Object of Affection: One-of-a-Kind Jewelry Made by Rwandan Women

Nothing beats a beautiful item that looks good, feels good…and DOES good.

These brightly-hued, obviously handmade pieces caught my eye on a recent visit to Anthropologie’s new offspring, the Anthropologie Shoes & Accessories Store in the Mall at Green Hills. And one look at the lovely attached labels, and I was completely smitten.

Each piece is from Rwanda, made by hand by women who somehow survived the 1994 genocide, when almost a million of their fellow citizens were murdered. The company, Gahaya Links, was founded by two Rwandan women, and all of its wares bear a small label with the name and photo of the woman responsible.

The company’s story alone is compelling enough, but these are simply beautiful pieces. They’re unique, they’re colorful, and they’re light — important requisites for any summer accessory. The pillowy, doughnut-shaped bracelets would be amazing worn in multiples, or mixed with a favorite link bracelet. The beaded, tasseled, charm-laden ribbon wraps can do double-duty around a wrist or neck.

A final note. There are plenty of companies that claim you’ll “do good” by buying their products. And I’ve gotten a little skeptical, I must admit. Though I have no deep details on Anthropologie’s collaboration with Gahaya Links, I was impressed that Gahaya was actually founded and owned by two Rwandan women — no middlemen (or women) between what they produce and the companies they export to.


About Cindy Wall

Cindy’s a communications and marketing pro, a writer, a grammar snob, and a rapacious reader. In her own words, she knows “a little about a lot” — i.e., 19th century literature, Karl Lagerfeld’s latest adventures, professional bike racing, and when to use the Oxford comma. She’s a fan of indie film and music — and bullish on local eating and shopping.