Rwandan Culture and Jewellery Design

Discover how craftsmanship is influencing contemporary jewellery designers.

Necklace (27)Original Source: Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy

Material culture and innovation

Rwandan material culture, encompassing crafts like basketry and woodwork and adorned with traditional motifs, is a treasure trove of intangible heritage. These ancestral techniques, skillfully applied to modern designs, are shaping the future of Rwandan fashion.

Weaving a bracelet by Rwanda Nyanza JewerlyRwanda Cultural Heritage Academy

Basketry and Fashion

Rwanda boasts numerous weavers' cooperatives, all dedicated to community empowerment through the art of weaving. They specialize in crafting beautiful objects that honor tradition while embracing innovation. Their diverse creations range from jewelry to decorative items.

Necklace (25)Original Source: Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy

Jewellery in the museums' collections

Museum exhibitions showcase Rwandan jewelry, where tradition meets modern design. Crafted by local artisans using time-honored techniques, these pieces cater to the tastes of both Rwandans and international audiences.

Round necklace, Rwanda Nyanza Jewerly, From the collection of: Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy
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Necklace (28), Original Source: Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy
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The necklaces were donated by Soroptimist International after an exhibition that was held at Ethnographic Museum in 2012. The exhibition was a result of a joint project with  Soroptimist International and Cooperative Agaseke Muraza Kivumu

Woven necklace, Rwanda Nyanza Jewerly, From the collection of: Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy
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Bracelet (1), Original Source: Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy
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Woven necklace and a bracelet worn by women. 

Ngabo ring - Ktsobe by KtsobeRwanda Cultural Heritage Academy

Metal work: K'tsobe jewelries

K'tsobe crafts nature-inspired jewelry, drawing on Rwandan symbols and global influences. Their pieces, like the ring pictured, often incorporate silver, brass, seeds, wood, transforming everyday materials into cultural treasures.

Cows - Inyambo, Rwanda Museums, From the collection of: Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy
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Horn ring, Ktsobe, From the collection of: Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy
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Cows hold immense social, economic, and cultural significance in Rwanda. To celebrate this unique heritage, the artists that made the ring on the picture drew inspiration from cows' horns. 

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The Royal Icumu earrings


Spears, traditionally weapons of warriors, are now seen as cultural art in the form of earrings designed by K'tsobe.
This piece was on display at V&A Museum,{London} and will tour other venues like Brooklyn Museum {USA}, portland Art museum {USA}, National Gallery of Victoria 

Ngabo bracelets by KtsobeRwanda Cultural Heritage Academy

Icumu/ Ingabo Bracelet

Inspired by cultural object, the bracelet is worn by men and women

Double imigongo earings by KtsobeRwanda Cultural Heritage Academy

Innovative preservation

Embracing Rwanda's dynamic culture, K'tsobe jewelry reimagines traditional materials for a modern audience. This earring's "Abashi" pattern, for example, reflects the ever-evolving Rwandan heritage.

Credits: Story

Content contributors: Alice Kamasoni (Mininstry of Youth), Chantal Umuhoza (Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy) & Sarah Legrand (K'tsobe) 
Curated by Chantal Umuhoza
Photographers: Chris Schwagga, Gael Vande Weghe & Andre Ntagwabira (Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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