Surra Rashid”, who was nicknamed as the “Mistress of Gold and Pearl” in Kuwait, introduced herself to the public.
She said that she was instructed in designing jewels in London (the capital city of the United Kingdom) and her mentors were senior goldsmiths at Al-Mubarakia gold market in Kuwait.
She was among the women who came to the gold market at Al-Mubarakia.
Surra Rashid traded in gold and pearl and she owned a shop after that trade was monopolized by men throughout history.
She interviewed “SEE” and talked about her career in designing jewels.
“SEE”: Can you give a general glimpse of your start with designing jewels?
*S. Rashid: Designing jewels was a hobby since my early years.
I reshaped jewels during my childhood and added new ideas to make them seem different and distinguished.
“SEE”: What did you study?
*S. Rashid: I went to university to study civil engineering and worked with the Ministry of Public Works in Kuwait for ten years then I retired after deciding to design jewels.
I went to London in 2008 to join one institute of designing jewels for a year. When I returned to Kuwait in 2009, I decided to open a small to produce items made of silver. Over four years, I used websites of social media to market my works.
In 2013, I opened a shop at Al-Mubarakia, the marketplace of gold in Kuwait, where I tried to hone my talent through the special bids of customers.
“SEE”: What diplomas have you obtained in the field?
S. Rashid : I obtained a number of diplomas in the field of designing jewels, among them the diploma of designing of the Higher Institute of Jewels in London, the diplomas of H.R d’ Antwerp, the Netherlands, a pioneer institute in examining and authorizing diamond, and the GIA diploma authorized by the US Institute of Sciences of Precious Stones.
“SEE”: What challenges did you face when you started?
S. Rashid: I had faced a number of challenges when I started working in the field of designing jewels because I don’t belong to a family of goldsmiths or jewellers. Also, I had neither then experience nor a stock of gold, precious stones.
“SEE”: As a woman has anybody harassed you when you started working in the marketplace of gold in Kuwait?
S. Rashid: When I started working in the gold market in Kuwait, all merchants were men so I was harassed as some people doubted that I couldn’t work at that trade. But I could deal with merchants and ask some of them to train and take care of me. This approach opened many closed doors for me and they called me “Mistress of the gold market”.
“SEE”: You’re the first female “tawwah” in Kuwait, what is the meaning of that word?
S. Rashid: I am the first “tawwah” in Kuwait.
That word means the pearl dealer who deals directly with divers who extract mother pearls of the Gulf.
The tawwah also assesses the pearl beads.
It is worth noting that extracting pearl was an important profession in the Gulf region during the last decades but it became a hobby now, it went through a crisis in the region as it is on the verge of disappearance.
I learned from senior pearl dealers in Bahrain how to sell, buy and assess to distinguish the natural pearl from the artificial one. I lost $ 9 thousand after buying an artificial pearl.
Translated by Ahmed Moamar