Africa is often seen as the home of precious gemstones and metals, with the world’s leading jewellery houses sourcing a steady stream of diamonds, gold and other minerals from the continent.
But Africa isn’t merely a source for raw materials: A new wave of homegrown jewellery houses is offering distinctly African luxury to customers near and far.
Sierra Leone-born Briton Satta Matturi, creative director of her namesake fine jewellery house, says that African jewellery designers often have to contend with preconceived notions of what African design is, including colonial stereotypes that see it as primitive.
But there is a rich history of distinct and intricate jewellery craft across the continent.
“Each region has its own style. Ghana, with its gold heritage; Kenya’s striking Masai neckpieces; South Africa’s Ndebele beading; Malian Tuareg adornment, Nigerian coral beads and ancient Egyptian influences,” she said in an email sent from Botswana, where she takes regular sourcing trips.
The house, founded in 2015, already counts Rihanna as a client.