Monday March 4th, 2024
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Stories in Sterling: Sandbox Jewelry Intersects Concept & Craft

This is the tale of two sisters who battled as a family to forge a generational legacy.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

Stories in Sterling: Sandbox Jewelry Intersects Concept & Craft

Founded in 2016, Sandbox, an Egyptian jewellery label, finds its roots in childhood trips to Cairo's Al Hussein street during summer vacations. The founders, sisters Suhayla and Nada Al Sheikh, were inspired by their mother, a jewellery designer, who crafted stones into intricate adornments.

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, the sisters absorbed the artistry displayed by their mother and the wanderlust of their father. Suhayla's foray into conceptual jewellery began in 2015 when she fulfilled requests from friends and family, leading to her inaugural collection, 'Rising from the Ruins.'

Armed with a degree in visual arts, Suhayla Al Sheikh founded Sandbox in 2016, introducing an innovative approach that melds conceptual artistry with market demands. According to Suhayla, "Visual arts teach you how to conceptualise, creating connections between seemingly disconnected elements," underscoring its significance in her craft.

The collection 'Cicatrix,' created in collaboration with burn victims, faced challenges, prompting Suhayla to navigate the delicate balance between mainstream appeal and storytelling. This marked the evolution of Sandbox into a brand that seamlessly blends creative concepts with larger causes.

Sandbox's collections, such as 18k gold honey drip earrings and Lagoon necklaces, effortlessly combine artistic expression with everyday wear. The post-Covid-19 collection 'Vivid' explores nature reclaiming manmade structures, showcasing the brand's conceptual yet consumer-conscious approach.

Collaborating with her sister Nada Al Sheikh, a graphic designer who founded 'Masar,' a custom accessories brand, the duo merged their ventures, with Masar becoming an integral part of Sandbox's journey. The synergy between Suhayla's artistic vision and Nada's graphic design expertise creates a dynamic that fosters innovation.

Despite occasional creative clashes, the sisters' collaboration is a harmonious blend of visionary and analytical perspectives. Since Nada's entry in 2022, their shared values have propelled Sandbox forward. The brand now experiments with 'co-creating,' involving customers in the narrative they wear.

Emphasising the importance of giving space to creativity, Suhayla and Nada embrace the ethos that dreams must steer life. They believe in breaking barriers, allowing imagination to take centre stage. In the spirit of Bedouin resourcefulness, Sandbox infuses creativity into each conceptual collection, exploring how it can flourish where few other things can take root.

In the words of Suhayla, "There should never be a hindrance to creativity; always give yourself the space to delve into your imagination." Nada echoes this sentiment, stating, "Stories in the Arab context are a collective effort, and that is what we want to put into the limelight." Their cooperative spirit allows Sandbox to "give birth to balance," cultivating greater resonance between raw creativity and consumer-conscious considerations with each collection.

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