Tuesday, June 2, 2015


18K Gold Zoe Hoop Earrings with Natural Blue
Peruvian Opal
A controversial locale with rumblings of racial discord, and a ban on travel to the region due to AIDS Africa's Ivory Coast is nonetheless a stunning testament to nature’s beauty. 

With a tropical climate the area is widely known for its national parks that include Comoe National Park and Mount Nimba Strict Reserve.

Africa is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Bunmi Balogun.

I love the versatility of gemstone jewelry.  Styles can range from the simple, single pendant designs of American jewelry designer Ruth Barzel to the daring bib necklaces of Filipina jeweler Nicole Whisenhunt.

The gorgeous wares of Balogun’s handmade jewelry brand, Manna Jewellery, rests somewhere in between. 

Hand-picking each precious and semi-precious gemstone Balogun cultivates a sumptuous display of lovely color schemes that elicit imagery of sprawling landscapes filled with a myriad of hues. 

The delicate 9-karat gold hoops of her Sade Earrings suspend six, stacked deep red coral branches offset by a single, green Vessonite briolette.  There is pale and dark blue (Peruvian opal, and lapis lazuli), creamy white (pearls), and gold (citrine).  The clustered structures of gemstone necklaces or bracelets are reminiscent of delectable fruit.
18K Gold Alicia Necklace with Amethyst Roundels
and Vessonite Briolettes
The London-based designer draws freely from her native home of Lagos, Nigeria, and her adoptive home of England to produce her stylish aesthetic.  Vintage style “continental ear wires” and the majestic “hand laid patterns” of her stunning 18- and 22-karat gold, medallion-like pendants tell a story of home for Balogun.

“I grew up in a household filled with vintage charms and antiques.  I draw heavily on the bohemian influences of my early childhood.  I wanted to create a collection that is an eclectic mix of vintage-inspired and ethnic jewelry.  You will find pieces with colors evocative of vibrant African prints yet subdued by the calming, muted tones of the British countryside,” she says.

Manna Jewellery also prides itself on creating custom jewelry designs from reworking heirlooms to restringing a vintage pearl necklace to developing a client’s “own designs.”

“We believe that it is possible to have a piece of jewelry specially made even on a limited budget.  We can bring a client’s design to life over a cup of tea or glass of wine.  Whether ready-to-wear or custom made pieces are made to last and to be cherished by future generations.”
18K Gold Capped Nephetiri Earrings
with Lapis Lazuli, Iolite, Smoky Quartz
and Apatite

2015 Jewelry Trend Alert: Balogun’s feminine jewelry creations are in-line with the year’s style trends that include vintage-inspired themes and hues like purple (amethyst) and red (ruby).
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