and with a deep-rooted love for her culture since childhood, creative director Youssra Nichane has a call for the art of creating jewelry. Her biggest spur for going forward with her dream was the attention she grabbed from fashionistas and designers while wearing traditional pieces from her private collection during Paris Fashion Week, a realization that pushed her to develop the idea further and imagine her own collection. With one goal in mind, breathing new life into Moroccan jewelry to create real fashion pieces, she was determined to move forward.
She discussed the idea with her friend Nicole Abate, an expert in arts and culture and a great lover of antique jewelry, living between Miami, New York and London. Together, they took Dihyan’s first steps by joining forces as they knew the brand would quickly have the opportunity to travel the world and make an impact in the global jewelry market through its one of a kind designs and traditional roots.
Full of history, inherited from generation to generation, the craftsmanship of Moroccan goldsmiths remains the soul of Dihyan. Local artisans have been highly impacted by the current pandemic, and Diyhan works with talented creatives from Fès, – one of the oldest cities in the African country- while also donating a percentage of its profits to a collective of local women founded by Dihyan, in order to teach them the goldsmith’s trade, a sector mainly dominated by men; it’s goal being to create jewelry made by women for women.
Dihyan’s Drawings – From Imagination to Reality
It was during the pandemic while the world took a pause when the first images of Dihyan came to life. Nichane found great pleasure in drawing and made it a fountain of creation for what she had previously imagined as the first designs of the brand. During the creation process, each pearl, stone and element were meticulously selected and conceptualized in sketches to be later reinterpreted by the Moroccan silversmiths that brought Dihyan into existence.