| Mischke Bosse
As local fashion labels get more and more attention and farmer’s markets are packed to the brim every weekend, it’s becoming clear that consumers are starting to embrace locally-made, locally-sourced and small-batch items now more than ever.
Few of us are aware that jewellery and accessories are another field in which we are able to support local artisans. Not only is it better from a sustainability perspective, as many designers choose to use locally-sourced products, materials, and people to help make their creations, but you’re also buying a truly one-of-a-kind product, made with much more effort and love than any mass-produced alternative.
Here are 5 other things we bet you didn’t know about locally-made, handcrafted jewellery:
1. We weren’t lying when we said it’s more sustainable
Not only will you often find harsh chemicals in the manufacturing process of large-scale jewellery production, but even in the high-end cases has it been found that gold and diamonds, in particular, get mined and treated under questionable conditions.
Handmade artists are often dedicated to sustainably and ethically sourced materials, with raw materials coming from suppliers that have earned their trust.
2. You’re supporting real people
When it comes to big corporations, it’s almost impossible to know where your money is going to. On the other hand, when you choose to invest in small businesses, you’re supporting a real person or people.
Most local brands are very transparent about the team behind the products and openly share the story of how the brand came to be, allowing you to personally connect with the makers behind the product.
Madri van Zyl, started Iloni Jewellery and Lorne Jewellery’s Founder & Designer, Gillian Lawrence who have managed to grow their teams, creating much-needed job opportunities for the South African communities.
Ultimately, there’s nothing more rewarding than knowing your money will go towards something good - and you might even be the reason small-scale entrepreneurs send their kids to school or create jobs for more people in their communities.
3. The quality is guaranteed to be outstanding
Large-scale machines are pumping out hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces in a single day, making it almost impossible to guarantee flawless pieces every time.
With handmade jewellery being just that, made by “hands”, the attention to detail that goes into every piece is unparalleled and along with that, small-scale production makes is easier to track and control the manufacturing process from start to finish.
Don’t forget that local designers are ultimately putting their names on these pieces and they probably aren’t going to allow something of inferior quality leave their studio with their name on it.
4. These pieces are ultimately works of art in their own right - so time is spent creating them in extensive detail
As previously mentioned, there are no mass-producing machines involved, so it takes an incredible amount of time to produce just a single piece of handmade jewellery. That’s a lot more devotion, care, and attention that goes into every piece.
The makers create and conceptualize every range and piece, leading to a very intimate relationship between the pieces, the maker and their design process.
Founder & Designer, Gillian Lawrence from Lorne talks about her process, saying “our process is spontaneous yet polished, not only producing jewellery, but wearable art.”
Whilst Madri from Iloni states that “each handcrafted piece is unique and fits into a larger theme or series with a specific story, colour palette and range of materials.”
5. You’re more likely to own an exclusive piece
The jewellery brands stocked on the AFRENAI marketplace offer a selection of pieces that will be unique to you.
Owning a piece of handmade jewellery gives you a feeling of exclusivity, as ranges and sometimes even singular pieces, are often limited edition and hardly every replicated again. A select number of pieces are made in every range, making it different than the machine-made alternatives that are more focused on how much can be made.
Choosing a piece of locally-and handmade jewellery not only means you’re choosing the more sustainable option, but with every piece purchased you’re also supporting something bigger than yourself. Consider all of the above when looking at the cost involved and ultimately you should feel good about making the investment to support an artist’s expression, the growth of our local small businesses and overall industry and that growth leading to local businesses employing more people from their communities, which may also be your community.