Meet the London-based jewellery designer, Aisha Asamany, creator of the bespoke, Adinkra bracelet for Divine's Fairtrade Fortnight competition
To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, Ghana Independence Day and International Womens Day in 2018, Lonam partnered with Divine Chocolate to bring you a one-off bespoke bracelet.
How to win this amazingly exclusive jewellery? Read to the end, there's a chocolate hamper up for grabs too!
Conversations about jewellery, adinkra symbols and empowerment with Aisha Asamany, owner of Lonam jewellery. Lonam means 'Love Me' in the Ghanaian language of Ewe, and the brand exemplifies 'Modern jewellery with meaning". Continue reading below.
…on Fanning out over Divine
I’m so honoured to be supporting the Divine Chocolate Empowering Women campaign by designing an exclusive bespoke gold piece for my favourite chocolate company. I’m a long-time fan of Divine’s rich, smooth, flavours and the company values around quality, fair trade and education are an inspiration. The official Divine Empowering Women bar uses the smoothest dark chocolate with hazelnut and is my new obsession. I’m a huge dark chocolate fan (the more cocoa the better in my opinion), but this flavour is perfectly sweet so I’m pretty confident it will impress milk and dark chocolate lovers alike.
I generally eat it on its own but it’s fantastic in brownies or dessert dim sum and if you’re avoiding dairy or following a vegan /plant-based lifestyle, this will change your life. You’ll know you’ve got the new Empowering Women bar when you see the luxe shiny gold details on the wrapper along with the beautiful iconic woman in a headwrap and statement earrings. Can I get a yaaaas darling?! I definitely had a lot of elements to draw inspiration from on the packaging - from the gold detailing which naturally translated to the choice of metal, to the Adinkra symbols and the overall significance of the bar. I knew the piece I designed had to be feminine but bold rather than delicate and dainty.
…on Personal heritage
My name is Aisha Asamany and I own Lonam (www.lonam.co.uk) making jewellery using traditional Ghanaian adinkra symbols. I’m a Londoner through-and-through and my heritage is Ghanaian, St Lucian and Bajan (coincidentally all great places to grow cocoa beans).
…on the Lonam aesthetic
When I design, the aim is always to create pieces that have personal meaning for the wearer and help to project some aspect of their beliefs, desires or aspirations. You don’t have to be Ghanaian to wear the symbols, as long as you understand the underlying meaning and it connects with you, that’s all that matters. Each symbol has a unique meaning and are used widely in Ghana to serve as decoration, but also represent; thought-provoking messages, aspects of day-to-day life, simple truths and traditional wisdom.
The Lonam style is clean and modern sometimes using just one Adinkra symbol to communicate a clear message from the wearer to the observer. I love to wear my “Hero” earrings to tell the world “I am STRONG”, or to remind myself that “Today I need to be COURAGEOUS”.
…on Fave Pieces
I love all of the Lonam pieces (and I accept that’s a biased view) but the Lonam Signature ring will always have a special place in my heart because it’s the first piece I designed. It uses the Akoma Ntoso (linked hearts) and the Nsaa (a special woven cloth) symbols. The ring represents excellence, genuineness, understanding and love. It’s the piece that best represents all I stand for and the principles of the Lonam brand.
…on The Divine x Lonam EW Bracelet
The Empowering Women bracelet uses two adinkra symbols. The first is “Sankofa” (arguably one of the most recognisable of the adinkra symbols) which represents learning from the past. This symbol is sometimes interpreted by learning from our own past mistakes, but I take the wider representation of learning from history and those who have come before us as well. For me this symbol is as much about passing down history and knowledge as it is about acknowledging our own actions. The second symbol “Asase Ye Duru” translates to mean “the earth has weight”, and highlights the divinity of mother earth and the importance of the earth sustaining life. For me, this encompasses Divine’s sustainability principles, the Kuapa Kokoo farmers, the earth that grows the cocoa, and one of the most powerful female symbols, Mother Earth.
My normal design process starts with either an adinkra symbol that I deeply connect with for its underlying meaning or a concept I want to creatively express. For this piece, once the symbols were decided (see above), I played with the positioning and angles to create a botanical inspired configuration. The design goes from sketch, to a 3D image to a 3D printed wax mould which can then be cast into metal to really bring it to life. This piece is extra special because I'm only making one. It will be the only one in the world!
To me, empowerment is about supporting and encouraging others to reach their full potential. Giving someone the tools to solve their own problems and be independent is one of the best feelings in the world. I think Ghanaians are natural story tellers (just try asking for directions in Accra and you’ll know what I mean), and so through Lonam I try and support empowerment by encouraging self-expression. It’s so important to be heard and equally important to listen.
There’s a lot of literature and theory to suggest that women are naturally “givers” and because of this amazing trait we don’t always put ourselves in the number one spot. I was lucky enough to be brought up in a loving and supportive family with so many fierce, feisty and ambitious women who are outspoken about are what they deserve. I was always encouraged to reach for the stars, being aware I would have a different set of challenges as a woman but knowing that I can accomplish whatever I decide to put my mind to.
We all have so much to learn from each other and your story could empower someone to take that first step towards their dreams, so don’t be afraid to tell it.
The Only Way To Win This Free Jewellery and Hamper