For things to be considered sustainable specific criteria are required, and it is no different when it comes to the jewellery we wear. As fashion brands pay attention to sustainability, jewellery brands are not left out of the equation.
Jewellery produced sustainably contributes to ensuring fair indigenous employment, upholding traditional craft techniques, or sourcing fair-mined gold and other raw materials. With more and more consumers looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle, we have rounded up seven sustainable African jewellery brands that should definitely be on your radar.
Throughout our BellaNaija Style Declutter & Donate campaign we will be raising much-needed awareness around the topic of sustainable fashion in Africa. Keep up with our activities on Instagram #BNSDeclutterDonate and on www.bellanaijastyle.com to keep up with all our activities.
Vanleles founder and Creative Director Vania Lele founded her ethical jewellery brand in 2011. Born and raised in Guine-Bissau and educated in Lisbon and London, her brand is based in London. However, its DNA is drawn from Vania’s deeply rooted African heritage, with 75% ethically sourced precious stones and metals mined in Africa. Vania hopes to bring Africa and its gemstones to the forefront of the global jewellery-making industry.
Yala is ethical, sustainable and handcrafted ready-to-wear jewellery made in Kenya by artisans using premium, quality materials. While Yala is based in the UK, its origins are in Kenya, where founder Audrey Migot-Adholla hails from and takes its name from the town where her grandmother lived. With the help of over 150 Kenyan artisans, Yala produces small-batch collections that are handmade using materials like reclaimed brass and horn combined with exquisite beadwork techniques.
Following a successful career in fashion abroad, founder Henriette Botha decided to return to South Africa to pursue her passion for jewellery design and team up with local crafters to design and produce beautiful, modern jewellery native to that country. In addition to bold and colourful beadwork, she also incorporates semi-precious stones and crocheting into her African jewellery designs.
Pichulik is an ethical jewellery brand based in Cape Town, South Africa. Founded by Katherine-Mary Pichulik in 2012. Pichulik predominantly uses recycled polypropylene ropes combined with signature stones from across the African continent. The other components used include glass beads, hand-carved agate and carnelian from Ghana. All off-cuts from crafting are used for producing new pieces of jewellery.
Ami Doshi Shah
Ami Doshi shah crafts her pieces by hand while incorporating upcycled materials like rope, wood, metals, and a mélange of materials including pearls, black tourmaline, malachite, grosgrain, and leather into her designs. Made in Kenya, Ami’s statement neckpieces stand out in the crowd.
Ethical jewellery brand Soko works with Kenyan artisan entrepreneurs to help them build businesses, improve production capacity, and increase income sustainably. In addition to helping local artisans connect with consumers, Soko facilitates their access to orders, payments, and other opportunities to expand their business operations. Based in San Francisco, California & Kenya, The brand’s jewellery collection includes a stunning range of minimal classics and luxury pieces.
Ivorian designer Lafalaise Dion is popularly known for her headpieces and body accessories made with sustainably cowry shells. Dion sources her shells from merchants in the local markets of the Ivory Coast, and it takes her about two to four days to handcraft her pieces.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. In Africa, there are much more ethical and sustainable fashion and accessory brands. Please feel free to add brands that you know in the comments section below.