The inspiration for Chelsy Davy’s entrance into the jewellery industry with her brand AYA comes squarely from the stunning wildlife that inhabits her Zimbabwean homeland and it’s taken her hardly any time at all to bring a touch of the African continent to the UK market place.
London’s Plukka and Baar and Bass are among the early stockists that have been impressed by what the brand has to offer as Chelsy has set about laying down the foundations for UK growth. She admits it’s been an exciting – and fulfilling – journey so far. “I have learnt a lot in the past year – not just about gemstones and the jewellery industry but also about business in general,” she says. “I have no doubt that the knowledge and experience I have gained will play a fundamental part in facilitating my long-term vision for AYA.”
Her debut collection, Zambezi, features pendants, bangles, bracelets, earrings and rings crafted in 18ct yellow gold and adorned with vibrant gemstones, each shaped by one of Africa’s most magnificent creatures, the elephant. “I designed most of the Zambezi collection while at our River House on the Zambezi – which is constantly surrounded by elephants, so this probably explains why the tusk features quite so much in the designs,” explains Chelsy.
Manufactured in Cape Town, the jewels incorporate a selection of top quality African gemstones, such as Zambian emeralds and Mozambican rubies ethically mined by Gemfields. “My vision for AYA was always to create a beautiful and unique, socially responsible African luxury brand that captures the charm and essence of Africa through its beautiful craftsmanship and magnificent gemstones,” she says.
There is also a more poignant side to AYA’s success: the company is dedicated to financing the upliftment of schools in the areas surrounding the gemstones mines through new classrooms, desks, books and learning equipment. One of the biggest highlights so far has been the construction of the AYA classroom block at the Kapila Community School in Zambia.
IMAGE: Alisa Connan/Camera Press