Biographies

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.

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After time spent in Belgium and Paris mastering the craft of diamond cutting, Nagib Tabbah’s younger brother Elie joined him and together they founded the first diamond polishing workshop in Lebanon in 1947. The business was passed from Nagib Tabbah to his own son Nabil whose endeavors outside of Lebanon turned Tabbah into a jewellery house of international repute when he opened boutiques in Geneva and Monte Carlo. Today Nabil and his own son Nagib Tabbah (named after his grandfather), represent the fourth and fifth generations of a family renowned for heritage and craftsmanship in the production of fine jewellery.

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Three generations of the Tabbah family; from left: Nagib Tabbah, Nabil Tabbah, and Nagib Tabbah Senior, Monaco, 1987.

Three generations of the Tabbah family; from left: Nagib Tabbah, Nabil Tabbah, and Nagib Tabbah Senior, Monaco, 1987.

Three generations of the Tabbah family; from left: Nagib Tabbah, Nabil Tabbah, and Nagib Tabbah Senior, Monaco, 1987.

Biographies

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.

Nagib Tabbah Senior

With a natural passion for drawing and designing jewellery, Nagib Tabbah joined the family profession at the age of 14. Following an apprenticeship of several years he opened a workshop in Damascus where for 13 years he built skills and a client base before moving to Beirut in 1945. Here he founded a workshop in Bab Idriss, in the area now called Beirut Central District, and employed some 50 craftsmen to realize the Tabbah designs. By Tabbah’s centenary year in 1962, Nagib Tabbah had opened a glamorous boutique where they were visited by an ever-growing client base. He was celebrated for his artistic eye and technical knowhow, skills that were passed on to his only son Nabil. Nagib Tabbah developed the Phoenician line, which is still sought after by collectors today and his work and creativity is preserved and documented in a vast archive of jewellery sketches.

Nabil Tabbah

As the fourth generation of the House of Tabbah 

(his great grandfather Joseph Tabbah founded the workshop in 1862), Nabil Tabbah has overseen the family of jewellers and developed its direction to bring it to international recognition. Under his supervision Tabbah’s evolution went from a regionally reputable name to the current day status where the Tabbah signature is sought after by collectors throughout the world. Two decades in Europe established Tabbah as an international jewellery house where they were exposed to and dealt with the most important and historical stones. Nabil received prizes and recognition for his achievements, which ensured his position as an accomplished, internationally-lauded jeweller.

Nagib Tabbah

Born in 1967, Nagib Tabbah is the great, great grandson of Joseph Tabbah, who founded the House of Tabbah as a family of jewellers in 1862, and is today bequeathed with shaping the brand for a new generation of clients. Following an education in Paris and Monte Carlo, Nagib travelled to the US to increase his knowledge of gems at the Gemological Institute of America in New York. Nagib joined Tabbah in Beirut in 1998 after working for the jewellery House in their European offices since 1991.

In 1997 Nagib launched a new concept at Tabbah in the form of Designer Collection, a jewellery range featuring limited edition pieces that can be made to order but are available in a prêt- à -porter fashion through Tabbah’s boutiques. “With the Designer Collection, I was able to reach out to a larger audience,” says Nagib. “It was established to create an accessible products platform that does not sacrifice quality. On a design level, this initiated the understanding that the value of a piece of jewellery does not necessarily lie in its design but also in its substance and story.

Joseph Tabbah

Joseph Tabbah was a remarkable artist who excelled in the engraving and embossing of gold and silver objects. He had been taught engraving by his father Bechara Tabbah who had specialized in engraving the wooden boards, which were used to print on silk and cotton. Joseph Tabbah’s particular talent was filigree technique and the pieces he mounted garnered attention because he also crafted all his own tools. His works of art were the result of careful attention to detail and long hours of labour. Tabbah’s work was sought-after by collectors who appreciated his unique artistic qualities.