4 Black Female Jewelry Brands To Bling Up Your Life
By Pascia Sangoubadi
Diversity. It's 2018's buzzword. In all industries, people of color are calling for action to be seen and heard in their natural state, rather than having their culture stripped from them and being reduced to a caricature or invisible altogether. Unfortunately, Black women in particular, are not seen as the face of our own art!
Recently, dark-skinned South African jewelry designer Hleziphansi Zits of Nandi.Naya has accused Elle South Africa of colorism and rightfully so. In a story focusing on South African jewelry brands, each designer was asked to present their own headshot. As the only Black female designer, Nandi's picture was not present, and a white model from her e-commerce shoot was the filler. Once again, this linked the inability of Black women to be seen to the beauty standards embedded in white supremacy. But Nandi and the proceeding designers are not defined by their exterior. They are defined by their exquisite work in a field where they are underrepresented. With November as national jewelry month, NYC Jewelry Week, and the holidays coming up, why not put these Black jewelry designers on your radar.
1. Nandi. Naya
Handcrafted by South African native Hleziphansi Zits, Nandi.Naya, is a minimalist jewelry brand that emphasizes generational sisterhood and motherhood through sleek, sculptural statement pieces, some named after dynamic consequential women. The “Eartha” earrings are dainty and ethereal square-shaped hoops, reminiscent of Black actress and singer Eartha Kitt’s irrebuttable sensuality. Her latest collection, “Everybody needs a Rock” is based on a children’s book by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Peter Parnall. The Kahlo, a semi-choker necklace of clear, bulbous quartz with a center of an irregular sterling silver circle piece imitates Baylor’s poetic imagery in words and Pernall’s use of geometric shapes to convey emotion in his illustrations. Other pieces by the high-cheek boned mom of two include the Zola and Yoli earrings, which both focus on lines and spherical shapes. These pieces are adaptable into any wardrobe by the modern-day woman or Zits's own mini it-girl, Nandi who has cultivated her own style at a tender age which earned her the title of her mom’s label.
Shop at: http://www.nandinayanyc.com/shop/
Brooklyn-based accessories designer behind Edas, Sade Mims creates beautiful sustainable jewelry from refurbished materials designed to connect one to their African heritage. Although Mims is a Lansdowne, Pennsylvania native. “I personally feel that Africa is home, even though I haven’t reached the continent yet. I am a product of the diaspora so with this body of work. I am trying to speak to that sense of interaction and association,” she says in an interview with Nataal.com. One can clearly see the interaction in her latest “Their” collection which combines geometric lines and shapes with wooden beads complete in earthy brown, sunset orange, and sky blue hues.
Shop at: https://www.edasjewels.com/
3. Third Crown
Kristen and Kofi Essel are a Black couple powerhouse behind Third Crown, the jewelry label probably worn by your favorite artist. The Essel’s use their relationship as an anchor for their budding jewelry brand. Joined together in a cab ride in 2003, the now husband-and-wife duo have been inseparable and creating bling just as strong as their bond. Their collection is full of chunky and architectural bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings all in the color gold to harmonize with their brand name. It’s no surprise that music dynasty that is the Knowles sisters, have been seen sporting a few Third Crown pieces.
Dynasty and Soull Ogun are the eccentric twins behind the breakout brand L'Enchanteur. Based in Flatbush, Brooklyn, these self-proclaimed gender binary twins seek to encourage one to "transform their lifestyle" through jewelry. Inspired by alchemy, spirituality, and folklore, L’Enchanteur is a favorite amongst Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu, J. Cole, and is featured in countless publications. Some of their popular pieces include gold finger caps, sun god earrings, and palm of our hands rings.