When Heidi Liebenberg discovered the creative language of jewellery, she realised her true passion. In 2009, the Capetonian jewellery designer founded NOMAD Jewellery, a uniquely South African brand creating jewellery that aims to bring people together. Africa itself is the key source of inspiration for Heidi, and the pattern, texture and vibrancy of the continent is evident throughout all her collections.
And while design may be where Heidi’s passion truly lies, she ensures all her pieces are crafted responsibly to the highest possible standard using sustainably sourced materials. We chat to Heidi about why she started her brand, the lost art of African wax casting and why she'd rather be in Barcelona right now.
How did NOMAD Jewellery begin?
“NOMAD Jewellery was born out of my desire to create a new African jewellery aesthetic for precious objects that connect people. Taking inspiration from our mixed cultural environment, we want to bring people together by creating jewellery that writes their stories and will pass on their memories.”
How is your jewellery made?
“At NOMAD many of our pieces are hand carved in wax, then produced in precious metal using the ancient African art of wax casting. Medieval Arab map makers described the first place this was seen as Wangara - the land of gold. Today, this place is known as Ghana and Mali.”
"We hugely value lasting craftmanship, responsible manufacturing and the use of sustainable materials.”
What are your core brand values at NOMAD Jewellery?
“We place great value in the part that we play as designers and creators making the beginning of a new story for our clients. In line with this, we also hugely value lasting craftmanship, responsible manufacturing and the use of sustainable materials.”
Can you remember when you first fell in love with jewellery?
“I fell in love with jewellery as a child going through my mum's jewellery box. I saw jewellery as the ultimate way to create connections between people. Her precious, golden pieces were gifts of love, devotion, luck, achievement and joy and they became her personal style - and my inspiration.”
"I saw jewellery as the ultimate way to create connections between people."
How do you want people to feel when they’re wearing your jewellery?
“Our first wish for the woman or man who wears NOMAD jewellery is to feel loved and adored. Our second wish is that the piece beautifully expresses their unique style.”
If you weren’t a jewellery designer, what would you be doing?
“My next career might be organic vegetable gardening and teaching others to be self-sufficient gardeners too.”
If you could travel to one place in the world right now, where would it be?
“Once it’s completed, I'd love visit Barcelona to see Sagrada Família again and walk on the La Rambla boulevard, eating ice cream. Gaudí's building is a huge inspiration for me and you’ve got to love a country that has siesta!”
"I'd love visit Barcelona to see Sagrada Família again and walk on the La Rambla boulevard, eating ice cream."
Are there any designers whose work you particularly admire?
“I adore the work by Hemmerle and fantasise about owning one of their cushion cut diamond and bronze rings.”
What’s your favourite quote?
“Style is a way of saying who you are without having to speak.” - Rachel Zoe, American fashion designer, businesswoman, and writer.