luxury
This stunning wearable art is inspired by African royalty
Updated 14th March 2017
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This stunning wearable art is inspired by African royalty
Omenyi Clara Azuka Menkiti spent her life creating jewelry for African royalty, now the spirit of her bold and intricate designs lives on through her granddaughter, designer Anita Quansah.
Born in London, Quansah moved to Nigeria with her parents at the age of three. As her parents worked, Quansah and her two younger siblings grew up with their grandmother, giving her a unique insight into how to make jewelry fit for royalty.
"She's been a great muse, a great inspiration, a great mentor," Quansah told CNN.
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"I remember she had a chest full of embroidered, rich velvet materials, shimmered with so many metallic threads, heavily embroidered with jewels."
"She would dress me and my siblings up and adorn our necks with beautiful coral necklaces and golden heavy pendants. So basically it was like she was saying 'You go out there and shine'".
Years later and after collaboration with Christian Lacroix, Quansah decided to launch her own brand: Anita Quansah London. Quansah designs jewelry in her grandmother's tradition, using textiles and beads sourced from across West Africa.
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Now, instead of royalty, her African inspired creations can be seen on the likes of celebrities including Alicia Keys, Keisha Buchanan and Thandie Newton.
"I make everything myself. The collars with feathers take about three to four weeks, in which I spend 15 hours each day on the piece," Quansah said.
Her philosophy? "Create something that is a piece of wearable art. Something that you can pass down generation to generation."
"I wanted to design jewelry that tells a story of celebration of my culture, craftsmanship, uniqueness, diversity. Of happiness and joy."
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