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Omi Woods Jewellery Contemporary Heirlooms Honouring Africa and its Diaspora

I have recently been introduced to Omi Woods, an exquisite collection of jewellery that celebrates our connections to Africa and its diaspora. Founded by Ashley Alexis McFarlane Omi Woods pays tribute to her Jamaican-Maroon and Ashanti heritage. The company takes its name from ‘omi’ meaning ‘water’ in Yoruba and the ‘wood’ references Xaymaca’, the indigenous Taino word for Jamaica which means ‘land of wood and water’. 

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Design Inspired by the Decorative Forms Of Adinkra Symbols

As I highlighted in a previous editorial on Adinkra symbols are a much-referenced communication system that has endured to present day. The Adinkra symbols designs carry within them centuries of wisdom and are among one of the African continent’s oldest writing systems. The symbols have inspired designers and artists the world over who have drawn on the distinctive graphic shapes to create anything from jewellery to patterned textiles. I introduce 5 contemporary African brands referencing the Adinkra symbols in their designs, and in doing so giving them relevance in a modern day and age.

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Kenyan Artist Evans Mbugua For Chaumet Tresors D’afrique Jewellery Collection

Trésors d’Afrique translates as Treasures from Africa, and is an ode to past and present, culture and modernity presented in the form of luxury jewellery pieces by the prestigious French jeweller and watchmaker Chaumet in collaboration with Kenyan artist, Evans Mbugua who is based in Paris. Trésors d’Afrique is third and final destination in the Mondes du Chaumet collection, a globe-trotting journey through jewels that has taken in the splendours of Russia, and Japan. Chaumet is inspired by the coming together of different cultures that celebrate and honour majestic femininity to create new ideas, imagined by their master jewellers who continually […]

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Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair Presents The 2017 Well Made In Africa Exhibitors

  Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been appointed the guest curator for the prestigious Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase. 2017 introduces a new, exquisite selection of Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the continent under the curatorship of Tapiwa Matsinde, author of Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa presents a selection that is anchored in heritage & modernity. This year Sanlam HmC will host the work of a dynamic group of designers who have been chosen for their innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages to create modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And with […]

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Khiry Afrofuturistic Luxe Jewellery Inspired by the African Diaspora

Khiry is a US-based line of luxury jewellery inspired by the African diaspora. The brand was created in 2016 by Jameel Mohammed. A college student studying political science at the time Jameel started the company after being told that a true luxury brand could only come from Milan or Paris. So Jameel set out to prove this statement wrong. Having dabbled in accessory design and stints interning at fashion houses including Nicole Miller whilst in high school Jameel used these experiences to launch his label. Using Africa’s rich creative and cultural heritage as his starting point Jameel has translated stories […]

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Architect Ifeanyi Oganwu Branches Out Into Jewellery Design

Ifeanyi Oganwu the Nigerian-born architect known for his organic shaped furniture designs has expanded into jewellery design with his debut collection for Elisabetta Cipriani. A London-based gallery that invites international artists, designers and creative’s to create contemporary jewellery pieces or limited edition series, which are then showcased by, and sold through the gallery.

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Accessories: Doreen Mashika’s Capsule Collection for eBay Germany

Doreen Mashika for eBay Germany [Tanzania] [Image credit: Beaded Bracelet – Doreen Mashika for eBay Germany] Some weeks back I did a feature on Kenyan jewellery designer, Gladys Macharia’s collaboration with Urbanara, as one of three winners of the Kenya-based ‘African Designers for Tomorrow‘ award. Another winner of competition was Doreen Mashika, who today as part of the award sees the launch of her covetable capsule collection, Doreen Mashika for eBay, Germany, produced in collaboration with online platform.

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Exhibition: Contemporary Design at GUILD Design Fair 2015

GUILD Design Fair 2015 [South Africa] [Image credit: GUILD Design Fair, Artisan by Watershed – Southern Guild] Following a successful debut in 2014, 25 February to 1 March 2015 sees the 2nd GUILD Design Fair in Cape Town. GUILD is the premier African-based international design fair that brings together the work of leading African and internal designers and was conceived by Southern Guild, a South African-based platform that showcases the very best in Southern African design talent.

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Jewellery: Contemporary Jewelry, Traditional Craft

Sidai Designs [Tanzania] Meaning ‘good’ in Maa, the language of the Maasai, ‘Sidai’ is the name given to a business that is infusing traditional beading with modern aesthetics, after being inspired by a visit to Arusha, in Northern Tanzania. Sidai Designs was founded by, Eszter Rabin, a graphic designer turned artisan entrepreneur living in California, and Emanuel Melubo Laizer, a Maasai Warrior from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Northern Tanzania. Discovering a mutual interest in working with underserved communities, Emanuel and Eszter joined forces in 2009 to share ideas, and after several visits to Maasai communities launched Sidai Designs in […]

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Jewellery: Uru Diamonds

Uru Diamonds [Tanzania] [Image credit: Uru Diamonds] It is no secret the Continent is blessed with diamonds that are coveted the world over, and harnessing this mineral wealth should come with social responsibilities. However, as we all know this is not always the case, especially when it comes to conflict-free diamonds. Uru Diamonds is a Tanzanian company that works with conflict-free diamonds and precious stones, to produce contemporary jewellery collections. The company name ‘Uru’ comes from a very old Swahili term describing a powerful essence; used here to invoke the days of ancient African Kings and Queens where diamonds were […]

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Jewellery: La Diosa Statement Jewelry for Modern Goddesses

LA DiOSA [Uganda / Eritrea / Ethiopia]   [Image credit: Kezen Necklace – LA DiOSA] LA DiOSA is a London-based jewellery design company that seeks to empower women, by designing signature statement jewellery, featuring colourful chunky gemstones in celebration of modern Goddesses everywhere. LA DiOSA was founded in 2007 by Ugandan-born Natasha Faith, and Semhal Zemikael born to Ethiopian/Eritrean parents; friends who first met whilst studying Philosophy, and now create their gorgeous designs from a showroom in Hatton Garden, London’s famed jewellery quarter. A combined interest in fashion led the duo to explore the idea of creating and selling their own jewellery. […]

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Jewellery: Shimmering Metals, Sculptural Forms

[Image credit: Choker – Taher Chemirik/Artsy] Fluid, sculptural pieces formed out of shimmering gold and silver metals are defining characteristics of Algerian designer, Taher Chemirik’s striking jewellery pieces, which include bold, oversized cuffs and giant links that form statement chokers. Hailing from a family of designers, Taher describes his upbringing as ‘unconventional’, and cites his sources of inspiration as being his African roots, Oriental sophistication, modern art, and the antiques he collects in Paris’ famed flea markets; the city he now calls home.  

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Jewellery: Majestic Adornment Inspired by Egyptian Culture and Tradition

Azza Fahmy [Egypt] [Image credit: Six Strand Floral and Fruits Collection – Azza Fahmy] 7000 years of Egyptian culture and tradition embodies the luxury jewellery collections of Egyptian jeweller, Azza Fahmy, whose elegant, statement designs you cannot help but visualise adorning the necks and wrists of Cleopatra and Nefertiti, Egypt’s legendary queens. Like the ancient culture that influences it, Azza Fahmy jewellery is elegant and regal, featuring handcrafted intricate detailing in gold and silver precious metals, and vibrant, shimmering gemstones, that help lend a contemporary edge. Azza Fahmy began her jewellery career forty years ago when a book on ‘classical jewellery during […]

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Decor: Thuthuka Jewellery Development Programme

Thuthuka [South Africa] In September I visited International Jewellery London to see what was happening in the world of jewellery. It was dazzling, to say the least with a range of businesses from precious gem dealers to independent emerging designers. Several countries had trade exhibition stands to showcase the designs and opportunities with their various sectors, and stopping by the South African pavilion, I got chatting with several of the individual designers and business representatives. Amongst them was Thuthuka, a jewellery development programme that was founded in 2009, and is an initiative of South African based organisation Jewellery Africa. 

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Jewellery: Maya Antoun’s Stunning Jewellery Creations 

Maya Antoun [Sudan] Fluid, sculptural forms interlaced with segments of fine filigree work defines the stunning jewellery creations by Sudanese designer Maya Antoun. Based in the UK, Maya seeks to combine traditional with contemporary to create a new vision for African jewellery, and indeed the wider context of her work, which is influenced by the diversity of cultures, reflected in her own culturally diverse upbringing and exploring the ways in which individuals from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds might interpret their traditional jewellery, and in the process creating something new, fresh and exciting.

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