This fall, the UK-based colored gemstones miner Gemfields announced a collaboration with Space for Giants, a nonprofit organization that fundraises for wildlife conservation projects across the African continent.
As part of the ongoing initiative, entitled “Walk For Giants,” Gemfields has created two capsule collections: a 44-piece jewelry line crafted in coordination with 12 international luxury jewelers; and a set of 15 sustainable, safari-inspired fashion and accessories collections from Net-a-Porter.
Proceeds from all sales will be donated to Space for Giants’ efforts to protect Africa’s endangered elephants and their surrounding environment.
Participants in the project include 3.1 Phillip Lim, Bassike, and Gigi Burris, as well as jewelry houses such as Backes & Strauss, V.A.K Fine Jewels, and Fabergé (which Gemfields famously acquired in 2013).
The jewelry designers in particular were challenged to incorporate Gemfields’s specialty Zambian emeralds and Mozambican rubies, which are featured perhaps most artfully in the work of Mumbai-based designer Bina Goenka, a former lawyer whose work has long been popular in India.
In the past few years, Goenka’s artful designs, distinguished and inventive color combinations, and frequent use of raw gold have quickly begun garnering international attention.
For her Gemstones pieces, she conceived two pairs of earrings: the Elephant Earrings and Palm Earrings. “Gemfields approached me to create jewelry inspired by African flora and fauna,” she told Artnet News. “Given this opportunity to raise awareness towards conservation and putting an end to poaching, I was keen to do something special that resonates with the cause.”
The Elephant Earrings were crafted to “speak for the gentle giants that are affected by poaching,” Goenka says, while the Palm Earrings signify the habitats in which they dwell. The pieces were crafted carefully by hand, using individually sourced stones: the Elephant Earrings feature crescent-shaped Mozambican rubies, which were cut to embellish the rough contours of an elephant’s head and elongated trunk; at the same time, the pieces also cleverly double as flowers with trailing stems. Each pair comprises mismatched pear-shaped Zambian emeralds and Tanzanite, forged to pave-set ruby tusks with dazzling D-shaped diamonds.
The Palm Earrings, meanwhile, feature white diamond leaves and branches which, in Goenka’s words, “open widely to the sky.” Below, briolettes of Zambian emeralds symbolize once-abundant canopies of trees, grasses, and flora, over which these imagined palms towered long ago.
“The once luscious green and endless forests that the elephants inhabited is being encroached at a swift rate to accommodate the needs of our growing population, be it for accommodation or industrialization, taking away vast expanses of space that were home to these animals,” Goenka says.
“The importance of seeing these two pairs of earrings together is to be reminded that conservation requires a holistic approach by which the animals are protected within the lands that they occupy. We must protect both.”
Goenka found working on the collection an inspiring and rewarding experience after a particularly unpredictable year when questions about the future have loomed larger than ever before.
“I’m inspired by everything around me: art, architecture, and geometry, but mostly I’m inspired by nature,” she says. “I love looking at things in the natural world and replicating them in jewelry. I often take long walks in the parks when I’m in London, collecting and studying various forms of leaves and flowers, which I then attempt to recreate as finely and accurately as possible using gemstones and intricate craftsmanship. To be able to do that for Walk for Giants was an step towards bringing the right attention to conserving these precious lands and their inhabitants.”