Interview with Walid, Alia and Dori Mouzannar
LEFT TO RIGHT: Rhea, Dori, Walid, Claude and Alia Mouzannar, Courtesy of Mouzannar
To say that Mouzannar is an industry name would be to state the obvious. The family has been synonymous with jewellery since The House of Aziz and Walid Mouzannar’s beginnings in the 18th century, a full six generations ago.
Neither time nor war has decreased the family’s ardour or ambition. What sets them apart is their ability to accept the inevitability of change and adapt to it. Today both the fifth and sixth generation are involved in the family business. Cousins Alia and Dori are currently in charge of design, bringing two distinct styles to their family heritage.
In their busy Beirut flagship store, Tharawat spoke to Walid Mouzannar, his daughter, Alia, and nephew, Dori, about their heritage and creating jewellery that matters.
Two generations are working together. What was it like taking on such a heritage?
Walid: For me, my heritage is my vocation. I was always a part of this atmosphere. At the age of eighteen I knew I wanted to be in this business. I never regretted it. When I started, we were focused on traditional designs. I brought some evolution, some modern thinking, and introduced the use of semi-precious stones. Working with professional artisans is working with artists. You need to evolve continuously.
We are now handing the torch to the next generation. I am part of the fifth generation, and we are now working with our sixth generation. With Alia, Dori, and Rhea, I am surrounded by my child, my niece, and my nephew – what more could I ask for? It is a blessing for us to know that our legacy will be carried on.
Alia, are you the first woman to join the firm?
Alia: My cousin Rhea started working with the company first, paving the road for me. I am probably the first woman in the family to design jewellery. When I joined the family business it was a combination of joy and responsibility. It is a great opportunity to have a name. I told my father, “You have given me a last name, now I want to make a first name for myself.” My background is in interior decoration. Being part of our business has allowed me to actualise my design aspirations in collaboration with great artisans.