Suzanne Deeb Naboulsi's concern for the welfare of the environment has carried over from one career to another, and what might seem an unlikely transition isn't really unlikely at all.
For 13 years, Deeb Naboulsi was a certified assessor in the environmental protection department of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia. "I was following up on all kinds of surveys and collecting findings about whatever was harming the environment," recalled Deeb Naboulsi, whose husband was a Saudi Aramco executive.
When her husband decided to retire after 21 years with the company, Deeb Naboulsi made a decision of her own: to go into the jewelry business. "Although I had a couple of opportunities to pursue my career in terms of environmental science," she said, "I felt it was time to do something that I loved, that I have a passion for, which is jewelry."
That, and her son's acceptance to The Bishop's School, brought Deeb Naboulsi to La Jolla, where in January she acquired her own showroom, Timeless Treasures, the collections of which are grounded in environmentally responsible jewelry making.
"I come from a family of jewelers," she said, recalling her interest in jewelry going all the way back to her childhood. "I used to design my own items and anything that I wore."
Now she's designing items for a growing following of customers. "We specialize in hand-made jewelry that is high end. We can make anything that the customer wants, too," said Deeb Naboulsi. "It's unique. We have items that no one, no jewelry showroom, has."
The environmental connection is an important facet of her new career, and it's reflected in the pieces she sells in her showroom. "I like to use those designers who have a background or who are activists in terms of preserving the environment and helping it," she said.
Among them is Vietnam-born Nina Nguyen. "The reason I chose to have her collection in my showroom is because she cares about the environment," said Deeb Naboulsi. "She deals with natural, organic stones. She recycles these stones and makes beautiful designs out of them. Fantastic. This way she does two important things: She produces very beautiful designs, plus she helps the environment."
Although Deeb Naboulsi's Timeless Treasures has only been open a few months, its customers seem drawn most to the diamond collection of Deeb Naboulsi's own design and to "a collection that I have personally picked from Italy."
For now, she's running the showroom with just one assistant and, in her words, "I have my hands on everything that is going on." But Deeb Naboulsi foresees a time in the near future when she may add an employee and, beyond that, when Timeless Treasures becomes a chain of stores. In the meantime, "I've made my dream come true, having my own business."
Timeless Treasures, 7703 Fay Ave., La Jolla. (858) 454-1929. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday. timelesstreasuresjewelrystore.com
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