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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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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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Modern African Design Doreen Mashika Capsule Collection 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 modern African design in the form of a jewellery and accessories capsule collection, Doreen Mashika for eBay, Germany, which was produced in collaboration with the online platform. [Main image credit: Beaded Bracelet – Doreen Mashika for eBay Germany]

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Pichulick Modern South African Jewellery Design Inspired By Travels

  Pichulik is a South African jewellery label that creates jewellery for brave women. The brand was founded by Katherine-Mary Pichulik, and is inspired by the intimate relationship women have with their jewellery, and a love of travel, incorporating the influences of diverse cultures to create what can be summed up as a truly global chic aesthetic.

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Uru Diamonds Ethical East African Jewellery And Fashion Accessories

It is no secret the African 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. East African jewellery company, Uru Diamonds based in Tanzanian is a 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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LA DiOSA Luxury Statement Jewellery for Modern Goddesses

LA DiOSA is a London-based luxury statement 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 exploring the idea of creating and selling their own jewellery. The name’ La Diosa’, means ‘Goddess’ in Spanish and as the name […]

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African Design Roots in Shimmering Sculptural Jewellery

Fluid, sculptural pieces formed out of shimmering gold and silver metals combined with African design 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. [Image credit: Choker – Taher Chemirik/Artsy]

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Azza Fahmy Egyptian Jewellery Brand Inspired By Culture And Tradition

7000 years of Egyptian culture and tradition embodies the luxury jewellery collections of Egyptian jewellery brand, 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 the Azza Fahmy jewellery brand is elegant and regal, featuring handcrafted intricate detailing in gold and silver precious metals, and vibrant, shimmering gemstones, that help lend a contemporary edge. [Image credit: Six Strand Floral and Fruits Collection – Azza Fahmy]

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Thuthuka Modern South African Jewellery Development Programme

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 showcasing 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 South African jewellery development programme that was founded in 2009, and is an initiative of South African based organisation Jewellery Africa.

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Maya Antoun Traditional African jewellery Making Techniques

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 African jewellery making techniques with contemporary ones 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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Savannah Chic Contemporary Jewellery Made In Africa

We may be entering Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere, but you can still hold onto the summer feeling with Savannah Chic’s range of contemporary jewellery made in Africa, including some vibrant bracelets from the company’s ‘Summer Love’ collection, which sees colourful Kikoy’s woven into necklaces and bracelets that conjure up the carefree spirit of Summer. [Image credit: Kikoy Bracelets – Savannah Chic]

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Jacqueline Kibacha Avant-garde African Inspired Jewellery

A string of approximately 365 crystal beads and a silver clasp in the shape of a heart inspired the name for Tanzanian jewellery designer Jacqueline Kibacha’s handcrafted African inspired jewellery and fashion accessories label. Based in London, her jewellery label Heart 365 Emporium incorporates traditional Maasai beading with the drama of bold designs, colours, and layered textures. [Image credit: Uhuru’s Wings Neckpiece – Heart 365 Emporium]

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Jewels Of The Kalahari Ostrich Eggshell Jewellery Made In Africa

Handmade by the San of the Kalahari, Jewels of the Kalahari is a collection of ostrich eggshell jewellery made using the delicate natural shards of the eggs, which are combined with other materials like recycled glass. Upholding craftsmanship and ancient skills, Jewels of the Kalahari was produced by One Fine Thread; a business that was founded by designer Anna Haber as a platform to highlight the rich culture and unique designs found in global arts and craft traditions. [Image credits: One Fine Thread, Jewels of the Kalahari Collection –  left, Boo George; right, L-Atitude]

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Jewellery Made In Africa Trollbeads Malawi Workshop

Giving their customers the freedom to customise their jewellery as they please, Danish brand Trollbeads is known for its interchangeable beads and charms that come in an array of gemstones, 18ct gold, sterling silver, fresh water pearls and glass in an ever-evolving collection. Trollbeads currently has 600 unique styles, and each bead created has its own look and a story behind it inspired by anything from fairy tales to familiar everyday things. Trollbeads recently began creating glass beads for jewellery made in Africa. [Image credits: Malawi Universal Uniques – Trollbeads]

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Carolyn Roumeguere Global Culture And Maasai Inspired Jewellery

Jewellery designer Carolyn Roumeguere is a nomad at heart, a sentiment that is reflected in her eclectic global and Maasai inspired jewellery creations such as the Swahili Choker, a stunning piece that is handmade using the precious gems diamond, sapphire or emerald, and coral. Taking a month to complete the Swahili Choker incorporates traditional Maasai beading, and features an enamel pendant and the beads sourced from Jaipur, India. [Image credit: Carolyn Roumeguere Swahili Choker – CoutureLab]

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Mickaël Kra Lavish Parisienne Meets African Jewellery Design

Whilst on my MA course, in-between perusing the university library shelves for reading material I would often find myself wandering down isles that did not directly relate to my subject area but proved too irresistible to bypass and during one of my wanders stumbled across the book, ‘Mickaël Kra: Jewellery Between Paris Glamour and African Tradition‘; and was introduced to a the Parisienne meets African jewellery design aesthetic of jewellery designer who has been hailed as one of the most important jewellery designers in the world today. [Image credit: Mickaël Kra Jewellery featured in Ghubar Magazine]

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