When my friend Jane Linley-Thomas posted about some gorgeous earrings that she had had made by ladies living in Valley of 1000 Hills, I knew that I had discovered an absolute gem! Not only is this project empowering women, but it is also providing them with a skill that can be passed from generation to generation, and giving them a chance to earn an income so they can offer a better life for them and their families.

Philippa Spark is the wonderful lady behind this great project, and when I reached out to her to see if I could feature this business on my blog, she immediately jumped on it. And seeing the creations that have been made have really reminded me of how much I love these – and what a great Christmas gift they would make.


Your name: Philippa Spark

Business name: Philippa French

Social media handles: Instagram; Facebook and Twitter

3 fun facts about you:
• My perfect day would start with champagne and end with… champagne.
• I would love to meet, and even have lunch with, Kamala Harris.
• My dream home would be a petite penthouse apartment in the 6th or 7th arrondissement of Paris with an outdoor terrace overlooking the roof tops and chimney pots of the city I love most in the world.

Tell me a bit more about what you do:
I work with women and some men in the Valley of 1000 Hills on the outskirts of Durban, South Africa, creating beautiful, bespoke beaded items for customers the world over.

What makes your jewellery so special:
We use only the best quality glass beads out of the Czech Republic and we use only the best quality beaders. We invest a huge amount of time in proper training and therefore we have an incredible team, creating the “best of the best” items possible.

Do you do custom orders:
Yes, absolutely.

How can people order from you:
Most customers order through Instagram, which is working very well. I am always available to help and to reply to any queries that come through to me.

What is your personal favourite set:
I have many! There are so many different items to love, so it is tricky to choose, however, I do love the new range I have just launched called the “Saint Cloud” range – named after a suburb in Paris (naturally).

What have been your most popular items:
• The entire Frida range.
• Tassel earrings of all shapes and colour combinations imagineable.

Why do you encourage people to support local:
We need to do what we can to support our people. As a country we need to unite and this is a fine way to do it. We are stronger together.

Can you tell me a little more about the ladies that make these works of art:
At present we have a team of twelve ladies and one man who work with us pretty much full time. They are all (every single one of them) supporting their families through their craft and as such, every single order facilitates the upliftment and the support of multiple families in the area. A fact that makes my heart soar with joy.

Quote you live by:
“What is meant for you will not pass you by.”
“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.”

Anything else you wish to add:
I wish only the best for our entrepreneurs, for our country, for the world. Today and every day.


Aren’t these beyond gorgeous? And wouldn’t they make such a divine Christmas gift? Please consider supporting local businesses when choosing your gifts – and what better than something unique, handmade, and put together with so much love. And I love their Christmas baubles too! Every year husband and I choose a special decoration for the year – I think I may have to order some of these for 2020.


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