Inspired by the traditional designs of the Ndebele people in South Africa, Amahlé aims to create sophisticated, durable jewellery for women across Europe. Created by two French entrepreneurs, Amahlé’s jewellery is made by women in rural South Africa.
Amahlé first collection is inspired by Ndebele designs that are painted, mostly by women, against the walls of their houses. “We have reinterpreted their paintings to create a range of bracelets and necklaces faithful to their style but with a contemporary look,” says co-founder Chloé Lamberger speaking to Design Indaba.
Partnering with two non-profit organisations in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, all Amahlé’s bracelets are created by local crafters. It takes roughly two to eight hours to bead a bracelet depending on the design, Lamberger says. From there, the bracelets are shipped to Paris where brass gold finishing is added before it is made available to the consumer.
Parisian-born Lamberger, who travelled to South Africa for and academic exchange programme, co-founded Amahlé after she saw an increasing interest in African design in the European society. She adds that she frequently travelled to South Africa and always returned with traditional beaded bracelets, but they were too fragile for everyday use.
“The problem was that these beaded bracelets were fragile and did not look sophisticated enough for the working girl I was in Paris. But the skills were amazing and I started to think: what if by working with the crafters, we could combine the traditional skills and designs with modern clasps and colours to make them handsome pieces of jewellery?”
The Amahlé bracelets are available in five bracelet designs and one necklace. They come in four different colour schemes, which includes pink and green, red and blue, midnight blue and yellow and turquoise.
The company has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the venture.