Remarkable, these jewels in glass beads and silver adornment are the combination and collaboration of an Italian design created by the students of the European Design Institute in Milan and the talent of 200 Maasai women artisans.
Besides the pleasure of wearing these bracelets made with love and craftsmanship, every dollar you spend is a vote cast to improve the social conditions of Maasai women.
These magnificent reversible necklaces in glass beads and silver adornment are the combination and collaboration of an Italian design created by the students of the European Institute of Design in Milan and the talent of 200 Maasai women artisans.
exotic and exquisite jewelry makes women look and feel even more beautiful!
Yet most people are surprised to hear our unusual story…
The idea for this jewelry project came as a creative and collaborative environmental solution to help stop deforestation in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, East Africa, while simultaneously addressing the poverty of the local Maasai tribe by using an innovative business solution. Until our jewelry project, the Maasai tribeswomen in this region generated income by cutting down trees and making and selling charcoal. This resulting deforestation was unsustainable and destructive to the balance of the ecosystem.
In 2006, through a chance meeting of two women in the small Kilimanjaro airport waiting room – Rossella Rossi (Founder and President of the Italian environmental protection NGO Istituto Oikos and Oikos East Afric), and safari lodge owner Tati Oliver – both deeply troubled by the increasing rate of deforestation and desertification they were witnessing all around them, a clever but simple idea was born. Logging bans had failed, impossible to implement, yet these Maasai women needed a way to make money to support their families. As the women talked the answer became clear. By combining strengths – the design genius from Italy and the rich beading artisanship of the Maasai – a company could be created offering an alternative work solution. Now instead of logging for charcoal these highly talented women artisans are meticulously handcrafting pieces of wearable art using designs created by students at the Instituto Europea di Design in Milan, led by partner and Director Francesca Soldini.
The development of this alternative micro-enterprise now protects the environment, preserves indigenous culture, at the same time creates a stable and sustainable income source for the women. The result has succeeded in greatly improving the lives of these Maasai who now can easily afford food, medicine, and other needs, and instead of resorting to manual labor many daughters are now studying hard as secondary school students. Now that’s a beautiful thing on many levels!
Help to keep this successful jewelry project going and growing by owning your very own pieces of the collection!