The Lotfy Process

The Lotfy Process is our signature method of creating incredible Mother of Pearl designs on our Darbukas. Invented in 1978 by Abdel-Nasser Lotfy.

Invented in 1978

An idea is born

In 1978, with almost 40 years of experience manufacturing cast aluminium Darbukas, Abdel-Nasser Lotfy started experimenting with using Mother of Pearl overlay to create an incredible coloured design over the Darbuka.

Struggles Upon Struggles

The process was difficult. Incredibly so. While the Mother of Pearl had been used before to apply overlays to other musical instruments, it was especially difficult to create these designs on a Darbuka.

Expert Craftsmanship

Approximately 2kg of Mother of Pearl was needed per drum, and each piece needed to be cut exactly to size by hand. Colours then had to be matched, the thickness of the Mother of Pearl taken into account and many other factors had to be considered to turn the raw Mother of Pearl into a stunning Darbuka design.

The Finished Product

After 3 years of experiments, the Mother of Pearl Darbuka was born. The first of its kind, and a product that would change the Darbuka world forever.

Two Decades of Custom Builds

For 20 years following the invention of the Mother of Pearl Darbuka, people came from around the world to commission one from Gawharet El Fan, and so began a complete transformation of the Darbuka world. 

International Renown

Mass Manufacturing

After 23 years of refinements to the Lotfy Process, in 2001, the Mother of Pearl mass manufacturing process started, firstly with standardisation of the Mother of Pearl designs and then with contracts from distributors from around the world.

Global Growth

The Mother of Pearl Darbuka gained presence in over 20 countries and countless craftsmen came to Cairo to learn the Lotfy process directly from Abdel-Nasser Lotfy himself.

The Export Grade

In 2020 the Export Grade products were launched, creating the mastercraftsmen gateway in the Lotfy process, the final test of ultimate crafting ability. 

A Bright Future

The Lotfy Process continues to improve and expand, under the direction of the Lotfy family. Abdel-Nasser Lotfy's son, Youssef Lotfy is now working tirelessly to improve the Lotfy Process. 

The Training Process

Qualification in the Lotfy Process requires each craftsman to undergo a challenging training process. This craft is certainly not for everyone, and as such the craft is best passed down from parent to child over many generations. We have as many as four generations of craftsmen from the same family in our workshops. Read through the strict training process that each crafsman is required to undergo. 

We are incredibly proud of all of our craftsmen and mastercraftsmen, and we know that these people are responsible for so many of the incredible instruments that can be found throughout the world today. We support our people in any way that we can, and provide a holistic and happy environment for them to grow as people, so that they can truly shine in their craft.