Meet South African jewellery designer Zoja Mihic, for whom working in Africa is an inspiration, as everything feels possible, yet whose finished products become ‘pieces of the world’.
How did Zoja the brand come about?
In short, I made myself some bracelets that a lot of people loved and commented on. It inspired me to make more. I soon realised I had found a way to merge things I love, namely; creation, exploration and discovery, into something that allowed to me to experience the world and connect with people.
Describe your brand in three words.
Inquisitive, sensuous and worldly
Your favourite jewellery pieces to make, and why?
I enjoy designing earrings. I love the idea of adornment framing one’s face, there is something refined and regal about earrings. There are so many ways to experiment with them and one can dramatically alter one’s mood with a quick earring change.
How do you design and make each piece?
A natural curiosity is at the heart of all I do. I like to be free in my associations and adopt an open approach. From there I gather references, which is like a gathering of pieces of the world. These eventually get translated into a handmade sample, which is then fine-tuned until I am satisfied with it.
How are the materials you use significant?
They are all natural fragments of the world that are authentically forged into something new and treasured. There is something pure about this that I love and find it very hard to deviate from.
What is different about your jewellery to other brands’?
I am always taken by the stories I hear about people who own pieces. They consider them to be personal treasures. These pieces are often linked to a moment, a story or memory. I think my pieces are different because they often carry a narrative. They are also very wearable and so people grow attached to them. I enjoy it when people wear pieces from my collection and make them a part of their lives.
Which designers inspire you?
The list is endless however, in the universe of jewellery the two that remain constant inspiration are Belperron and JAR. Studying indigenous African adornment is also a source of wonder.
What new product does the world need right now?
I personally have always wanted a transparent punch so I can see where I am making the hole. It’s the little things. The world however needs something like a cheap portable water filtration device to bring clean and safe water to the 1 billion people in need of it.
Current trends you love?
I love the return to authenticity, the interest in the makers of beautiful things, to rarity and limited editions. Any celebration of things made with thoughtful consideration and coupled with colour tends to be something I gravitate towards.
Current trends you hate?
Overdone anything. I really think there is value in paring back. Good design is not always about adding things, it is often out eliminating elements too.
How does working in Africa inspire you?
Everything feels possible in Africa. There is so much diversity, which translates to endless inspiration and potential for new discoveries for me.
Good design is… Simple, timeless and graceful.
What are you currently working on?
I would like to broaden my product range to include objects that not only adorn our bodies, but adorn the spaces in which we live, too.
Get in touch with Zoja at www.zojastudio.com