Our little teapot shaped country is not always perfect but I'm yet to meet a Zimbabwean at home or abroad who doesn't love something about home. You may already know I grew up on farms, lived on farms my whole life until I went off to discover the world of jewellery and precious gemstones.
My first stop was a university lab where I learnt all about metalsmithing, gemstones, designing jewellery and Computer Aided Design. When I walked in on my first day, I was struck by how CLEAN everything was. Strong white lights, biometric locks on every door, double bars over every window, chains, lots of padlocks and a strict security policy as a welcome. No-one who was not part of the department was allowed in – completely necessary considering that our textbooks and pencils were precious metals and gemstones. It was a big change from blue skies, golden sunshine, delicious green leaves, cowbells and birdsongs at sunset!
So it is not entirely surprising that the minute my lecturers said I was allowed make what I wanted, I found my hands forming leaves upon leaves, as lifelike as I could get them; twisting, coaxing rigid metal into fluid welcoming shapes. At that point it was my way of bringing home to me. I wanted to be able to close my eyes, touch and be able to tell it is a leaf with endless bumps and curves. A leaf I might see back on the Zimbabwean farm. So started our leaf jewellery.
Once I moved back to Zimbabwe and set up Eileen M Jewellery, I visited my childhood home. I spent an afternoon walking around and delighting in the very feeling of being home and enjoying the sound of Msasa pods crackling underfoot. When I got back to the studio, suddenly everything I was making kept coming out curled, twisted or curved despite contrary efforts. After several tries I gave up and let my hands have their way and voila our Msasa pieces were born. A perfect reminder of a very beloved place.
With the addition of the Msasa pods to the leaf pieces a theme was emerging; so I decided to sit down and create a special collection inspired by the things we love about Zimbabwe. The little delightful things you find on the Savanna. So among the bends and twirls of gleaming silver in our jewellery you will find charming things like Butterfly jewellery, Tree Pod jewellery and Wildflower studs with semi precious gemstones.
The latest additions to the Savanna Collection are the Flame Lily pieces and the Jacaranda Statement Necklace. As you may or may not not know the Flame Lily is Zimbabwe's national Flower and the sight of the flaming flower amidst a forest of grass is a thing of great beauty not easily shaken off. Our Flame lily Chain includes fiery citrine and garnet and a selection of other semi precious gemstones.
If you land in Zimbabwe at the right time, nothing says welcome like an avenue lined with purple cloaked Jacaranda trees. It took a while but I finally settled on a statement piece that celebrates the beautiful Jacaranda tree. We used Amethysts to remind you of the flowers.
The very normal beautiful everyday serenades and uplifts, be it msasa pods crunching underfoot, an avenue carpeted with purple flowers or pretty little flowers merrily dancing to the breeze. I wanted to capture a bit of that beauty in small reminders of the little things we love about Zimbabwe. At its heart the Savanna Collection is an invitation to remember the beautiful simple things of each day, a gentle reminder to ‘take care of’ and be ‘thankful for.’
There you have it dear reader, a few of the stories behind our Savanna collection. Take a moment to browse the whole collection here.