For Nadine Hammoud and Cherine Altobaishi, jewelry design is a family affair.
While often mistaken for sisters, Hammoud and Altobaishi are a mother-daughter team launching NC Rocks, a jewelry collection that appeals to a multigenerational customer by combining their shared tastes and design codes. The rings, long pendants, ear cuffs and bracelets in 18-karat gold are distinguished by the use of enamel paired with diamonds, various hues of sapphires, tsavorites and amethysts for a modern Art Deco feel. Seventies flare and abstract art from Picasso, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Al Held also influence the designs.
Based in Dubai, they are in the U.S. to launch the collection for resort with retailers. Hammoud credits her upbringing — “Lebanese-born and London-bred” — and her own mother’s sense of style for her career choice. The designer began by creating charms out of vintage trinkets from flea markets and ancient holy stones found on pilgrimage to Mecca in 2002. She sold the gems by word of mouth to friends and socials, royals and ladies clubs in Saudi Arabia, and at trunk shows at the Ritz and Claridge’s in London and Harvey Nichols and Saks Fifth Avenue in Riyadh.
As for her daughter, Altobaishi lived Stateside in Los Angeles in 2012, pursuing a singing career. Although that didn’t take off, she drank in West Coast culture and started sketching designs for jewelry, and the idea for the line was born.
The duo also styled each other, which inspired the cross-generational concept. According to Hammoud, that’s a family tradition. “I’ve always worn my mother’s things and now Cherine is wearing mine.”
The debut collection ranges in price from $700 for ear clips to a blue-and-white enamel pendant with diamonds for $32,000. The bulk of the collection retails between $1,000 and $7,000. The Web site, nc-rocks.com, also launched this week and will add e-commerce later this year.
— Roxanne Robinson