The Art of Wearing Craft; A look at Artisanal Jewelry
The word “artisanal” describes intricate, handmade, sometimes one-of-a-kind pieces that embody the creator’s skill and dedication to artistry. Nigerians are no strangers to these items, with our clothes fashioned in the fabric of our choosing; Ankara, Adire, Aso-Oke, into our desired styles that often may not be replicable.
This same skill and creative artistry are present in jewellery making, with Nigerian jewellers expressing themselves through beautiful pieces handmade with the Nigerian woman in mind.
Document Women spoke to Olasunkanmi Odejimi, a natural stone jeweller, owner of WÚRÁ LÈSÓ and a freelance brand strategist, about the process of crafting the brand’s intricate natural stone jewellery.
Their wide array of jewellery includes dainty necklaces, rings, bracelets and necklaces with gorgeous gemstones; turquoise, malachite, emerald, ruby and many more.
Launched in April 2021, Wúrá Lèsó (meaning gold is fashion in Yoruba) is an online natural
stone jewellery brand. Olasunkanmi says, “we pride ourselves in creating and producing minimalist jewellery pieces made from earth stones.”
Wúrá Lèsó makes all kinds of jewellery from natural stones. When asked about their process, Olasunkanmi says,
“The first step of production is to outsource from mines the most popular gems; Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Citrine and Aquamarine (but not limited to these, we have created over 20 kinds of natural stone pieces). Then the stones are cut and polished according to the design I have drawn. If the stone is to be made into an earring or bracelet, we cut them bigger. But if they are to be made into a ring or necklace, the stones are smaller to make them dainty enough. My love for minimalism and daintiness inspires the pieces.”
Their personal favourite part of the process is content creation. “When I take pictures and videos of the products and introduce them to our audience, it gives me great joy when they express their delight in the pieces.”
We also spoke to Destiny Olofintila, owner and jeweller at The Blacksheep company, about their handmade gold-filled and stainless steel pieces.
The owner has always had an affinity for well-made things, and attention to detail, and these traits influence her creative process and business. “I’ve always been crafty, and I’m honestly not surprised I make a living crafting.”
Destiny says her inspiration and goal is to see customers satisfied with their jewellery. “For every positive feedback we receive from a sale, a huge dose of adrenaline is pumped in. It’s always a reminder that we’re doing something right, and it drives us to get better, create better pieces and processes and innovate more ways to accessorise people. The same goes for not-so-positive feedback. Our customers honestly inspire what we make. They are young professionals and business owners who want to look good every day. They need simple items that don’t get in the way of their hustle and bustle but still allow them to speak their style.”
The Blacksheep Company started making fashion accessories in 2016. “We have grown a huge deal from making just single custom items to having a production line that produces hundreds of accessories weekly.”
Destiny’s favourite parts of the process are creating new designs and handling her business's finances. “These two things come naturally to me; I absolutely enjoy creating new designs. There’s just a wow factor like I made this! It’s beautiful. I also love that by looking at my numbers, I can see that all our efforts as a team amount to something tangible. It puts food on our tables, and we have hundreds of satisfied people wearing beautiful items we made! Three years ago, I would have said accounting and the numbers were my least favourite part, but these days, it’s one of my favourite things. I guess I’m embracing the beauty that each segment of running the business brings.”