Tabbah was founded as a jewellery house by Joseph Tabbah in 1862. Prior to this date the Tabbah family had specialised in engraving floral and geometric patterns on wooden blocks, destined to be printed on silk (the name Tabbah means printer), a skill that Joseph had learned under the guidance of his father Bechara Tabbah. Imported printed silk saw Joseph Tabbah extend his skill set to silver and gold engraving. He then became a goldsmith which, with time, naturally lead to jewellery design. He passed his skills to his own sons Nayef and Mikhael Tabbah. Nayef Tabbah frequently visited Europe and the Americas bringing back inspiration for designs and patterns, previously unknown in the Near East. Nayef had two sons, Nagib and Elie who continued the jewellery tradition. By 1945 Nagib Tabbah founded a workshop in Bab Idriss, in the area now called Beirut Central District and employed some 50 craftsmen to realize the Tabbah designs.