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Contemporary African Jewellery The Roots Project Beaded Dinka Corset

Absolutely stunning; I am in awe of this draped cape, it looks like it has been knitted but in fact has made with strand upon strand of tiny beads and in what is most certainly a time consuming process. Known as a Dinka Corset the garment takes a few weeks to make and is just one of the examples of traditional and contemporary African jewellery being produced by members of the Roots Project, a not-for-profit organisation with a centre based in Nimra Talata, Juba, the capital of South Sudan located by the Nile River. Founded in 2009 by Anyieth D’Awol; a human […]

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Dainty and Romantic African Print Inspired Jewellery

Introduced to Manna through an article in online magazine, Hornblend, I was instantly taken with the delicate vintage feel of the jewellery pieces that are designed and handmade by designer Bunmi Balogun, who works from her studio in London’s Kensington. Growing up in a home filled with vintage charm and antiques Bunmi is inspired by the old; by heritage and craftsmanship, coupled with the influences of her highly creative parents and multicultural upbringing; the designer was born in Nigeria, grew up in Lagos and rural England and travelled extensively. These diverse influences can be seen across Manna designs through the shapes, forms and patterns used, […]

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African Inspired Jewellery Nasimiyu Upholding Cultural Traditions

An abundance of colourful beads strung, woven and twisted together form the striking jewellery pieces from Nasimiyu. Designed to go beyond mere adornment, the laden pieces are created by Nasimiyu Wekesa, a Kenyan jewellery designer based in the USA, who through each piece she creates tells a story of past and present. Nasimiyu believes that beads are personal possessions, ones that remind us of our ancestors and serve to connect us to our cultural traditions and heritage. Nasimiyu is inspired by the various uses and symbolism of beads in traditional African cultures, such as beads given during rites of passage ceremonies to […]

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Ida Elsje South African Fine Artist Turned Jewellery Designer

I was just browsing when I came across some beautifully carved rings and floral inspired earrings by South African fine artist turned jewellery designer Ida Elsje. Specialising in bespoke handmade platinum and diamond engagement rings, Ida works from a studio and shop in CapeTown, South Africa and is one of the country’s leading contemporary jewellery designers. Ida sees her fine jewellery as ‘miniature wearable sculpture’ and established her eponymous label almost a decade ago inspired by her fine art background, the metals she enjoyed working with, and her love of sculpture. [Image credit: Editorial – Ida Elsje]

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Mijola Daniel Precious Gem African Inspired Jewellery

Situated along London’s fashionable King’s Road you will find Mijola Daniel, a jewellery boutique offering its clients exquisite African inspired jewellery pieces, along with a bespoke service for those in search of something more personal. Mijola Daniel was set up by Bola Ogundipe; a design lover who was looking for some flexibility in her working life after the birth of her third child. Combining her African heritage with western design influences Bola created her first collection  and then went on to have her creations stocked within various concessions around West London. Her heart, however, lay in opening her own boutique a dream she realised in […]

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Ndau Collections Eclectic Jewellery Inspired By Africa

I have a thing for peacock feathers; must be the vivid colours, so instantly honed in on the Peacock Feather and Silver Cuff from the Ndau Collection, jewellery inspired by Africa designed by a collective of jewellery and accessory designers based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. I would like to wear it round my neck, just image the effect when paired with an LDB not necessarily in black though, I’m thinking fuchsia or teal blue… Growing up in Harare, the city and indeed much of the major tourist areas of the country were full of shops showcasing the arts and crafts of […]

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South African Jewellery Designer Anton Heunis Modern Vintage Style

Exuding an air of charm and sophistication from a bygone era coupled with layers of sparkly opulence the bejewelled creations from South African jewellery designer Anton Heunis are jewellery box treasures; the type of pieces you expect see when playing dress up, and so earn the name ‘Modern Vintage’ words Anton uses to describe his work. No surprises then that Anton was inspired by the glamorous jewellery found on his grandmother’s dressing table during his childhood growing up in South Africa, which led to him eventually launching his eponymous accessories label in 2004 after settling in Madrid. Visually striking, I am reminded […]

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Anita Quansah London Bespoke Jewellery And Eco-Adornment

Bold, beautiful and highly expressive accessories that celebrate the strength of a woman without compromising on femininity; just some of the defining characteristics to be found in the jewellery pieces from UK-based accessory designer Anita Quansah. Having trained as a textile designer, Anita set up her eponymous eco-luxury fashion textiles and accessories label in 2006 and saw her intricately embellished textiles leading to the creation of ornate jewel laden neckpieces and the influence is unmistakable when you see the textural quality of the pieces. I can’t get enough of the flower-like statement choker below; the intensity of the violet hue […]

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Dannijo African Antique And Vintage Trade Beads Jewellery

I stumbled upon the blog Out and About Africa where I came across some colourful creations that included striking African antique and vintage trade beads jewellery pieces from trendy New York-based jewellery and accessories label; DANNIJO. Working with an eclectic mix of materials, beads and inspiration sourced from around the world; DANNIJO was founded by sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder in 2008; and sees their handmade designs mixing Danielle’s bohemian, rocker vibe with Jodie’s preference for timeless sophistication. The initial inspiration for DANNIJO came about through a visit to Kenya by Danielle, who upon graduating college sought ways to affect positive change within the […]

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Piece South African Jewellery And Adornment Exhibition

Some of South Africa’s top creative talent have come together to create a stunning range of contemporary South African jewellery and other adornment in an exhibition entitled ‘Piece’, a pioneering brand that is active in the handicraft sector with a focus on business training, product development and creating sustainable business. Working extensively throughout the Southern African region, the idea for Piece was born when founder Eugenie Drakes, who was attending a workshop at Ngwenya Glass Blowers in Swaziland, met and asked ceramist Andile Dyalvane of Imiso Ceramics, to make some ceramic beads for her. Upon receiving some sample beads the team at […]

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Corinne Hamak Africa Inspired Jewellery Collection

Beautifully bright and stylishly simple I love the organic forms in London-based jewellery designer Corinne Hamak’s ‘Africa’ inspired jewellery collection. Reminding me of the intensity of African sunsets, vibrant red and yellow hues mixed with silver and gold metals make for complementary pretty, chic pieces. The Africa inspired jewellery collection was inspired by the Ghanaian artform of creating beads using glass that has been ground up.

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Adèle Dejak Contemporary African Jewellery And Accessories

‘Lots and lots of Africa with an injection of European influences’ is how jewellery designer Adèle Dejak describes the inspiration for her striking collections of contemporary African jewellery. Born in Kano, Nigeria and raised in Cambridge, UK; Adèle moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 2005 where she started her business Magik Grace Art and Design. Although trained as a typographer Adèle’s move to Kenya saw her take up painting before eventually turning her artistic attentions to jewellery design, launching her new eponymous brand of contemporary African jewellery, Adèle Dejak earlier this year. [Image credit: Adèle Dejak]

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North African jewellery Design Kuati Sahara Necklace

Feel like a goddess with a spectacular choker style necklace from Kuati. Made up of many individual pieces the Sahara necklace is a handmade North African jewellery design piece and is a beautiful study of intricate craftsmanship, it looks like an ancient heirloom and carries within it the intrigue, mystery and wonder of the desert and people that inspired it. Complimenting the necklace are hand made cuffs that come in 18k gold plated or silver and are available in a long or short length depending on your preference. The cuffs feature intricate North African jewellery design details etched into the metal.

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Mikuti Beaded Maasai Bangles African Inspired Jewellery

[Imagecredit: Musa Bangle – Mikuti] Get a glimpse into a vibrant part of Tanzanian culture with these gorgeously colourful African inspired jewellery bangles from Mikuti; a socially active company founded by US-based Erika Freund, who after spending time in the country as a volunteer set up the business to produce simple yet striking jewellery designs in partnership with various artists, individuals and workshops in Tanzania. Inspired by the colourful and distinctive Maasai jewellery and beaded adornment, the ‘Musa Bangles’ are hand cut and shaped into a circle of polished aluminium that comes from an airplane wing and is accentuated with two colourful swathes […]

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Beloved Beadwork Modern South African Beaded Jewellery

Armed with a needle and thread I remember trying in vain to emulate the bead creations I so admired from local traditional beaders across Southern Africa; I thought it would be easy, but a lack of patience and immense frustration saw me quickly abandon my meagre efforts. So when I see stunning contemporary South African beaded jewellery creations from innovative creative business’ like Beloved Beadwork all I can do is scratch my head and ask myself ‘how did they manage to do that!!!’ …I am in awe of the skills. Beloved Beadwork as the name suggests was born out of a love […]

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Exquisite Gems Nehita Fine Jewellery Design And Accessories

I’m not a fan of huge oversize earrings that overshadow the face and in the process stretch earlobes to the limit, but do love flirty dangly earrings; especially ones with colourful little stones that sparkle, catching the light with every flick and turn of the head, so when I came across some exquisite little gems from Los Angeles based Nehita fine jewellery design I was hooked. [Image credit: Nehita Earrings – MaxandChloe]

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Akawelle Turning Bullets Into Exquisite Handmade Jewellery

Lovetta Conto is a gifted young woman on a mission; smart, determined to succeed and affect positive change. A few years ago at just seventeen years of age Lovetta set about turning bullets into exquisite handmade jewellery with a story; traded under the name ‘Akawelle’ which translates as ‘also known as love’. [Image credit: Akawelle necklace] 

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Chris Aire Nigerian Born Luxury Timepieces and Jewellery Designer

You could say watches are to men what shoes are women; highly desirable collectables that can make you lose all manner of sense and sensibility when the ‘must-have’ spirit takes over. Enter Chris Aire, the Nigerian born luxury timepieces and jewellery designer to the stars, whose über luxurious designs cater to his discerning clientele’s must-have demands; and Chris knows his A-list clientele well given the rather long list of Hollywood elite, celebrities, sportsmen and business people all flaunting his creations. [Image credit: Parley men’s watch – Chirs Aire]

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Nigerian Heritage Inspires Jewellery Designer Shirley Ephraim

Like glistening dew drops hanging of shimmering silken strands in the early light of dawn, thus I was reminded when I first viewed Costa Rican / Nigerian jewellery designer Shirley Ephraim’s breathtaking organic and free flowing designs. Shirley’s work is hauntingly beautiful; delicate strands of hand woven fibres are combined with rare gemstones, crystals and sterling silver to give the pieces depth whilst managing to maintain the barely there aesthetic. [Image credit: Shirley Ephraim]

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
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  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive