Afra Amba Jewelry, Where Simplicity is Strength
Afra Ambra is a handmade jewelry line based in Amsterdam. What initially caught my eye about the creations is the tribal influence and how minimal yet powerful the pieces come across. I reached out to Afra to hear more about the line and what it represents to her.
Tell me about the initial inspiration for Afra Amba and how it came to be.
African culture is a huge source of inspiration for me. The tribes that live there have such a powerful appearance and I think that’s what real beauty is about. They dress very extravagantly and they wear beautiful jewelry. I grew up with African culture and this is partly where my fascination with this culture comes from.
What inspires the different collections?
The collections I make represent the phase of life I am in at that moment. The Modern Love collection, for example, is inspired by Berlin. At the time I made these pieces I was discovering freedom in Berlin. This is where the concept of the body chains emerged. I would love to inspire the wearers of my jewelry to dare a little more and to feel like themselves.
Does being in Amsterdam influence the design?
Amsterdam is not necessarily a place where I get my inspiration.
The pieces all have a strength to them even when they're minimal. Is that intentional? How is that accomplished?
That’s not intentional actually, I make jewelry based on a feeling. I would love the wearer of my creations to feel strong when wearing the pieces. Besides that, I think that simplicity is powerful. Partly because of this I find bald women very inspiring. The simplicity of it makes them look very strong.
How do you choose which materials to work with?
Very simple, I only work with noble metals: sterling silver and 14-carat gold. Jewelry made of these materials feel like they’re part of nature. Nature is a big source of inspiration for my jewelry.
Do you ever have a hard time parting with items that you've made?
Sometimes I make a piece that I like so much that I want it for myself as well. But the thing I look forward to most is to make someone happy with the piece I’m so fond of too. It’s like giving a present where you have put a lot of effort in to create.
Do you have any staples you always wear?
No not really, I switch all the time because I keep getting ideas for new designs. When I make a new piece I first start to wear it myself to find out what people think and to find out how it feels to wear it.
Any interesting stories about making custom jewelry?
I often create custom made jewelry for people. This is what I love most. One time a customer requested me to make a ring with a tooth of a passed loved one, very special. It’s so special to make someone a unique piece of jewelry that has such an emotional story. That’s one of the reasons I love my job.
There are some really amazing collaborations coming up. For example, there is this project in Africa that we’re working on right now. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you more about that just yet. ;)