Reinventing jewelry in Kenya with unlikely materials

Ami Doshi Shah, an award-winning designer from Kenya, has been making headlines in the jewelry industry with her approach to crafting pieces using some unexpected materials. From sisal ropes to salt crystals, volcanic rocks, and aged brass, Shah’s array of collections truly shows her unique vision which challenges what are considered the conventional notions of value and beauty.

Shah’s creative journey began with her interest in the extraordinary, finding beauty in the most unconventional of places such as stones and fossils.

Despite her academic achievements, such as having a degree in jewelry and silversmithing from the British city of Birmingham and prestigious awards like the Goldsmiths award for best apprentice designer, Shah still hesitated to embrace jewelry-making fully.


It took an artist residency at the non-profit Kuona Trust in Nairobi for Shah to gain the courage to establish her brand back in 2015.

Her collections, deeply connected with her personal experiences, try to serve as a medium to narrate stories of grief, strength, and political activism. Shah’s jewelry, ranging from bold neckpieces made from sisal to cuffs adorned with stones and brass earrings that flutter with every movement, aims to be a bridge between tradition and modernity. Each piece is crafted with materials either collected or made locally in Kenya.


Despite gaining international recognition and being celebrated in the Western market, Shah remains committed to her African roots, with a focus on empowering local designers and authentic narratives through her creations. Her vision extends beyond jewelry-making, with recent explorations into furniture design and a dream of making a multi-disciplinary studio to show Kenyan talent.

Shah talks about the importance of reclaiming narratives and celebrating cultural heritage in a world shaped by Western influences. She hopes to paint a vibrant canvas that captures the essence of Kenya while also advocating for unity and inclusion.

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