TWR has been tipped off about some GORGEOUS jewellery by our friends Francesca and Lorna, who thought it was right up our street. Jewels of the Kalahari is a collaborative venture between two UK based jewellery experts and the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, in Southern Africa. Well to be exact, it's the women in the tribe who seem to do the work (what's new?) and they are a formidable bunch apparently. They turn the shells of ostrich eggs (once they've eaten the eggs and the shells have been used as water carriers for a while) into small, carved beads that form the basis of the designs.
It's something this tribe has being doing for aeons, but although they like to sell the beads, there's not much passing trade in the Kalahari. Which is where Anna Haber and her partner Sabine Roemer come in. The ladies have developed a 19 piece collection of necklaces, earrings and bracelets in collaboration with the tribe and are committed to finding retailers to sell them in the West to create a sustainable business that will generate a consistent income for them.
Anna and Sabine are in it for the long haul with the tribe, they are trying to get the story of the Kalahari's many problems out into the world. They also have plans to work with other tribes to keep skills and heritage crafts alive by bringing them to the attention of retailers. Since fashion designers are always looking to Africa for inspiration, it's great to see Anna and Sabine giving something back and helping to sustain tradition through commerce.
The jewellery is just fabulous. Some pieces are sold in Browns in London and are on the online site, Anna is happy to hear from anyone wanting additional designs too so email her via the charming blog she writes explaining more about the project One Fine Thread. There's also a video to watch here, which is also magical, don't you wish you could dance like these kids?
When the gilrls were out working with the women of the tribe, they befriended a beautiful orphan named Sekopaleina, who has lost both her parents to HIV, She modelled the jewellery for them while friend and photographer Boo George took the pictures (below).The last picture is of one of the worker's hands, gorgeous.