Tanzania-based jewelry company Rosenkrantz Africa caused a stir in 2019 when it made the largest tanzanite and diamond necklace in the world. The woman who designed this magnificent piece with over 700 carats of jewelery is Jhaleh Aziz Rosenkrantz, co-owner and creative director at Rosenkrantz Africa.
A fourth generation Tanzanian, born in Tabora and raised in Dar es Salaam, Jhaleh’s family is originally from Iran. She became interested in art at an early age and studied photography and oil painting in South Africa.
Jhaleh and her Danish husband Iver Rosenkrantz founded the jewelry company in 2016.
Her jewelry design skills are self-taught, Born out of her passion for the fine arts, and her contemporary designs of clean lines and African gemstones are bought by customers all over the world.
In an effort to support undervalued mining communities, Jhaleh’s company only works with small and medium-sized communities artisanal miners together. Rosenkrantz Africa also runs the only women-run gem mine in Zimbabwe, an initiative to empower local women “because we believe change and inclusivity are necessary,” said Jhaleh.
How did you get into the precious jewelery business?
My family has always been in the mining industry, so I was exposed to the industry from a young age. When Iver and I founded Rosenkrantz Africa, he was mining rubies in Tanzania. We created our brand with a shared love for Africa and precious stones. I’ve always been passionate about art and nature, and it’s hard not to be constantly inspired by the beautiful continent we live on.
< strong> Where do you get ideas and inspiration for your designs?
Our designs are inspired by our diverse cultural backgrounds and environments. I come from two very different, but lively, colorful and warm backgrounds. The vibrancy and rawness of our pieces are inspired by Tanzania, while my Iranian heritage inspires the intricacies of our work. Iver is Danish and we both love the minimalism of Scandinavian design. That’s why we’ve incorporated this into many of our pieces to ensure that the finished product has clean lines.
What philosophy guides your work as a designer and Business owner?
My philosophy is to produce responsible African luxury. We strive to always do the right thing for the people we work with and our customers. Not only are we inspired by the continent, but we are also committed to empowering its people. Our partnership with artisanal miners is designed to help them get the global recognition and pay they deserve for what they produce. We hope to move this forward.
Tell us the story behind the largest tanzanite necklace?
Tanzanites are gemstones that only exist in Tanzania and are therefore close to my heart. We had the opportunity to create the largest tanzanite and diamond necklace in history. It was a fascinating project, but it was a lot of hard work. We spent a month looking for suitable stones, going into the mines, cutting and polishing until we reached the level of perfection we were looking for. The piece has more than 600 carats of tanzanite and 100 carats of diamonds, which were carefully selected and had to match the correct color, size and shape.
Are there many women designers of fine jewelry?
It may seem surprising to some, but this industry is predominantly male-dominated. Men typically work primarily in the primary and secondary sectors of the industry, such as mining, trading, and manufacturing products that use precious metals and stones. Jewelry design seems to have more women, but even then, some of the most famous jewelers in the world are men.
How do you market and sell? Your jewelry?
We take care of our customers privately and use our online presence, website and Instagram to sell products to customers all over the world.
Much of our work It are custom-made products for private customers, and that was our focus on serving our customers individually so that they get a more personal experience.
Our most popular pieces are the signature Karura collection of semi-polished gemstones such as tourmaline and ruby wrapped in 18k gold.
< p> Which gemstones do you get from Kenya and Tanzania?
We are currently working with tsavorite and tourmaline mines here in Kenya. We also source Tanzanites and spinels from Tanzania.
Why did you decide to build an all-women mine in Zimbabwe?
Unemployment in rural Zimbabwe is a major challenge, there are very few opportunities for women.
However, what we were told when we came up with our idea of a Founding pure women mine is: “Women could make this job impossible! “Today Zimbaqua is the largest aquamarine mine in Zimbabwe with a team of 30 women who shamed this statement.
Many of our employees are single mothers who have had difficulty feeding their children and providing them with basic needs. Every Zimbaqua woman is now the breadwinner of her family, proving every day that mining can be fun and life changing.
We are setting a new standard for mining and ultimately creating opportunities for women to raise and improve their standard of living .
How has Covid-19 affected your jewelry business and mining operations?
The pandemic has Definitely influenced the way we work. Travel restrictions have slowed production, but also gave us time to focus on, regroup, and catch up on planned but over-busy activities.
We had to be careful when our customersTrying to do this all the time Take care of their health and safety as well as our own. On the other hand, I had time to carefully design new pieces.
How do you spend your free time?
I like wildlife photography, but it’s unpublished because I’d like to keep it to myself, at least for now. I enjoy food, whether I eat it or cook it. It’s a great way to bring people together, and being social is a big part of my personality.
What are some of your favorite places that you visit should? in Africa?
I love Africa. It’s so different and diverse and we are privileged to have some of the most beautiful scenery and pristine beaches in the world. My favorites are the raw, red areas of Samburu, the clear beaches and clear blue waters of Zanzibar and Tsavo, where we look for stones.