African Jewelry takes many forms and has a number of functions besides bodily adornment. It can be storage of wealth; amassing gold or precious metals or stones in bracelets and amulets; or it can be a symbol of prestige and power reflecting status in society… or it can just simply be a decorative item used to hold hair back. The oldest African jewelry ever discovered was recently found, in 2004, in the Blombos cave on the southern tip of S. Africa. They are estimated at being over 75,000 years old and are pea-sized, mollusc shell beads that had been pierced. They have worn areas indicating that they were probably once strung into a necklace or bracelet. There are other African beads dating back 45,000 years.
African jewelry is interpreted in many ways in the contemporary fashion world. Black models are very in vogue and tribal adornment embellishes and enhances many necks and bodies of all races. Piece - this is a collection that pays tribute to the creative power of the African people and how the use and trade of beads has been so significant in Africa's history and culture. Designed in collaboration with Beauty Maswanganyi, master beader, the collection seeks to reflect the contribution of San bushmen with their ostrich shell beads, the African blacksmith who made cast bronze beads, the Mozambican precious natural resources with hand carved timber beads, West African communities who used cowrie shells as currency. No wonder the African Jewelry items tend to be big and bold to speak for their ethnic personality!