The Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade organised a conference to enhance youth training in Mediterranean countries in traditional industries that particularly use silver, gold, and gemstones.
The project is being implemented through the Jewellery Technology Centre (JTC) and the EU, and aims to develop Egyptian entrepreneurs’ talents concerning the jewellery industry. Egypt, Italy, Lebanon and Greece will participate, at a cost of EGP 819,000, to offer technical support and integrate creativity as well as innovation for Egyptian products to be able to compete with the regional and international models.
Many JTC trainees participated to exhibit their creative products, which were nationally awarded. As for the arbitrators and the jewellery industry consultants, they highlighted that the advisory committee was represented by Sherif El-Sergany, Ex- Chairman of the Gold Division at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (EFI) and Rafiq Abbas, Chairman of the Gold Division at the FEI.
Sherif El-Sergany believes students still have a long way to go before obtaining the title of designer, because when it comes to jewellery design, it is complicated, as they will initially have to imitate other models. The young innovator and the new designer should be fully dedicated to reading and constant researching to prevent imitating. He also added that art should fulfil the national market’s needs to reach the surrounding countries. Unfortunately designers are currently not aware of the market demands, nor do they conduct studies to investigate sales operations and their impact. They should first go with creation, design the piece, carry out, and find a market for their product which seems difficult nowadays, but hopefully the spirit of youth will be the principal motivation.
Rafiq Abbas believes specialised academies should exert more effort to understand the market and fulfil its demands. This will affect the purchasing power concerning exported gold. Sometimes we find young designers who consider only photographing some jewellery as an art, but of course the industry is totally different.
At the end, the project aims for cultural exchange, in the form of jewellery, or art in general. This noble dream is confronted by strict laws, aside from the bureaucracy which kills these kinds of industries. Abbas believes that if we really aspire for a flourishing jewellery industry, we should review these laws that kill creativity and impede businessmen, forcing them to hire young innovators.
We can still bring real entrepreneurs to light, bearing in mind that Egypt in the 1960s was the centre of creativity and innovation concerning the art of jewellery. Egypt was also manufacturing raw gold which came from the Gulf countries. Today, Dubai and India are the top international countries concerning designing and implementing of ideas.
Aida Zayed, manager of JTC, affirms that the road is still long, starting from the legislative reform and passing through the academic one.
“We are still at the beginning, but the trainees are our hope. We have two years left in order to evaluate this project, and during these couple of years we wish that the laws will be modified in favour of craft and innovating industries. It is totally understandable that there is a difference between young and senior designers and professionals specialised in the industry of gold in Egypt. The entrepreneur should be able to obtain information from a trusted source, like the audience; on the other hand we should pass the current obstacles and find alternative solutions for them. We have great examples of people who insisted to introduce themselves for the market and achieve sales as well,” said Zayed.