Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan on Being Inspired by Her Emirati Heritage

Lindsay Judge   |   04-07-2021

Founded in 2013 by Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan, MKS Jewellery is a brand that perfectly translates the spirit and heritage of the Emirates into contemporary and unique jewellery pieces.


Referencing H.H. Sheikha Mariam’s initials, the brand stands for women, power, diversity and self-expression while celebrating the sentimental collector that finds value and underlying meaning in everything. Each piece tells its own story and that is something Her Highness finds crucial in the development of her designs. She designs pieces that are meant to last forever and will resonate with not just their owners, but for many owners to come as they are passed down from generation to generation. Growing up in the UAE, Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Khalifa bin Saif Al Nahyan was deeply inspired by her rich heritage and wanted to find her own way to express this and share it with others. Through her passion for jewellery design, she has found her way and she continues to find new ways to share her message with the pieces she creates. Here we find out more about her vision, her design process and aspirations for the future of her brand.



What can you tell us about the latest collections for MKS?

Our newest collection is called Unity Solitaire. The idea behind it is how being different reveals true beauty. An unexpected combination can instantly become the perfect match that no one would ever have expected. The Unity collection celebrates this by turning the tables on the idea of what is meant to be. A mix and match of Solitaire diamonds are cut with our signature rope detail to encase each stone.


What is your vision for the brand moving forward? 

To create a globally recognised brand that is known for its unique approach to creativity and is accessible in stores all around the world.


Tell us a little about the design process behind your pieces? 

I draw inspiration from the stories my grandmother told me about pearls. Rather than having a rigid process where I sit down at a set time, I let my mind run free and pick up a pencil whenever the mood strikes me. The result is an organically growing brand that speaks for itself.



What first inspired you to enter the world of jewellery design? 

I’ve always loved to shop for the perfect gifts, however, finding them was more difficult than I could’ve ever imagined. I decided that I wanted to create jewellery pieces that had true meaning, so I set out to bring that to life.


What was the first piece of jewellery you owned? 

I was fortunate to be gifted so many pieces as a young child. While I can’t remember the very first one, the idea of owning things that have meaning and became a part of my life has really stuck with me.


August 28th marks Emirati Women’s Day – what does this day mean to you and why do you think it’s important to recognise the successes and achievements of Emirati women?

Women are key contributors to our society, our culture, and our entire way of life. By celebrating their achievements and contributions we can all grow closer together in our own unique ways.



This year’s theme “Women: Ambitions & Inspiration for Next 50 Years,” reflects the UAE 50th anniversary – what is a message you would send to the UAE as it reaches this milestone?

Be proud of who you are and where you have come from. This is our culture and heritage that should never be forgotten, and it’s something that we should all take pride in, every step of the way.


What do you believe is the responsibility of women such as yourself in key positions in the UAE to be an inspiration to others? 

Every woman has a unique, creative spark deep within her, however, if no one is there to ignite it in the first place then it will never shine bright. I see my job as inspiring the next generation so that we can continue to grow and flourish in ways that no one expected.


What is a message you would give to women in the UAE who want to achieve their dreams? 

Stay true to who you are and celebrate the unique things in life that define you. Only then can you create something that you are proud to call your own and the whole world will sit up and take notice.



Tell us about you as a person: what is your biggest achievement and how did you become the woman you are today?

Walking across the desert from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain allowed me to grow as a woman and building a brand from nothing has hopefully started to create the legacy that I will leave behind. These two journeys may be very different in their tone, but they have each had the same type of transformative effect on the way I see myself.


What is your favourite memory of the UAE growing up? 

So many great memories, a lot of the places we use to go as kids no longer exist anymore. While I find this sad, I also see it as a chance to grow and explore new places in the world.


What is something you would still like to achieve? 

I would relish the opportunity to travel the world and discover a whole host of new cultures and ways of life. Only then can I say that I am a true citizen of the world with an open mind about the way other people live their lives.


This past year has been an unusual one — how was 2020 for you and what is a lesson you will take away from this year?

Your physical health is important and so is your mental health. To be around family and friends is a blessing. To never take things for granted. Constantly have something to look forward to and never let the status quo stand in your way if you want to do things differently.


As a female entrepreneur what is the biggest challenge you face in what you do and how do you overcome these challenges? 

Finding the right team, taking the risk, and constantly creating in your own signature way of doing things are the big challenges every entrepreneur faces. It’s not so much about being a woman, it’s about being someone who is brave in the face of adversity and always ready to take on a challenge.


Who is a woman that inspires you? 

Everyone has a story and something to learn from. Rather than focusing on one woman I try and learn something from every woman. That way I can benefit from a broader range of experiences with every passing day.


What is the professional motto you live by?

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time. These words by Thomas Edison have shaped up who I am today and given me strength when I have needed it most.


What is a message you would like to share with our readers about your brand? 

I believe that every piece of jewellery you own should have a meaning and tell a story. This is why I would welcome you to explore our platforms to discover the pieces we create as they all help to tell your own story. I guarantee that you will find something you never expected.