Jewellery Designer Noor Fares’ Insider Guide to Beirut

Jewellery Designer Noor Fares’ Insider Guide to Beirut

to Lebanese parents, jewellery designer Noor Fares grew up in
before moving to Boston to study history of art. Now based in
Fares creates jewellery which fuses her multiculturalism with a
smattering of mysticism.

Most prominently, it is her Lebanese heritage and strong belief
in the totemic quality of jewellery that informs her work.
Believing that jewellery carries special meaning, her colourful
modern-day talismans are steeped in symbolism.

From mystical symbolism of Hindu mandalas in India
to intricate geometric patterns found in Middle Eastern
, each piece tells a story and holds a special
meaning to the wearer. Fusions of art and exploration, travel is at
the forefront of her designs.

A lapidary and a life force, Noor shares her favourite jewellery
pieces plus the cultural hotspots not to bypass on your next trip
to Beirut.

What inspires your designs?

I am constantly inspired by my surroundings whether it be when
travelling, visiting an exhibition or just at home researching. I
love collecting images and turning them into mood boards which
become the inspiration for new collections.

Your favourite pieces in your jewellery box are…

A few of my favourite pieces are an art-deco amethyst cabochon
and diamond ring from S.J. Philips, an opal and diamond ring
designed by my mother, a Venyx coin pendant and a Fernando Jorge
pink opal ring.

Where should we head to check out Middle Eastern designs and
pattern work?

At L’Artisan du Liban you can find so many objects, from
homeware to jewellery and fashion that reflect the Middle Eastern
designs. Their method and the craftsmanship have been the base of
l’Artisan du Liban designs since the very beginning. Also, visit
Liwan for beautiful silk slippers on Madrid

For the best design stores in Beirut head to…

Nada Debs. Working across craft, art, fashion and interiors,
what ties her work together is her ability to distil culture,
emotion and craftsmanship into the pieces she creates. Bokja design
store, situated in the heart of downtown Beirut, is
great for homeware. It’s based in the Saifi Village’s Quartier Des
Arts, a recently restored historic neighbourhood which has become a
destination for art galleries and designers. Sarah’s Bag is a
Lebanese fashion house and social enterprise that creates
one-of-a-kind luxury, hand-crafted bags and accessories that
empower both the women who make them and the women who wear

Elie Saab aside, who are the Lebanese couturiers to watch?

Rabih Keyrouz and Sandra Mansour.

Your pieces have a talismanic quality – is protection an
important component to your jewellery?

I have always believed in the healing properties of gemstones so
this is something I incorporate into my designs allowing them to
have a talismanic touch that resonates with the wearer.

For some healing or a little TLC in Lebanon where should we

Yoga Souk centre, a Jivamukti and Ashtanga Yoga centre that
focuses on both physical and spiritual practices. It is a practice
that brings about serenity, clarity, mental and emotional
wellbeing, as well as self-confidence.

For a health fix we should visit…

Dermapro is a beauty centre committed to offering the safety and
excellence of a medical facility in a serene and soothing spa
environment. They bring the latest rejuvenating technologies and
create personalised solutions for an improved appearance, as well
as weight management and invigorating wellness.

Best hotel in the city?

Le Gray Hotel in the heart of downtown Beirut.
Perfectly located for both business and leisure, it is one of the
city’s most iconic luxury hotels.

Some great lunch spots include…

Eat Sunshine for a very healthy and delicious lunch. Meat the
Fish is good for a stylish crowd while Em Sherif Café is an elegant
Lebanese café, suited to families, and offers an a la carte
Lebanese and international menu in a relaxed atmosphere.

Where should we stop for something sweet?

Oh Bakehouse is a lovely
, dairy-free bakery and pastry shop in Beirut; one
of the best for healthy treats. Backburner is a specialty coffee
shop serving artisanal coffee as well as freshly baked muffins,
croissants, energy balls and gluten-free sweets. For a traditional
and exquisite Arabic pastry, visit Amal Bohsali.

Where should we head for a casual dinner?

Stem Beirut.

What about for a special occasion?

Centrale is a sophisticated French restaurant and one of the
best eateries in Lebanon. La Parialla, perched on the rooftop of
Warwick Palm Beach Hotel,is really popular
during summer. During the winter, head to Ashrafiye, a fine-dining
grill house and bar serving a wide variety of international dishes.
Alternatively, Casablanca, situated in a traditional and charming
villa in the Ain el Mreisseh area, offers all kinds of food.

For after-work drinks stop by…

Joe Penas and Pacifico are fun Mexican pubs; both serve great
small bites.

Where should we go for a night out?

Capitol, a restaurant-lounge, is considered one of the loveliest
and most cosmopolitan rooftops in the heart of Beirut City. Also,
Music Hall showcases a series of short live musical acts where
performances are accompanied by hi-tech on-stage spectacles and
gourmet menus.

Where should we head on a Saturday morning?

Go to Bkerzay, an eco-friendly hotel complete with restaurant,
pool and pottery classes. Mir Amin Palace in El-Chouf, is a
charming palace to visit before lunch – follow with a dip in the

Where can we do an early morning workout?

U Energy Gym in Downtown Beirut.

For Sunday brunch book a table at…

Liza Beirut.

Great day trips from the city include…

From Beirut to Faraya: rent an ATV and head for the beautiful
mountains, stopping by Montagnou for lunch or drinks.

From Beirut to Jbeil: walk around the Old Souk, a beautiful walk
in the old city with traditional shops and great to buy

From Beirut to Batroun: head here for great local beach spots
such as Jungle Beach or Pierre and Friends.

One place only locals know about is…

Sporting Club Beach. If you’re from Beirut, your parents are
bound to have told you stories about the times they spent there in
the 1960s. Since then, remarkably little has changed at this
Beiruti gem. The beach is renowned for its authentic Lebanese vibe
and simplicity, which coincides with an equal sense of luxury.
Treat yourself to a five-star seafood meal at the Feluka Restaurant
upstairs or enjoy a more laid-back Lebanese meal at the poolside
restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

A book to read before we go?

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

Best souvenirs to bring back home…

Plates, prints and pillows.

And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE for a trip to Beirut?

Lots of cotton kaftans from Orient to keep cool and Liwan

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