11 December 2013 by Denise Slabbert

Silver Fig: Jewellery inspired by nature

Silver Fig’s jewellery items are understated and beautiful – why not give the Big Five as the perfect gift this Christmas?

Elephant pendant necklace from Silver Fig

Now you really can take the Big Five home with you ...

Heather and Neil Miller – who created Silver Fig – believe in telling an African story through their delicate pieces of sterling silver jewellery. Their designs, which epitomise the adage that 'less is more', are being snapped up all the way from the Kalahari to the Kruger (and beyond).

They take their inspiration from nature, and their collection includes rhino, impala, hummingbird, wild dog, giraffe, dragonfly and sunbird pendants to be worn on a silver chain. There are also beautiful gemstone rings, earrings and bracelets, all crafted in sterling silver. They also recently introduced Big Five charm bracelets to their range, and according to Heather, 'these are selling up a proverbial storm'.

Take the Big Five home with you. Bracelet by Silver Fig

Both Neil and Heather have worked in luxury brands – names like De Beers, Asprey, Bulgari and Tiffany & Co roll easily off their tongues. They met while both living in London (their home for a number of years), but Neil had a firm desire to return home to South Africa and start his own business.

His family lives in Hoedspruit near the Kruger National Park and he has always had a love of nature and the great outdoors. He now works from his home studio in Johannesburg (which has a fig tree about a metre from the front door), and the couple regularly visits the bush for inspiration. A jewellery designer by trade, he says the Silver Fig designs are inspired by the natural world: 'We just wanted the pieces to be feminine and delicate – and to reflect Africa, nature and wildlife.'

We just wanted the pieces to be feminine and delicate – and to reflect Africa, nature and wildlife.

Each piece is delicately crafted, and the couple is continually extending its range. Neil and Heather smile at the touristy and sometimes garish 'Big Five' jewellery often found in airport shops and the like, saying that the language they speak is one that is simple yet sophisticated.

'The bestsellers have been giraffe, zebra and wild dog. The Big Five charm bracelet is fast becoming another bestseller,' says Heather.

They both believe that affordability is key in terms of their business model – 'quality at affordable prices' underlines their work ethic. They sell their items online, but a number of local game lodges have also come on board, including places like Lion Sands and Madikwe River Lodge, both of which now have Silver Fig items in their gift shops.

Heather, who handles marketing, merchandising and the business side of things, has lived in a number of cities around the world and says that the international market is wide open for the kind of jewellery created by Silver Fig. While Africa is a core market, they are also setting their sights on Europe and Asia.

Neil and Heather also believe that ‘putting it out there’ is part of the deal, and sent Kate Moss an impala pendant few months back and are hoping that the supermodel might just fancy wearing it out on the town.

'Who knows, Kate Moss may be seen wearing our impala – and then we'd really be out there in the mainstream,' says Heather.

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Heather and Neil Miller. Image by Darling Lama Productions. All jewellery images by Silver Fig

Category: Arts & Entertainment

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