Jewellery Blog

African Inspired Jewellery Layering


You know I’m a fan of encouraging you to create your own style, make your own statement and champion your own individuality. By the same reign, I want you to experiment with what works best for you when it comes to jewellery layering, because there is no one size fits all in this department.

What I will do is try to inspire you with a few different styles that I’ve been experimenting with, and successfully showcased at a couple of recent catwalk events. They draw upon the art of body adornment amongst various ethnic and tribal groups in Africa, using beads that I’ve accumulated during my travels. Hopefully you’ll find something that resonates with your personal style.

A phenomenal assemblage comprising of different layers brings this ravishing statement together.

The triple strand necklace features a vibrant combination of monochrome and hand painted Ghanaian glass beads. It’s a wonderful display of the varieties of handmade beads that come from the West African region.

Three complementary dangles are suspended from the Ivory Coast brass pendant, and a longer chain attached on either side wraps around the back and hugs the waist to form a sexy body chain belt.

Stack on some beaded bracelets to complete this catwalk look.

Light layering with statement pieces is at play.

A double strand necklace with an ornate African tiwi nut pendant is the focal piece here, and the amber beads are accented with the complementary coloured choker featuring recycled cow horn discs.

It adds an air of tribal flair, while the elegant beaded belt and chunky bracelets balance the look without competing with each other.

It’s a perfect way to add on layers to transform your day look at the office, to a night out on the town.

Bold confidence is personified by the vivid layers of fiery red.

When you love your bling, this is a look when more is more… no need to stop at three or four.

Keep piling them on because you’re telling the world, I love accessories and I’m going to show them off… watch as jaws drop in envy and awe!

And then there are occasions where less is more.

When you want to draw attention to the details, stick to a couple of pieces.

The more you look at this statement necklace, the more you want to soak up the details of the fossil coral beads and the contrasting tones of brass and aluminium in this handcrafted Sudanese pendant.

The additional strand of smaller fossil corals, which is worn as a body chain, adds a layer of tribal chicness.

If you’re daunted by the prospect of finding different pieces that will sing together or don’t want to wear several individual ones, then a multi-strand necklace is your best bet. It’s an effortless way to portray layers, and if you choose well, the effect can be stunning.

In this instance, you probably don’t want to add anything else around your neck.

However, if you still fancy hiking it a notch, wrap one of your longer necklaces around your waist as a beaded belt.

I’ve taken this look to town and added a multi-strand shoulder piece to add another layer of glamour to this look.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong here – add or remove what feels right for you.

Certainly more minimalist but equally eye catching when you want to draw attention to a certain piece.

Perhaps it’s an artefact you’ve picked up on your travels, like the hand carved snuff holder that has been suspended from a simple chain here – a fascinating find, rich with history. To secure it in place, a handcrafted brass chain wraps round her back and attaches onto the ornament.

This is another instance where you only want one other statement piece – make it something interesting that’s going to engage your audience when they ogle at your globally inspired jewellery.

When you want to effortlessly transform your look from day to night, or modify your look when you’re moving from one party to the next, this is one clever way of doing it.

Add a beaded “scarf” to your staple necklace that can cascade over your shoulders, or wrap one side round your neck for a casual yet stylish look.

Fasten a spare beaded necklace as a belt to accentuate your curves, and you’re done. 

New look for a new party!

One of my faves if I may say so myself! When you want to be the belle of the ball, this is one way to do it.

The structural piece consisting of Kenyan made brass rings and lava beads is suspended from a handmade brass chain – strong but light weight. This can simply be worn on its own for a more casual look.

Attach beaded necklaces that cascade down your waist and wrap round your back for a sexy body chain effect.

The layering at the neck is totally up to you. I added a Moroccan faux amber and recycled horn choker to accentuate the style, and she totally rocked the look on the runway at Africa Fashion Week London – wouldn’t you agree?!

Which is your favourite? Inspired to try any?