Monday, November 22, 2010

Kelly Landrey sets my heart a-flutter...

... with her beautiful feathered creations! If you've followed our blog, you would remember that Gail sent Kelly some new feathers to work with and has she ever.

Kelly painstakingly layers all of these feathers and then hand binds them together with delicately facetted glass, mother of pearl pieces and of course, sterling silver. Mini works of art!

And following up on another older blog, remember those new copper pieces that Alex was polishing? Well here is the beautiful necklace they became.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Watching Stone Cutters in Antsirabe

Madagascar is an amazing place with amazing people and I can really recommend that people travel there. A few days were spent in Antananarivo looking up basket places, jewelry manufacturers and leather manufacturers. Then off to Antsirabe - a town that in it's hey day (around 1940's) was a fashionable spa town due to the natural hot springs. Now it is pretty shabby, but with the finding of minerals and mining, it is still a humming place and totally charming.

The road from Tana to Antsirabe was horrendous - 4 nasty accidents along the way and lots of sweating from me in the back seat. It took us 4 hours to travel 180km and our lovely driver and guide, Rudi, got us there safely! In Antsirabe, we were met by our gemologist guide - Lever. Kev could not wait to go and set off immediately for the closest mining town. He thought he had hit the mother lode when he saw a big rose quartz (see picture) in the road. Little did we realise there were tons and tons around the corner! Kev soon got bored of looking at the mines, wandering around the mountain top market and demanded to go to the stone market to haggle for stones. That is where he found his element and we could have left him there for a week! He loved the shiny blue stones and I spent my time digging around for anything unusual in the quartz stones. I was fascinated with the rutile quartz and any quartz with fancy inclusions. At the end of our trip, Kev swopped my gem books and scale for a packet of garnets!!

Anyway, we loved every minute of travelling through Madagascar and will definitely go back and venture further in next time. I can't wait to show the Ndau design team the unusal stones we bought them and really look forward to seeing what amazing pieces they produce from them!

Monday, October 25, 2010


Just a few more pics of some samples and my wonderful in-house model!

Busy Weekend

Due to it being a really cold and wet weekend, I decided to stay in and make up some stock (as well as look after sick bay patient - Nic, who is down with a dose of 'flu.) I started with a plan/program and diverted myself as is usual, and did nothing on the program - I made up more samples and slept about 5 hours in total over the weekend after getting really carried away! I convinced Nic to leave his bed last night to be my hand/arm model to get some photos on the internet (cost me R100 too!) Luckily Nic's leg not needed for photos, as on one of his few ventures out of bed in the last few days, he managed to stab himself good and proper in the leg with his throwing knife??! Casualty, stitches and injections followed! Gives new meaning to the phrase "throwing yourself on your sword!

Anyway, I will attach some photos to show this weekend's offerings. I just wish I had the studio and factory guys to help out as I seem to have a lot more ideas than skills!!

The really good news is that Devon Stewart will be joining us in Victoria Falls as of the end of this year. And to top that, his girlfriend, Tato, who is also a qualified jeweller and gemologist, is coming as well - sooo.. we shall soon have a real dearth of creative minds and fresh blood in the Ndau team. Great to see young talent coming back to Zim!

Will sign off now and hope to hear from the Vic Falls crew (and photos too!) soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Meet the Designers - Devon Stewart

(Please note that Devon is no longer a designer with The Ndau Collection but has left to start his own business!)

Recently, top young jewellery designer Devon Stewart has been up from South Africa checking out the Ndau factory and we're all hoping he'll be back to take up a designer post. There is already some of his amazing work instore, so without further words, here's some pictures of this very talented Zimbabwean designer's work...

Devon Stewart works with platinum, 22k, 18k, 14k, and 9k both yellow and white gold, silver and copper as well as contemporary materials such as resin, wood, horn and shell to put together these intricate pieces. Currently, he is completing a jewellery apprenticeship and exhibiting his jewellery at the 2010 Cape Town Fashion Week. He also recently exhibited at the 2010 Design Indaba, where his work was overwhelmingly well received and has shown at a number of South African art galleries. He describes himself as a perfectionist, a highly motivated and ambitious worker, with strong emphasis on technique and skill. What I can add is that I long to own these peacock feather earrings..
Adding this incredible talent into the already fantastic mix at Ndau can only lead to amazing things – here’s watching this space!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Meet the Designers - Christie Halsted of Ndau Jewellery & Leatherware Part 4

The final member of the design trio at Ndau is maverick young designer Christie Halsted. Christie is Gail's eldest daughter and co-owns the company with her. Christie's own website describes her as follows

"Christie’s passion for design and obsession with perfection has led to her excelling in every career move she’s made.  Starting out learning pottery from her aunt Fee Halsted (Ardmore pottery) she then did a brief stint at Ruth Prowse Art College in Cape Town, where she quickly realised formal art education wasn’t really her thing.  Her next bold move was into the world of eventing, where she worked with a large variety of international corporate groups.  She now finds herself immersed in the world of interior design, where she has brought her natural flair for design and her love of the environment together to create eco-cool, original and ultimately pleasing to the eye spaces…."

Aside from her interior design work, Christie has emerged as a talented jewellery designer who pushes the limits of design and constantly moves Ndau into new fields - she was the one who introduced the combination of croc skin with sterling silver that has become so synonymous with Ndau's current look. Her edgy vision drives the brand to excel and to develop new techniques and finishes. Christie's pieces are show stoppers - take a look at her website to see some of the items she's made up in the past as well has her incredible interior design installations. This fresh young blood ensures a long future for the brand and a constantly evolving product that all their clients look forward to seeing!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Ammonite Gallery

I've realised that I've been posting lots of stuff about the product in store, but haven't shown the gallery! Here's how the shop looks at the moment...

One of my favourite products instore at the moment are these exquisite handpainted angels from Crystal Passion - hope my guardian angel is this hip!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ndau - Cape Town

Gosh - I am very jealous with all the activity and wish I could be there too..... Thanks Christie for putting this all online and showing off the skills of the "Team"! It kind of makes up for not being able to participate directly! It is cold and raining here in Cape Town - have the heater on and a good day to hunker in and do some work! Enjoy your sunny temps in the Falls.. Cheers for now. Gail

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Meet the Designers - Kelly Landrey of Ndau Jewellery & Leatherware Part 3

(Please note that Kelly Landrey is no longer a designer for The Ndau Collection but has gone to travel Africa and the world!)

I've just come back from the factory and have some great sneak peeks of new product and Kelly at work. Hot off the polishing wheel is this incredible citrine and ndoro piece - covet, covet...

Kelly Landrey is the Ndau in house designer. Now based in Victoria Falls, she has lived and travelled all over Africa and the rest of the world. This cosmopolitan designer brings a dash of European style to all of her African pieces that makes them wearable even in New York and she is fast developing a cult following of clients who email from all corners of the world to see what she is up to next. Whilst never formally trained as a jeweller, Kelly is a natural. She finds inspiration in everything around her - be it a piece of driftwood or a crafter's work - and her fount of new ideas never seems to dry up. She constantly references antique African jewellery in her work, inspired by the traditional castings and fine beads used in old jewellery. Her passion for Trade Beads is shown clearly in the beautiful combinations she uses in conjunction with the sterling silver. One of my favourite things to do every day is go down to the studio to see what she's working on next, so here's some images of her workbench, design boards and work in progress by the other silversmiths.

Kelly hard at work

Kelly's design board

Ndau's treasure trove of antique trade beads, bone beads, stone beads, glass beads, wooden beads...

Gail recently saw this fantastical wire baobab by local crafter Taurai and was inspired to give him some sterling silver wire and agate and bone pieces to work with and here's the results as Kelly knots and finishes each.

The silversmiths were all really busy too, with Ngoni and Alex preparing for a new silver casting, Toby polishing up the last cast and Joe finishing several new pieces.

Wax models ready to join into trees for setting in investment

Ngoni working on wax models

Alex polishing new copper castings
New design organic shape copper pieces
Joe delicately filing a pendant

Joe's work bench
Newly made beads being polished and filed
Toby at his work station working on these beads
Here's a look at what's on the table ready to go out to the Ammonite shop today.

The leather factory was awash with colour today as new croc skin bags came into being.

I hope you found this virtual visit as inspirational as I did the real one today!