Imagine putting on your heaviest earrings, four necklaces, a nose ring or two, an embellished headscarf and looping an assortment of silver bracelets, bone bangles and pieces of string all the way up your arms to your elbow. This is how the Banjara tribe dress everyday.
It’s easy to see why Danielle Hill and Elise Shabat were so inspired by these gypsies of India, dripping in silver. The girls encountered the tribe during their travels abroad and fell in love with their culture and way of life; and, most importantly, their jewellery.
The Banjara make use of all the materials they can find – new and old, found and collected. These include shells, beads, thread and old coins.
“We love the idea of making a non-precious material precious,” says Elise. “Banjara has a modern take on this idea by incorporating raw materials with sterling silver.”
The Tribal Collection sees sterling silver combined with nylon thread to create intricate tribal patterns. Each piece is painstakingly hand stitched in their studio in Melbourne. The results are raw tribal designs with an elegant finish. The roughness of the thread contrasts with the smooth silver, making the pieces intriguing as well as beautiful.
The second collection, Wildflower, takes a more feminine approach, drawing influences from a range of flora. The Banjara essence remains present with tribal patterns and slight imperfections giving each piece unique charm.