Jewellery design in South Africa is a sophisticated art. It reflects aesthetic trends and celebrates the country’s cultural and mineral riches. South African jewellery ranges from simple gold rings and leather bangles to elaborate diamond earrings. Designs are inspired by western as well as indigenous South African jewellery-making techniques and traditions.

Did you know?

South Africa is the world's largest producer of platinum and one of the leading producers of gold and diamonds.

While the country is recognised as a significant supplier of diamonds, gold, silver and precious stones, South Africa is also home to some exceptionally skilled jewellery designers, goldsmiths and silversmiths.

Contemporary South African jewellery showcases a diversity of designs, manufacturing techniques and broader aesthetic trends. Some South African jewellery design is inspired by ancient traditions, reinterpreted in a contemporary context, while other designers work with international influences.

Whatever their inspiration, a growing number of South African jewellery designers bring ingenious ideas to life with their skill and creativity. Their work can range from elegantly simple pieces of jewellery that display clean lines, to bold and striking pieces created using adventurous abstract shapes.

Some designs are richly symbolic, exploring themes of fragility, passion and desire. Other designs are a simple celebration of beauty embodied in the form of earrings, bracelets and pendants.

You can buy high quality machine-made jewellery, as well as hand-made pieces in gold, platinum and silver. There are jewellers who specialise in pieces that incorporate precious stones. Others work with gems that are created from more experimental, unconventional materials such as car reflectors, old coins, plastic, enamel and perspex. You will also find beaders who create their own beads and jewellery made from ostrich eggshells, leather and wood.

Whether they are meant to be tokens of love, signs of endearment or a good investment, these jewellery designs are in demand around the world. As well as supplying jewellery outlets with precious wares, South African jewellery design studios exhibit at shows, such as the Design Indaba, which takes place in Cape Town each year. There are also a number of exciting national jewellery design competitions that provide a platform for the country's jewellery designers.

Travel tips & Planning info

How to get here

There are dozens of contemporary jewellery design studios located around the country. The Jewellery Council of South Africa lists a number of them on their website.

What's happening

There are a number of annual jewellery design competitions, including the Pravda Vodka Royal Collection, Wax to the Max, auDITIONS Gold Couture and the Southern Africa Shining Light Awards. These competitions showcase the best in contemporary jewellery design.

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