Updated: Mar 8
I first experienced Doha many years back thanks to the beautiful and talented Dana Al Fardan who invited Bebe and I to attend the Doha Jewellery and Watch Exhibition (DJWE) as guests of her family's jewellery business, Al Fardan Jewellers, which represents major brands such as Tiffany's and Chopard in Qatar. It was love at first sight, both with the show... which has major brands exhibiting such as Moussaieff, Graff, Van Cleef, as well as smaller niche brands such as Veschetti and Karen Suen..and with the country! Side note - Dana is Qatar's only female contemporary composer, and has achieved worldwide recognition for her musical accomplishments. You may even have heard her music without knowing it....Every month, over 2 million people hear her music because, as Official Qatar Airways Composer, her music is played during the boarding and disembarking process on every flight! How ironic then that this year I visited Qatar as a guest of Qatar Airways, it truly seemed as if I had come full circle!
My journey began with a superb check in/business class flight to Doha. Miami-Doha is a direct flight, one which I have taken many times, but there is something special about being the guest of one of the worlds leading airlines, and as always, my journey on Qatar Airways was so wonderful I almost didn't want the plane to land! Upon arrival, I was transported to the JW Marriott in Doha, where I met the Qatar Airlines representatives who I had been communicating with for months and who felt like firm friends from all the contact we had had already! A delightful dinner, a good night sleep, and I was ready for Day One at DJWE!
Day one began with breakfast on the helipad of the JW Marriott, 50 floors up with panoramic views of the fast growing city of Doha. From there, we went to the Doha Exhibition Center, for the opening of the show. FULL DISCLOSURE: Qatar Airways had organized superb outings every day for their guests to really see all that Doha has to offer. Because I wanted to focus on DJWE, I missed out on some of the outings. But hey - that gives me a perfect reason to go back to Doha, right? Got to find the silver lining for every cloud! For the purposes of this blog, I will talk about the outings I did do, as well as my highlights from DJWE.
Lets begin with the facts about with DJWE:
The show is under the patronage of HE The Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Thani.
It covers 33,000sqm
14 Countries Represented
The show is undoubtedly the worlds most luxurious jewellery show, with refreshments constantly on offer as you wander among the worlds top jewellery brands, added to the fact that the pavilions themselves are so beautiful, there is a WOW moment every few meters! My highlights include:
Vising the Bulgari booth, with had a display of heritage Bulgari jewelry, including Elizabeth Taylor's iconic emerald necklace ( no, they would not let me try it on...SOB!).
Attending a presentation by UNI in Partnership with De Beers Group on rare diamonds, and seeing a beautiful rare fancy red diamond close up!
Moussaieff: seeing a rare white jade, pink and yellow diamond bracelet
Graff: a 48 carat D Flawless HEART shape diamond ring with perfect symmetry/cut
Lorraine Schwartz: wearing the jaw dropping 180 carat diamond earrings that Beyonce wore to the Golden Globes
David Webb: got to love his bold and magnificent designs... especially the necklace I am wearing here, with tumbled sapphire beads and light pink angel skin coral
Discovering jeweler Annoushka for the first time ever, and in particular their Chameleon rig, which allows you to easily change the gems on the chameleons back - super cool and so clever!
Seeing Palmiero's latest watch - more ways to wear it than I can count!
Kamyen Jewellery: they always have a superb range of statement necklaces made with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies and more!
Believe me when I say this list barely touches the surface..there was so much to see!
A day safari to the desert and dunes just outside of Doha: It's hard to believe that 45 minutes out of this bustling metropolis.... you find yourself in the desert! This amazing day began with a camel ride on the outskirts of the desert as our 4X4tyres were deflated for the desert experience. Truly thankful to our skilled Discover Qatar 4X4 driver, who took us up and down steeper inclines than a roller caster on the beautiful dunes of Mesaieed, which provide the back drop for a thrilling dune bashing experience. We went all the way to the breath-taking inland sea, Khor Al Adaid where the opposite side is Saudi. It is a UNESCO recognized natural reserve with its own ecosystem; this is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert.
A visit to the National Museum of Qatar: Designed by French architect, Jean Nouvel, the museum makes a dramatic addition
to the Doha landscape; with its curved disks, intersections, and cantilevered angles — all inspired by the local desert rose. This unique building embraces the newly restored Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani, which itself represents the heart of Qatari national identity. It's pretty astonishing to stumble upon the preserved palace in the center courtyard of the museum, and wander through the rooms at your leisure. My highlight was viewing the astonishing Pearl Carpet of Baroda, which has 1.5 million Gulf pearls hand-embroidered on the carpet. That evening we dined at the museums rooftop restaurant, JIWAN a brand new restaurant with views over all of Qatar, and aptly described as "where the desert meets the sea".
A night time Dhow ride:
For years I have seen the dhows tied up all along the Corniche in Doha – there are more than 500 of them, but until now, I had never been on one! With the beautiful Qatari skyline lighting up the night, we set off into the turquoise waters for a cruise that was magical. I won’t lie - it was freezing on the water, but we were offered warm blankets and sweet tea, and the spectacular views more than compensated for any discomfort! An amazing way to spend my last evening in Doha...before waking up the next morning to fly directly home to Miami!
A huge thank you to all at QATAR AIRWAYS for showing me Qatar #LIKENEVERBEFORE !!!