Sustainable Jewellery


Value Chains


African Women Jewellery Designers, Artists & Creatives

AWIMA Jewellery Design Competition

The AWIMA Jewellery Project aims to create a transparent, responsibly sourced, profitable, continental jewellery value chain that economically empowers African women in the gemstone and jewellery industry.

In February 2021 Association of Women in Mining Africa  announced the AWIMA Jewellery Design Competition. The competition celebrated the courage and resilience of African women in mining and demonstrably showcase and partner the efforts of women in mining with fellow African women designers and jewellers.

The winning design, Lady Aya was produced using responsibly sourced African gemstones and metals, mined, designed and produced by African women and sold locally and internationally.

Project Partners

AWIMA extends its gratitude to the Jewellery Design Competition partners for their support in empowering African Women Jewellers.


Key Activities

  • Design Innovation
  • Africa
1. Design Competition: AWIMA hosted a jewellery design competition in January 2021, inviting African female creatives to submit brooch designs celebrating African women in mining.
2. Judging and Shortlisting: A panel of three judges reviewed submissions, and ten designs were shortlisted.
3. Winning Design: The winning design, Lady AYA, by Ngone Sagna, was selected for its representation of African women’s strength and resilience.
4. Production: Lady AYA was produced using responsibly sourced African gemstones and gold from female-inclusive cooperatives and manufacturers.
5. Training and Development: The project developed training materials covering all stages of jewellery production.

The Jewellery Design competition was open to all emerging and established  female designers, jewellers, creatives and artists with African nationality. All submitted works were judged by an expert panel, with multiple entries being welcome.


$3500 for the judges’ selection and $500 for the popular vote.

The winner had the opportunity to collaborate with AWIMA to oversee the production of their design, utilising responsibly sourced metals and gems from women-owned mine sites where possible. Each stage of production, from sourcing materials to cutting and mounting, was documented and developed into training materials for wide dissemination.

Design Brief

Applicants were required to submit a brooch design featuring elements that celebrate inspirational women, evoke pride, and symbolize strength and resilience.

  • Theme: a symbol of solidarity to unify and pay tribute to African women in the mining sector
  • Jewellery: brooch convertible into a pendant made only with gold and coloured gemstone(s)
  • Presentation: hand drawing or using software
  • Multi-view projection: front, right, left, top, bottom, and back
  • Technical aspects: colour of the alloy, size and colour of the stone are to be detailed. Each removable piece – if existing – is to be presented in all its variations.

Natacha Metayer


Labi Kapo


Amina Egwuatu


  • To develop capacity building tools and programmes that attract, retain, and promote the advancement of women in the extractive industriesThe competition and subsequent training materials aim to educate and empower women in the jewellery and mining sectors.
  • To identify training and technical needs of women in mining and in collaboration with relevant and interested organisations, conduct training programmes to meet these needs: The project included developing training materials from the production stages
  • To promote responsible mining and eliminate child labour and violence against women: By using responsibly sourced materials from female-inclusive cooperatives, the project promotes ethical practices.
  • To facilitate where possible, the marketing of members’ mining products continentally and internationally: The competition and production of the winning design help market the work of women in the industry.
outcomes & impact

Winning Design, Production, Training & Development

(1) Winning Design: The winning design, Lady AYA, by Ngone Sagna, was selected for its representation of African women’s strength and resilience. (2) Production: Lady AYA was produced using responsibly sourced African gemstones and gold from female-inclusive cooperatives and manufacturers. (3) Training and Development: The project developed training materials covering all stages of jewellery production.

Inspired by Moorish brooches, Lady AYA is a personified representation of the African mining motherland. It is an ode to the ground of the continent, rich in minerals, its turbaned headdress is artfully knotted and set with a yellow sapphire – a luminous front. AYA is the lady and fairy of mines. She never goes without her jewellery. In particular, white gold Adinkra earrings, an ancestral sign of her endurance and resourcefulness. She has all the qualities to succeed in her mission. Armed with courage, the mine fairy contemplates with respect and pride the fruit of community of labour.



  • Abundance and unity: the voluminous headdress full of gold and various gemstones, represents the wealth of African mineral resources.
  • Dignity: Queen of the miners, the feminine character of the brooch carries her pickaxe like an Egyptian sceptre.
  • Resilience: Adinkra symbol AYA “fern” is a symbol of endurance and resourcefulness, the fern is a hardy plant that can grow in difficult places.
  • Courageous and strong: Adinkra symbol of courage set with Tanzanite.
  • As a gem ready for manufacture, the diamond cut on the Lady’s hand is a way to link miners to jewellers.
  • The gemstones are chosen for their symbolism, origin and their diversity. Contrasting with the gold, they also bring harmony and color to the design like African way of life.

Character of the Fairy

  • Aquamarine: Purity, lucky charm
  • Black tourmaline: protection
  • Sapphire: dynamism
  • Cornaline: energy, vitality
  • Ruby: courage and perseverance
  • Malachite: self confidence
  • Tanzanite: creativity, curiosity
  • Tsavorite or Emerald: relational harmony, sense of unity
  • Citrine or Scapolite: self-discipline, independence

Ngone Sagna

Born in Senegal, Ngone is the designer of Lady AYA brooch for AWIMA and owner of NGONE Paris brand.

She grew up in Dakar in a cosmopolitan spirit and was educated in the consciousness of her ancestors’ history and contributions. She has particularly kept from her family heritage the memory of the great priestess Aline Sitoe Diatta. This matriarchal heritage has deeply inspired her design, that she expresses with symbols and values of elegance, courage, goodwill, loyalty and determination, referring to powerful queens and heroines of Africa.

Living and working in Paris for more than 20 years, she has been introduced to jewellery by Parisian craftsmen and graduated from the Nicolas Flamel Jewellery School in Paris. She practices her creativity in different universes: high end fine jewellery and different professional collaborations including Haute Couture and cinema. Through her passion for jewellery, she reveals her vision of African fashion, a story full of emotions and universality.


For high-end manufacturing, Ngone collaborates with craftsmen in Paris and Senegal, combining both French know-how and made in Africa on the basis of ethical collaborations. Ngone has exhibited her collections in Paris, Dakar, London, Dublin. She has also participated in the biennale of contemporary African art DAK’ART in Senegal, the international jewellery fair Bijorhca Paris, fashion shows and various exhibitions in art galleries.


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Natacha Metayer


Natacha established JNCY Jewellers in June of 2019 while working her corporate job. Since that time she has become a full-time jeweller and has pursued her GIA certification. Natacha is currently a certified jewellery professional and is actively pursuing her certification to be a graduate gemmologist. Since beginning her career in 2019, she has been featured in British Luxury magazine Tatler and her local black-owned newspaper Miami New Times. JNCY Jewelers is a luxury jewellery brand, made for modern women, inspired and created by, Natacha Metayer.

Labi Kapo


Labi Kapo is a Master Goldsmith (Diamond Mounter) who learned his craft in London – one of the first Africans to work in the UK jewellery industry. He boasts 44 years’ experience in the jewellery industry at bespoke level of manufacturing and clientele. An Entrepreneur and CEO leading Akapo Jewels (Pty) Ltd in South Africa for 18 years. The company that Labi heads (Akapo Jewels) is an accredited training and services provider for ten years as well as an ISO 9001 certificated company that offers specialised training to the youth of the continent of Africa and internationally. A specialist in Platinum techniques and antique jewellery as well as rare artefacts.

Amina Egwuatu


Amina is a GIA certified Gemmologist and the Creative Director of gemstone and jewellery brand, Mina Stones. She is actively involved in projects that aim to develop the gemstone industry as well as improve the livelihoods of people along the value chain. She is the co-founder of the African Gemstone and Jewelry Exhibition and Seminar (AGJES). Amina has been featured in local and international media including GIA Educational magazine, Guardian, Financial Times and ICA InColor magazine.