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Echoes of Africa: a compilation of inspired jewellery craftsmanship

These artisans draw upon Africa’s rich heritage to craft unique and timeless treasures that reflect the continent’s essence.

By Debbie Hathway

From the sun-kissed savannahs to the vibrant rhythms of its diverse cultures, Africa has long captivated the imagination of artisans worldwide. This rich tapestry of traditions, landscapes, and stories is an endless wellspring of inspiration in jewellery design. This is a celebration of the exquisite craftsmanship and creative ingenuity of jewellers influenced by the continent’s beauty and heritage. Every piece tells a story, every gemstone and metalwork reflecting the soul of Africa itself.

Patrick Mavros

Follow on Instagram — @patrickmavros

Patrick Mavros, Africa’s definitive luxury brand, opened its first South African boutique at Cape Town’s prestigious V&A Waterfront. Inspired by a heartfelt gift – a pair of earrings crafted by Patrick for his wife, Catja – the brand has flourished under the stewardship of the Mavros family, infusing each piece with a dedication to quality and artistry. From the atelier in Mauritius and the studio in Zimbabwe, exceptional objets d’art and jewellery are meticulously handcrafted in sterling silver and 18ct gold, earning global acclaim for their exquisite design and unparalleled service.

At the heart of Patrick Mavros is a dedication to storytelling – of African wilderness and wildlife – through collections that contribute directly to conservation efforts.

Designed to be striking yet comfortable, these tapered Pangolin haka earrings in silver are hand-polished to perfection. Inspired by the symmetry of a Pangolin’s tail, the classic shape epitomises the rare style of this exceptional mammal. – R4 300

This bold Pangolin haka cocktail ring in silver is an iconic Mavros creation. For the wearer’s eyes only, tiny ants march in formation on the inside of this unique piece. – R8 500

Patrick Mavros’s signature Pangolin piece is the haka cuff in silver, perfectly tapered at the ends, and each scale is polished by hand. Hidden on its inside surface, tiny ants march in quirky formation. – R18 500

Thin and elegant, these Pangolin stacking cuffs are designed to be worn alone or stacked. Create your own timeless composition by combining 18ct gold and sterling silver. – R5 100

The Pangolin scale pendant is tactile and eye-catching, and inspired by the shape of the animal’s tail. It is a Mavros classic. – R13 000

Nungu Diamonds

Follow on Instagram — @nungudiamonds

Kealeboga and Ursula Pule of Nungu Diamonds in Germiston, Johannesburg, draw inspiration from the symbolism of these gems, representing strength, purity, fidelity, and enduring love. Ursula’s Palesa (Flower) Collection is designed to bring sunshine and smiles to your day, “just like the joy of a fresh bloom.”

She says she loved the concept earrings from the collection from the first time she wore them. “They reminded me of the love and joy my grandmother always brought into my life. Sadly, she passed away not long after, so I decided to name them ‘Palesa’ in her honour. She was a strong and beautiful Sotho-speaking woman, and this jewellery collection is my tribute to her remarkable life that brought forth mine.”

Ben & Co 

Follow on Instagram — @bencodesign

Ben & Co. is dedicated to achieving perfection and pushing the boundaries of innovation, authenticity, and excellence in jewellery design. Its trailblazing approach earned it acclaim at the Luxury Lifestyle Awards winning an award at the end of 2016.

Ben & Co aims to establish a legacy brand that transcends generations. It is developing its stature as a designer of exquisite diamond engagement rings and jewellery and focusing on fostering jewellery manufacturing skills in South Africa. This Circle of Life diamond pendant features a channel pavé design set in 14K white gold. See more in-store at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Shop G69, Johannesburg.

Gina White

Follow on Instagram — @thatsginawhite

Embark on a journey where sophistication blends with creativity, guided by Gina White and her team as they collaborate to design contemporary pieces that reflect your unique style. From personal consultation to final creation, skilled artisans meticulously craft each detail with precision and passion. Utilising only the finest materials, they will breathe life into your vision, fashioning a bespoke masterpiece that epitomises style and individuality. Please note that order pricing starts at R100 000 for bespoke pieces.

 Aymer Maria

Follow on Instagram — @aymermaria

Founded in 2021, Aymer Maria pays homage to Ruth Aymer’s cultural roots. The brand’s relic-like rings, pendants, and earrings celebrate Afro-Caribbean traditions of adorning the body with opulence and precious metals, serving as symbols of empowerment and self-expression. By merging artistry with cultural heritage, Aymer Maria’s jewellery bridges the rich legacies of the past with the timeless allure of contemporary adornments.

Embarking on a journey through ancient cultures, Ruth Aymer uncovered the rich heritage of Sudano-Sahelian architecture, which is particularly prevalent in West Africa. This exploration laid the groundwork for the Malian Collection, a breathtaking array of jewellery inspired by indigenous styles characterised by large-scale adobe structures pierced by spiky wooden struts and support beams. Crafted entirely by hand in 9ct recycled yellow gold, each piece in the Malian Collection is adorned with Botswanamark™ baguette-cut diamonds, meticulously shaped into statement pyramidal forms. The result is a collection that seamlessly blends ancient traditions with contemporary design, embodying a timeless elegance that transcends eras.

Sudano-Sahelian Larabanga Mosque and the Great Mosque of Dejenné
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