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By Diane Small
Here’s a little language lesson for you: the term ‘hisia’ means ’emotion, feeling and passion’ in Swahili. It’s a great word to know – it embodies so much – and it is exactly these qualities that Hissia Jewellery’s founder, Beatriz Vergara, hopes to inspire through her ethical jewellery line.
Produced in exotic locales including Western Africa, India and Spain, the jewellery reflects a refined European aesthetic, a functional American sensibility and an African flair. Vergara says she takes her inspiration from ‘nature, art and different cultures’–and she aims to preserve all three through the production of her jewellery.
For example, Hissia is based on an ethical and sustainable business model, supporting craftsmen from different places in the world, using outstanding raw material from sustainable resources and implementing initiatives with a social impact. In Africa, the brand works with artisans that master the hand carving of natural materials such as wood, horn and bone; in India, they work with experts in the carving of semi-precious stones. All silver pieces are made in Spain, where a long tradition of artisanal jewellery with this precious metal still exists.
Spanish born Vergara never thought she would end up producing a sustainable jewellery brand. She had lived in Germany, Austria, Britain and America, working in international trade and economic development. But after a trip to Africa opened her eyes to the artisanal beauty of accessories in the area, she decided to combine her love for fashion with her job in economic development and redirected her focus onto sustainable jewellery.
It’s a job she loves, because she still gets to explore the world: “In Africa we work with artisans that master the hand carving of natural materials such as wood, horn and bone. In India, we work with experts in the carving of semi-precious stones. Sterling silver and brass pieces are elaborated in Spain, where a long tradition of artisanal jewellery with precious metals exists,” she states.
Today, Vergara combines a passion for art and modern design, a hand for luxury craft and a desire to create unique yet wearable jewellery for women of all ages. By changing the direction of her life–and the direction of many others’ lives in the process–she’s obviously followed her own ‘hisia’!
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