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J for jewelry

...inspired by all things natural
Published: 
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Top: Akilah Jaramogi, shows off one of her native pieces. Bottom: Customers look at Akilah Jaramogi’s jewelry display. Photos: Rishi Ragoonath

Akilah Jaramogi has opened avenues for women to be both trendy and ecologically friendly. Jaramogi has been designing jewelry out of materials that she grows near her St Ann’s home. “I have a huge passion for fashion, and I love to wear afro-centric jewelry. I decided to design my own line made from natural ingredients, and in 1996 Akilah’s Jewelry was born. “I wanted to create an ecological pathway through fashion, so everything I use is natural and is even harvested in an eco-friendly manner,” she said. Some of the home-grown resources used to design her collection include stinking toe, monkey basket, lucky seed, cocorite and juju seed. Her jewelry has a huge following throughout T&T and the Caribbean because of its unique design and innovative use of natural materials.

Jaramogi has worked with many local designs over the years, and she has also worked with the 1998 Miss Universe Committee outfitting the delegates with African wear and jewelry. She is also the co-founder of the Caribbean Artisan Foundation and the Trinidad Artisan Foundation. Her jewelry is sold at several locations throughout the country, but for the Carnival season she can be found around the Queens’ Park Savannah. Jaramogi not only makes her own trinkets, but conducts training programmes regionally. She has also exhibited her line in Barbados, Grenada, St Lucia, Curacao, Tortola, Jamaica and the United Kingdom. Jaramogi also has a deep love of conservation, and is the current managing director of The Fondes Amandes Community Re-Forestation Project (FACRP) in St Ann’s. 

The project is a community-based agro-forestry project that started in 1982 by a group of farmers living in the Fondes Amandes Watershed. The objective of the project is to promote the development of responsible eco-tourism, as well as to protect the biodiversity of flora and fauna in the St Ann’s watershed. The group also works with other communities and organisations that conserve and protect the environment. “My love of conservation stems from being raised in a rural community in south Trinidad. “Everything we do needs to be done with eco-integrity attached. “We need to work in harmony with Mother Nature as we depend on the natural environment for everything,” Jaramogi stated.

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