Dandelion Brings Kenyan Jewelry to Philly

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Dandelion was how bright and peaceful the shop was. Located in Suburban Square, it is a Philly adjacent jewelry shop filled with handcrafted artisan pieces, and many varieties of raw and refined stones and small metal accoutrements.

The manager Lynn was very clear on Dandelion’s position on the social impact of jewelry for overseas communities, stating that “our position is to help women become sustainable and support themselves and we love to support our American artists and our foreign artists and of course, that includes communities of color.” 

When I take the leap and purchase jewelry, I have a criteria that has to be filled in order for me to feel content. I need the piece to be high quality but also affordable and I need the piece to have some sentiment behind it. I am much more inclined to purchase jewelry that is made by hand and feels like it has a story than something mass manufactured and coldly impersonal. 

The jewelry at Dandelion passes both of those checklist items with flying colors. It is well made and high quality (this is not the kind of jewelry that will turn your skin green) while still maintaining an accessible price point. Also, the jewelry is often one-of-a-kind or from small batches, which makes it more unique and eye catching. 

As a self labelled black fashionista, I like to connect to my roots through jewelry and also support conscious consumerism. While browsing at Dandelion, the line that I absolutely fell in love with was called SoKo. SoKo is a very forward thinking and ethical brand that was founded in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. And not only is the jewelry beautiful, it is also socially conscious.

(Catherine Mahagu pictured in SoKo jewelry. Photo taken from SoKo.com)

(Catherine Mahagu pictured in SoKo jewelry. Photo taken from SoKo.com)

One of the founders of SoKo, Catherine Mahugu was listed in Forbe’s 30 Under 30: Social Entrepreneurs in 2016. The recognition is well founded because SoKo employs nearly one thousand sub-Saharan artisans and improves their quality of life through fair and steady income. They train and employ women from rural and slum communities such as Kiberia and create beautiful brass statement pieces that appeal to urban women. 

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But if you don’t fall in love with the fact that the accessory line fair trade and eco-friendly, you will fall in love with the minimal aesthetic that is an ode to traditional tribal designs. 

One of my favorite pieces from the line were the graduated infinity studs, which were stunning interlocked hoop earrings. One of the first things you might notice is how the upcycled brass really compliments my medium brown skin tone.

Also, the double bar cuff stole the show for me. I love the way it hugs my wrist and brings out my yellow undertones. 

All in all, if you like supporting foreign artisans and you like showstopping jewelry, Dandelion is the place to go. Not only did I get a taste of Kenya but I got to wear the beautiful results of social empowerment which is a reward all in itself. 

 

You can follow Dandelion and SoKo on Instagram at @dandelionjewelry and @shopsoko.

 

 

Article by Amiah Taylor