Located on a well-trodden elephant path in the Zambian bush, local craftswomen of Mulberry Mongoose are making jewellery by hand using natural materials from the South Luangwa valley.
Their most celebrated collection mixes snare wire with semiprecious stones, freshwater pearls and hand carved wooden beads. Snare wire is made from steel and hard to work with – many men can’t do it.
The Snare wire is collected by the brave rangers of Conservation South Luangwa working in partnership with DNPW as they patrol for up to 10 days in the Zambian bush. These rangers risk their lives to prevent poachers harming our iconic wildlife.
Once collected the wire is cut using heavy-duty pliers and hammered flat with a metal hammer and an industrial anvil. Or it is coiled into tight wire beads. Needless to say their courageous ladies’ biceps rival Madonna’s! Then comes the drilling. The ladies get through 5 steel drill bits a week due to the tough nature of the wire. They then grind each piece, taking the edges and top coat off. The wire is then sanded by hand and coated in metal protector.
One snare bead takes over 1 hour to hand make. It’s a labour of love, creating beauty from brutality. It celebrates the story of conservation, female empowerment, craftsmanship and beauty.
Visit www.mulberrymongoose.com for more information. Proceedings from each piece sold supports the local community and conservation work.