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Khuram Shah Zada: Upholding a family legacy

A glimpse into the the every day life of Pakistani jewelry and sword maker Khuram Shah Zada 

Khuram Shah Zada showcasing his hand made jewelry sets.
ISO: 400, Shutter Speed: 1/80, F-Stop: f/4.5

For Khuram Shah Zada, living apart from his wife and his 1 ½ year-old daughter is worth sacrificing in order to keep up the Zada family business of jewelry making.

“This business has been in the family for 100 years. We have 2 branches in Doha. In the gold market 16 years, and 35 years in Souq Waqif,” said the 29-year-old Pakistani, who learnt the art of jewelry and sword making from his father at the age of 16.

Before moving to Qatar 2 years ago, Zada worked in Al-Sulait Jewellery Workshop’s other branch, located in Lahore, Pakistan. The family business has been running for over 100 years.

“Pakistani Rupee is very bad. Qatari Riyal has more value. That’s why I came to work here in Qatar,” said Zada as he continued working on a ring that had to be completed within the next few hours.

Being the only male and the eldest among his siblings was another contributing factor to Zada’s decision to move to Qatar.

“My three younger sisters, my father, my mother, my wife and my daughter, they are all in Pakistan. My father comes here to help me sometimes, but he needs to stay in our shop in Pakistan.”

Zada works 13 hours a day and seven days a week with no holiday or day off, except when he returns to Pakistan every couple of months for a short visit to his family.

“I love my Job. It takes me maximum of one week to make something. My specialty is ring making,” said Zada.

Khuram Shah Zada working on a ring that had to be done by the end of the day.
ISO: 720, Shutter Speed: 1/60, F-Stop: f/4.0

But jewelry and sword making aren’t the only things Zada is capable of doing artistically. He is also passionate about graphic designing, and has a graphic designing business in Pakistan where he designs logos and works alongside other local businesses.

Among several other hobbies that Zada has, he also enjoys cooking and collecting currencies from different countries across the world. He keeps a collection of these currencies on display in a glass container in the corner of his small shop, which is located at the start of one of Souq Waqif’s many narrow alleyways.

“I get old currencies from customers or I buy it. Some of them I keep from my father and grandfather from long time. I have old money from Qatar, Oman, Iran, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka,” said Zada as he showcased yet another aspect that has been passed down the many generations of the Zada family.

The fact that he is passionate about what he does is not a question. However, whether or not Zada will stay in Doha for much longer is something that he has not yet made a concrete decision on.

“It is better for me if my family came here. But now gold is very costly and business went down, so they can’t come. I am not sure how long I will stay here without them,” added Zada.

Although the idea of keeping up this respected family legacy of jewelry and sword making is highly important to Zada, he does not want his daughter to follow his footsteps.

“I’m not going to teach my daughter how to make jewelry or swords. I want her to go to school and then college, which is something that I could not do.”

A birds eye view shot of Zada in his work space. He works in the same space for 13 hours every day of the week with no day off.
ISO: 2000, Shutter Speed: 1/100, F-Stop: f/5.0

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