JUDE BENHALIM is a young, Cairo-based jewelry designer who founded her namesake brand when she was just 17 years old. All it took was one creative design project in high school and Jude jumped into the design world head first with her mother and partner, Rana Al Azm.
«My strategy to set my brand apart from others was to introduce something new to traditional Egyptian jewelry; mixing it with modern art and avant-garde techniques. I maintain the essence of oriental jewelry (by using Arabic calligraphy), combining it with a modern approach (by using abstract geometric shapes and colorful Resin stones). That is what allowed people to appreciate my work; it is a revolutionary take on traditional jewelry making.» – Jude Benhalim
Jude is constantly on the lookout for new ideas to bring to her designs, and is inspired by the women who wear her cutting-edge designs as much as the women who fill her life. Today, she shares with us her travel tips for her home country, EGYPT.
Your favourite city?
ALEXANDRIA. When the city life becomes too busy and stressful, I can escape from the craziness and read a book by the beautiful sea. The beach has always a peaceful atmosphere.
Your favourite hotel?
FOUR SEASONS RESORT SHARM EL SHEIKH. It hast the most beautiful scenery, overlooking the sea. It is definitely underrated.
1 Four Seasons Boulevard, El-Salam, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate
Phone: +20 69 3603555
Your favourite restaurant?
KAZUKO in CAIRO. It has the best Japanese food in town and I love the vibe of the place.
Swan Lake Compound, 1st Settlement, New Cairo, Phone: +20 12 7000 4877
Your favourite Egyptian food?
I like MOLOKHIYA with spicy chicken – the national dish of Egypt – because its a complete meal with vegetables, carbs and proteins and keeps you energized the whole long day.
Your favourite bar or nightclub?
There are great bars and nightclubs in the NORTH COAST, by the beach. I think my favorite place there is ANDIAMO, a beach bar. Its beautifully designed and is right on the beach.
Hacienda, KM 140, Phone: +20 1005509948
Your favourite sightseeing spot?
The PYRAMIDS, or more importantly the DESERT. I am fascinated by the desert no matter how often I see it, I love to admire its patterned dunes and its smooth and sparkling sand.
Your favourite park?
AL-AZHAR PARK. It has one of the most beautiful views over Cairo.
Salah Salem St, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo Governorate, Phone: +20 2 25103868
Your favourite beach?
The NORTH COAST BEACHES. The world is known to have the best beaches in Asia and in the Bahamas, but these are not comparable to the beaches on the North Coast of Egypt, as well as the ones in Sinai. So beautiful! I especifically love SIDI HENEISH, because its calm and not as commercial as the other beaches. It’s a beautiful bay.
Your favourite shop?
KHAN EL-KHALILI, a local market in CAIRO, is my favorite place to shop. It is actually where my silver workshop is located so I visit the souk very often. It is very rich in culture and has the most beautiful architecture that is going back to over hundreds of years. I love the authenticy and vibes of the Khan el-Khalili alleyways.
El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate
Your must-have accessory to take when you visit Egypt?
SUNGLASSES! It is sunny all year round in Egypt.
Your must-have souvenir to take home?
LITTLE PYRAMIDS of course. The pyramids are of the Seven Wonders of the World. I think as a tourist, the Pyramids are one of the most breathtaking sites.
The best soundtrack for this destination?
HELWA YA BALADY by DALIDA. It perfectly represents the beauty of the city.
The best book to read while being on vacation there?
40 RULES OF LOVE by ELIF SHAFAK. Cairo is very high in spirituality, with beautiful mosques and churches. I think this book is a perfect fit and it is a personal favorite.
Thank you, Jude, for sharing your insider scoop on Egypt with us!
Photos: Courtesy of the different locations, © Jude Benhalim