Last year, friends of mine took a trip to Africa. When they returned, their son gave me a beautiful necklace that was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I didn’t think I’d ever see anything like it here.
Recently, however, I learned more about this stunning jewelry and how you can buy it in North America and support the women in Africa working to make it possible!
Katy and Philip Leakey have brought this beautiful jewellery (known as ZuluGrass) to the world through The Leakey Collection, which was founded in 2002. Based in the Rift Valley of Kenya, East Africa, these renowned designers used natural elements of fallen wood, sustainable grass and “bush fired” porcelain to create uniquely exotic products. Each colorful piece contains vibrant design appeal while giving back to those that produce it.
What really appeals to me (other than the fact that the jewellery is gorgeous!) is that The Leakey Collection is giving back to the African communities that produce these pieces. According to their site, they protect the environment while giving economic opportunity to local communities in Kenya — you can read about the birth of ZuluGrass and how it has changed the lives of Maasai women! I also appreciate the fact that Katy and Philip Leakey aren’t simply the founders of the company who live a world away from where this jewelry is made – they currently live in the rural bush of the Rift Valley in Kenya, among the Maasai (which I think is amazing as it shows their commitment to the product and the people!).
And, as I mentioned, the jewelry itself is absolutely beautiful! I was immediately drawn to the ZuluGrass bracelets because I thought they had a stunning look to them. When the Multi-Strand Bracelet in Jamala arrived, it took me a moment to figure out how to put it on because it looked really small. I quickly realized, however, that the 16 strands were attached the hand burnished fallen Acacia hardwood and Czech glass beads with a thin, invisible elastic. The bracelet is easy to slip on and won’t slide off (perfect for me as I’m trying to get things done at work as I hate it when my bracelets get in the way or fall off!).
Because of the design of the ZuluGrass bracelet, it is incredibly versatile as well. I am able to wear it with a variety of different colours because it matches them (I have a teeny-tiny obsession with colour coordinating my jewelry with my clothing!). I can also wear it with a casual outfit (like jeans and a tee shirt) but it is beautiful enough to be worn to work or to wear out for a night on the town because it has a bit of bling but it isn’t overwhelming.
I’ve received a lot of compliments on my Zulugrass bracelet and I love being able to tell people about how this jewelry is changing the lives of Maasai families in Africa!