Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Modern African Bead Jewelry by Jewellahry

By on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 8 Comments

Without a doubt, the African contribution to bead jewelry and art has been tremendous. But what do modern young African designers create these days if not the traditional patterns? Well, I got to find out when Susan Ellah contacted me and introduced her line called JewELLAHry on Facebook.

Ellah as she prefers to be called, is still young at 23. A self taught beader based in Nairobi, Kenya, she started selling her jewelry locally after people kept asking where her earrings came from!

From that classic beginning, Ellah now says, "My dream is to one day have my accessories in a haute couture show." Her striking and bold bead and wire designs are certainly dramatic enough for any runway.

She is one step closer to her dream as her earrings were worn on the Miss Universe 2010 catwalk - by Hellen Dausen who is Miss Tanzania. This lovely woman was also featured in a magazine article wearing more of Ellah's creations - see her blog post.

The photo shoot pictures here were taken by Leon Muli and modeled by Thogi and others.

This male neckpiece below is made from paper beads and wire. It's a truly modern minimalist take on traditional African beaded collars.

Ellah started her blog not long ago. I am sure you all can relate to what she said in her profile :

"Beads are like tiny inedible sweets which become addictive. I get bead highs; don't stop working till I'm satisfied. What I do is neither a hobby or a job. It is a PASSION! My PASSION!"

I do hope she will keep up with her delightful blog when she can tear herself away from beading. One blog post was about a trip she made with her little daughter to a crocodile farm which included this humorous sign :

Before you go:
For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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  1. I'm humbled by the feature. I couldn't have written about me better! :)

  2. Very cool!! I really enjoyed it.

  3. African trade beads go back to antiquity which proves that they've been designing beaded jewelry for a very long time. It is a pleasure to see this heritage is being utilized and in such a beautiful and different way. Ellah's designs are very haute couture so I'm sure she'll be seeing her dream repeated in reality many times over.

  4. Striking earrings...Ellah is an amazing designer!
    I'm sure she will accomplish her dreams.

  5. Her beading is wonderful - I love those earrings in the 2nd picture. I would say she is really close to realizing her dreams!

  6. Great work. Ellah! They are big and bold but very classy. I like them alot. You inspire some of us other designers.

  7. Beautiful beading work. Very striking!