African jewellery designers marrying heritage with sharp design codes

These African jewellery designers – from Pichulik to Dejak – are putting the continent’s jewellery industry in the spotlight

jewellery by African jewellery designers
Left, Brian Kivuti, and right, Ami Doshi Shah
(Image credit: Courtesy of the designer)

African jewellery designers are ensuring the local industry is alive and well. On a continent with so many raw materials and elements, and known for its export of gold and diamonds, the African jewellery market value is rising. It is thanks to the increasing interest in and appreciation of Africa’s locally produced luxury items, but also to several industry players who are continuously on their game, trying to get the market moving – and this is especially true of the jewellery designers.

Four African jewellery designers and their brands

Katherine-Mary Pichulik

earrings by African jewellery designer Katherine-Mary Pichulik

(Image credit: Courtesy of the designer)

For Katherine-Mary Pichulik, jewellery design felt like a significant purpose, especially considering her background in fine art and past as a pastry chef and organic farmer between London, Spain and India. Pichulik credits her mother and the ‘big jewellery’ aesthetic of the 1980s as her biggest inspirations. She started her eponymous brand in 2013 as a hobby, and has since become a respected player in the South African fashion and jewellery space.

The Pichulik brand is an ethical one, cherishing ancient and contemporary cultures within Africa to create spectacular designs that are intricate, symbolic and creative. But the brand's biggest interest is in the elevation of the feminine and the empowerment of women; it wants each woman to feel powerful, with each piece created to perfect the female gaze and build elegance. 

With almost all materials locally sourced within sub-Saharan Africa, each Pichulik collection is made with fine gems and inspired by interesting mythological or contemporary stories. The recent collection titled ‘Kemet’ (the Egyptian term for black soil) dives into redefining the darkest moment of our lives and how they shape our growth. ‘Kemet’ predominantly features round shapes and neutral colours. 

Ami Doshi Shah

two pieces of jewellery resting on rock

(Image credit: Courtesy of the designer)

After training at the Birmingham School of Jewellery and working for 12 years in advertising between the UK and Kenya, Ami Doshi Shah started her eponymous jewellery brand in 2015. It focuses on the juxtaposition of textures, lines and form, and works with materials sourced in Kenya. The brand’s ethos embeds Kenyan stories into jewellery, something that Ami Doshi Shah says is very dear to the brand. 

Shah’s jewellery is visually evocative, with a fluid play on shape, from bold oblongs to metallic prisms. The brand has produced collections including 2018’s ‘Closure’ and 2019’s ‘Salt of the Earth’, which analysed the concept of power using the talismanic properties of jewellery. 

Brian Kivuti


(Image credit: Courtesy of the designer)

There is an artistic satisfaction in the pieces of Brian Kivuti, the Kenyan designer who describes his path into jewellery as a happenstance while he was studying at the University College of Creative Arts, UK. He combines jewellery design with photography and painting, which shaped his bespoke brand. 

Kivuti lives on experimentation, whether in shape, form or materials, which pre-informs his brand and vision. Each piece of jewellery is reflective of the story Kivuti wants to tell, such as the fisherman bracelet or the ‘Sea Form’ collections, which take the shape of aquatic bodies. 

The designer is also keen on collaboration. The ‘’ design is a fine piece of silver shaped to reflect a clouded mountain, made in collaboration with Bubu Ogisi, the Nigerian fashion designer, for her collection ‘Chasing Evil’.

Adele Dejak 


(Image credit: Courtesy of the designer)

First impressions of Adele Dejak’s jewellery brand are of a vibrant Afro-centric concept; whether it’s capturing the cultural significance of a blessing in Swahili or reimagining century-old symbols and motifs, everything is expected to fit into the African narrative. Founded by Nigerian jewellery designer Adele Dejak, the brand is prominent in shaping Africa’s jewellery industry, with pieces worn by global stars including Beyonce. 

Adele Dejak’s aesthetic encompasses minimalist black and white, juxtaposed with the vibrancy of bronze and gold, symbolising the wealth and glamour of the continent but also cherishing the essence of the feminine. The brand is driven by the narrative of diverse cultures and traditions across the continent. Its 2024 collection ‘Baraka’ focuses on the supremacy of women, nodding to stories of warrior women to create signature gold-bronze pieces.

Ugonna-Ora Owoh is a journalist and editor based in Lagos, Nigeria. He writes on arts, fashion, design, politics and contributes to Vogue, New York Times, Wallpaper, Wepresent, Interior Design, Foreign Policy and others.