You only have one chance to make a first impression. Anna Rosholt, a contemporary jewellery designer based in Cape Town, chose to make her debut with a collection inspired by the African dung beetle. But don’t go bunching this designer in with some of the more bizarre artist we’ve featured on the blog so far. Her Beetle Range, which was launched at was Design Indaba 2015, is handcrafted luxury. Having graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a BA Fine Arts: Creative Jewellery and Metal Design, as well as, studying Diamond Grading at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), you could say that she knows about attention to detail and quality. Here are the three things that stood out the most for us from this eponymous label:
About that dung beetle
While she does confess to being inspired by her idiosyncratic taste, there are two reasons why she chose this little critter as her premier collection. Anna shares a fascination for beetles with her Grandmother, who collected Scarab jewellery during her travels to Egypt. However, she chose to design her range around the South African Dung Beetle, which is in the same family as the Egyptian Scarabs.
You recognise the second reason once you can look past the fact that this insect spends its life pushing around dung. The prehistoric bug is incredibly tenacious and strong, with the ability to move objects over a thousand times their own weight. Additionally, it has some beauty and wonder to it. As she explains on her website, “The ancient Egyptians were captivated by Scarabs, wearing them as amulets for protection and worshipping a Scarab-headed sun god, Khepri. They believed that at the end of every day the sun would enter the ground and travel from west to east, undergoing a mysterious metamorphosis. The next morning it would rise transformed and rejuvenated. Similarly, the Scarab would enter the earth at nightfall with his dung ball and reappear transformed and rejuvenated the following day.” With all this considered, having elements of strength, beauty, mythology and a personal touch from the designer’s life makes this a winning combination for an opening collection.
The Rhino Range
A quick glance at the designer’s website is enough to know that she’s passionate about African wildlife. While there’s the bugs and the bees represented in her designs, she most recently put out a rhino inspired collection. A cause that she is extremely ardent about, was created to raise awareness about rhino poaching. Additionally, 10% of all the sales made from the range are donated to the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit (APU). Founded in 2013, it was created to protect the Balule Nature Reserve and is made up of mostly women.
The Gent’s Guide
Remember her studies in Diamond Grading at the GIA in London? This is where it comes in handy! In her studio in Woodstock, Cape Town, she also works on custom orders for both men and women such as wedding pieces and engagement rings. While making wedding bands from gold, silver and platinum is nothing new, it’s the way she chose to package it as the ‘Gent’s Guide’ that grabbed our attention. Let’s face it, some men do need a little hand-holding through the process leading to popping the question. Once he’s booked an appointment, the groom to be (fingers crossed) will be guided to make a budget. They also encourage the groom to do a little detective work to help narrow down the specifications of the ring. In addition, they encourage a little espionage to get the finger-size just right. That is, ‘bringing a ring belonging to your loved one, and we will do our best to judge their size from there’.
This, in addition to the specifications given, then helps the brand design and source for materials required. But if you’re planning to have a Vegas-like wedding they aren’t the jeweller for you. Since each commission is entirely unique, and they want the client to be as relaxed as possible, they take approximately four weeks to make the piece after all the above steps are completed. Finally, they walk him through the care instructions to keep the jewellery in mint condition.
Anna has found a way to bring together her design training with her appreciation for bold, quirky elements to stay true to who she is as a designer. Not to mention, her innovative design not only shows her appreciation for the environment around her, but plays a part in conserving it. We look forward to seeing what curious collections she’ll put forth in the new year.