Eco-sustainability is the new black in the fashion world and we wanted to do our part and alert you to our favorite burgeoning sustainable jewelry line, Kora (www.koradesigns.com). Amy Walker and Maxandra Short are the two bodacious blonde masterminds behinds this emerging line of jewelry, made from African cow horns. Their eco-chic philosophy goes a step further than most, as they not only source their materials from Rwanda and Kenya, but also employ the local artisans to produce their designs. This outsourcing creates jobs and economic opportunities for the workshops and artisans who are employed by Kora, potentially spurring long-term economic success.
Browsing their online store and reading their blog, which chronicles their adventures of traversing across Africa, allows us to indulge or fashion needs without the guilt, much like our newly acquired frozen yogurt habit.
Kora’s jewelry is made from the horns of the indigenous East African Ankole cow. These cow horns are considered waste at local butcheries, allowing Kora to scoop them up and dole them out to local artisans in Rwanda and Kenya, who then diligently craft these organic horns into polished bracelets, faceted rings, necklaces and more. On their last sojourn to Africa, the ladies decided to amp up their designs and are now adding brass studs to horn pieces, and wrapping brass wire around the bangles to give the jewelry even more depth and intricacy. They seem to be most excited about the prospect of recycled aluminum as a new medium, as a pile of bangles will simultaneously feel weightless and look divine on a bronzed summer wrist.
What we love about Kora’s jewelry is how these artisans are able to bring to light the inherently organic and original patterns and markings found within the horns’ surface. The juxtaposition between the variation of pattern yet coherence of material within a gaggle of bangles amuses our eye. As soon as we dredge through June gloom in Southern California and finally get to embrace the summer sun, we cannot wait to adorn ourselves with these beauties, perfectly accenting all summer attire, from white linen shirts to bohemian blouses.
“Kora” translates to “work” in Rwanda’s native language, and that is exactly what Amy and Maxandra have set out to do. We could not be happier supporting their dream of creating a symbiotic relationship between the fashion world and a third world county, eco-sustainability bliss!
Here are some of our favorite designs: