Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


September 30th, 2012

Kora Designs – Beautiful jewelery beautifully sourced

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Written by: Jacqueline Shaw
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Founded in 2009 by long time friends Maxandra Short and Amy Walker, Kora Designs began with a collection of horn cuffs, as below. Today the range has broadened greatly and includes a wide range of stunning bangles, necklaces, rings and earrings as well as the original cuffs. Short and Walker were inspired to establish their business out of a love of fashion design and a passion for development through trade. The collections are produced in Rwanda by talented artisans who receive fair wages for their craftsmanship and use this to invest in furthering their own businesses. The name Kora, reflects their ethic of trade not aid, meaning simply ‘work’ in Kinyarwandan, the national language of Rwanda.

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The really interesting part of Kora Designs jewellery is the sourcing of the materials they use to make their beautiful designs. Here is a brief summary of where it all comes from.. The horn is ‘rescued’ horn from the Ankole cow, a breed indigenous to East Africa, it is purchased from the local abattoirs or butchers where it would otherwise be thrown away as a by product of the meat industry. The Aluminium is 100% recycled from old car parts and cooking pots that are melted down in a workshop outside of Nairobi. The Brass is all repurposed industrial brass wire sourced from Kenya and all the brass work is done locally in Haruma, Kenya. The glass is also 100% recycled and made by Kitengela glass works in Rongai, Kenya. And finally the bone is carved from discarded cow bone, a by-product of the farming industry. The bone is cleaned, dyed and then hand-carved in Nairobi before it is thoroughly polished to produce its high gloss. A brilliant background story to a stunning statement piece of jewelery. And it seems that the press agree, since their beginnings in 2009 they have been featured in publications such as Marie Claire, InStyle and Vogue.

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The most recent addition to the Kora collection is these neon polychrome necklaces, perfect for layering. With a lot of influence from the designers wanderlust and love of traditional adornment, Kora designs have created a collection of truly fresh and exciting designs, check them out here ( or in 65 stores around the world who stock them (check out the stockists page for a store near you). My personal favorite is this Suede cord wrapped brass cuff..

Image of Suede Wrapped Brass Cuff - Periwinkle

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Author: Imogen Butler


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