“I’ve always wanted to do something dedicated to life underwater and the tropics, and I wanted all the pieces to exude happiness and positivity as we all look forward to getting back to how life was pre-COVID,” says jewelry designer Yokabid Worku, of Yoki Collections, on her vision for her two newest collections.
Titled Coco and Ocean Princess, both tell tropical tales; one is set in an emerald green jungle, the other descends underwater to explore the treasures of the sea.
Born in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Worku currently makes her home in northern Virginia, but nature—especially as it relates to memories of her childhood in Africa—is a perennial inspiration. Ethiopia’s meandering Blue Nile, the Great Rift Valley, and the flowers and butterflies that inhabited her family’s garden have all surfaced in her work over the years, from umbels of dainty flowers transformed into a brooch to eucalyptus leaves reimagined as pink sapphire and diamond dots on a pair of citrine earrings.
For Coco and Ocean Princess, both concepted during the pandemic, Worku looked to the motifs of a tropical landscape as a way to tell a larger story about growth and renewal. “Water constantly moves, just as the tropical landscape continually evolves and grows, and I personally find both aspects of nature to be very relaxing, rejuvenating, calming, and hopeful,” she says.
Expressed in 18k gold, diamonds, and tsavorite, the Coco pieces (pictured below) evoke palm fronds and monstera leaves glistening with condensation, or shot through with flashes of misty sunlight after a rain. Special attention has been paid to brushed finishes that reveal the tiniest veins found on a leaf, or high contrasts of light and dark metal to evoke the unique texture of bark.
Evoking sand ripples, fish scales, and jellyfish tendrils, Ocean Princess encompasses abstract and realistic jewels that conjure the beguiling textures, patterns, and color mixing seen in starfish, sea kelp, and other marine life.
New pieces will be added to both ranges in the coming month; a sneak peek is offered below.
Top: From the Ocean Princess collection, an homage to the ebb and flow of waves: Maryam stud earrings in 18k blackened gold with blue sapphires and diamonds, $6,750; Yoki Collections
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