Making Jewellery for Super-Rich

Satta Matturi’s jewellery. PHOTO | COURTESY

Few African jewellers make it big in the luxury market. The luxury universe is home to various fine jewellery maisons (French term for houses) that create pieces such as Choprd, Piaget, Bvlgari, Harry Winston, de Grisogono, Giampiero Bodino among others.

But Sierra Leone-born Satta Matturi has made a name for herself in designing exclusive collections. Her jewellery ranges from Sh250,000 to Sh1.76 million.

How does she create fine jewellery? In one of my travels, I met Satta. Her story is embellished in rubies, seawater pearls, emeralds, diamonds and all nice stones.

After spending most of her working life at De Beers, a diamonds industry leader, Satta created her brand in 2015. Her African-themed jewellery caters to the Ultra High Net-worth Individuals (UHNWI) and High Networth Individuals (HNWI), globally. She plans to do a private showcasing for Kenyan women.

What kind of jewellery do you create? We make products using responsibly-sourced diamonds and other precious stones. I have earrings, cocktail rings, pendants and bangles with the designs moving away from the traditional classics to more volume and impact; not so much statement jewellery but jewellery that makes a statement.

All pieces have an intense diamond focus with only VS quality stones used. They are further brought to life using other precious stones such as emeralds, rubies, quartz, peridot, citrine, aquamarine, kunzite, mother of pearl, rubellite and the like. All pieces are made using 18ct gold with most being handcrafted by master artisans.

Our designs are understated but dramatic. They have interesting geometric shapes and sunset hues.

Do you see customers by appointment only and where are you based?

At the moment, yes. I like to have a personal moment with my clients. I spend most of my time in Botswana and Southern Africa but also have a base in the UK as well.

What inspires your creations and the names you use for the jewellery pieces?

The inspiration from my first collection was mainly from West Africa where there are a lot of cultural symbolism and traditions. I love the fact that so much culture has been handed down from generation to generation and that women play an important part in society. The collection celebrates all women (irrespective of where they are from) and allows them to identify with the product and the story behind it.

How many collections have you created?

I created my first collection known as the Debut Collection and its follow-up, Artful Indulgence, a line dedicated solely to statement earrings. The colour palette for the latter is warm, the gemstones bright, mixing rubellites with bright flashes of diamond. Motifs such as shields and totem masks are subtly woven into red-carpet-ready jewels.

Who is the Satta Matturi woman?

The woman that wears Satta Matturi is strong, independent, chic and refined. She loves to throw herself into the big world and roll around in it, until she is utterly saturated with beauty, colour, magic, language, fine cuisine, and pretty frocks and shoes.

How did your experience at De Beers contribute to you starting your business as a gemologist and jewellery?

I learnt as much as there is to know about rough and polished diamonds and travelled to cutting centres and consumer markets meeting manufacturers and jewellery designers while working at De Beers for 16 years. I spend part of my time now as a rough diamond evaluator and still have a love for rough diamonds.

Why did you decide to go into the fine jewellery business?

I’m naturally creative and have an innate passion for diamonds and the art of jewellery. I struggled to find pieces that appealed to me and felt that there was a gap in the market in catering to the super rich in Africa. I realised that I could design my own jewellery and offer a differentiated product that resonates across age groups.

and cultures.

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