Joycelyn Sena Zigah
Sterling silver jewelry in West Africa
"A challenge was working in a male-dominated industry. Coming from a very traditional setup, it was tough as a woman to be taken seriously in the trade by my colleagues, who are mostly men.""I was born more than five decades ago in the town of Adidome in the Volta region, where my parents lived at that time. In those days, African traditional religion of worshiping at shrines was predominant. When my mother was due to give birth to me, my grandmother believed that the midwife in the town where she lived had some sort of bad energy that caused all the babies she delivered to die mysteriously soon after birth. With this belief in mind, she refused to let my mother deliver me there.
"So on the day of my birth, they had to travel miles to the hospital in the next town for me to be delivered. It was a very grueling experience for my mother and she has considered me special after that experience. My name, Sena — which my mother appropriately named me — means 'bringing heaven to earth' in the language of the Ewe people of Ghana.
"The Ewes live mostly in the Volta region of Ghana, east of the Volta River, and we are the second largest tribe of Ghana. I grew up in Hohoe but later left for Koforidua in Eastern of Ghana for my secondary school education, and then attended the university in Kumasi.
"As an art student, I became interested in industrial arts — specifically, metal work. My mother traded in earrings, necklaces and beads so I naturally followed up. In 1986, I graduated with a bachelor's degree in art, with a major in metal design and fabrication.
"Immediately afterward, I worked as a jeweler's assistant for my National Service, a scheme designed for new graduates to serve their country for a period of at least one year. I did this for two years and was later employed permanently as a jeweler. Two years after that, I had the opportunity to further my studies at the School of Jewelry in Birmingham, UK. This was a great opportunity to learn more techniques and upgrade my knowledge in my chosen field.
"After successful completion, I returned to Ghana. I was eager to pass on the knowledge acquired and to help develop the jewelry industry. I chose a public institution where we took in most of the graduates from the metal arts department of the University of Science and Technology. This gave me the opportunity to impart this knowledge and put to use my skills in the industry. I rose to become the head of the jewelry workshop and worked with the company for a total of fifteen years.
"From there, I was ready to start my very own jewelry workshop. I initially started with a staff of two, which has gradually increased to five permanent staff and five casual workers. I also take in many apprentices and interns from the university, whom I train during vacations.
"The initial challenge faced when I started on my own was pre-financing production of the precious metal designs I produce. Material costs were very unstable and any time you allocated a budget for production, the figures changed at the time of purchase. It was and still is challenging, but manageable with help from family and friends.
"Another challenge was working in a male-dominated industry. Coming from a very traditional setup, it was tough as a woman to be taken seriously in the trade by my colleagues, who are mostly men. I am one tough cookie so I don't get pushed over easily. I persevered and worked harder until I earned the respect due me.
"My aspiration for the future is to expand production to train more youth to equip them with skills for their future development, and also make more facilities available to students from the jewelry schools to undertake practical attachment training at my workshop.
"I am the mother of three girls and I have thirteen siblings located all over the country. My friends describe me as hardworking, disciplined and honest. I like to spend my leisure time reading and playing board games with my family. I am actively involved in activities at my local church and am part of the evangelism department, which does village outreach programs.
"I am grateful for this opportunity to sell internationally through Novica and I pray this draws me one step closer to fulfilling my aspirations. I also hope you will take pleasure in wearing my designs."
36 items by Joycelyn Sena Zigah
ResilienceSterling Silver Pendant
Length: 1.7" x 0.8" W$139.99
God is SupremeMen's Fair Trade Sterling Silver Signet Ring from Africa
US Ring Size: 9,10,11$189.99
Nkonsonkonson with HeartAdinkra Nkonsonkonson Dangle Earrings from Ghana
Length: 1.2" x 0.4" W$97.99
Back to My RootsHandmade Sterling Silver Bird Pendant
Length: 1.4" x 0.7" W$109.99
Africa SankofaSterling Silver Pendant
Length: 1.4" x 1.1" W$144.99
Ese Ne TekremaAdinkra Ese Ne Tekrema Dangle Earrings from Ghana
Length: 1.7" x 0.6" W$139.99
Faithful BlueSterling Silver and Blue CZ Cross Pendant from Ghana
Length: 1.6" x 0.8" W$119.99
ProsperityHand Made Sterling Silver Link Necklace
Size: 16 to 18 inches$359.99
Ghana AfricaHandmade Sterling Silver Pendant
Length: 1.6" x 1.1" W$149.99
Gleaming CrucifixSterling Silver Crucifix Pendant from Ghana
Length: 2.8" x 1.1" W$139.99
Gye Nyame HouseAdinkra-Themed Sterling Silver Pendant from Ghana
Length: 1.3" x 0.9" W
Back to AfricaSterling silver dangle earrings
Length: 2.3" x 1.1" W$199.99
Queen Idia MaskSterling Silver Queen Idia Pendant from Ghana
Length: 1.7" x 0.4" W$97.99
Gye Nyame LoveHeart-Shaped Gye Nyame Sterling Silver Pendant from Ghana
Length: 1.7" x 1.1" W$97.99
Nkonsonkonson HeartHeart-Shaped Nkonsonkonson Pendant from Ghana
Length: 1.3" x 1.1" W$164.99
Double Abundant CowrieUnique African Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings
Length: 1.9" x 0.4" W$117.99
Back to My RootsSterling Silver Dangle Earrings
Length: 1.4" x 0.6" W$147.99
New AdinkraHandmade Sterling Silver Bird Pendant from Africa
Length: 1.2" x 0.6" W$99.99
Stars of HopeSterling Silver Dangle Earrings
Length: 1.3" x 0.8" W$137.99
Teeth and TongueSterling Silver Ese Ne Tekrema Pendant from Ghana
Length: 1.6" x 0.7" W$187.99
New AdinkraUnique Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings
Length: 1.2" x 0.6" W$139.99
African InitiativeHandcrafted Sterling Silver Button Earrings from Africa
Length: 1.2" x 0.6" W$159.99
Gye Nyame and FihankraAdinkra-Themed Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings from Ghana
Length: 1.1" x 0.4" W$97.99
Gye Nyame with HeartAdinkra Gye Nyame Dangle Earrings from Ghana
Length: 1" x 0.4" W$97.99
Abundant CowrieHand Crafted Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings from Africa
Length: 1.3" x 0.5" W$139.99
ProsperitySterling Silver Button Earrings
Length: 0.5" x 0.6" W$119.99
ProsperitySterling Silver Dangle Earrings
Length: 1.6" x 0.7" W$139.99
ProsperityHand Made Sterling Silver Pendant (Medium)
Length: 0.8" x 0.7" W$109.99
ProsperitySterling Silver Pendant (Large)
Length: 1.4" x 0.8" W$119.99
Abundant CowrieSterling Silver Link Bracelet from Africa (6.25 Inch)
ProsperityHand Made Sterling Silver Link Necklace
Size: 16 to 18 inches
African FiligreeSterling Silver Filigree Earrings
Length: 0.3" x 0.3" W$109.99
God is SupremeHandmade Sterling Silver Cross Pendant
Length: 2.4" x 1.4" W$149.99
AbundanceSterling silver bangle bracelet
Size: 6.75" Inner Circ. x 0.6" W$219.99
Abundant CowrieUnique Sterling Silver Pendant
Length: 1" x 0.5" W$77.99
ProsperitySterling Silver Link Bracelet
3 Testimonials for Joycelyn Sena Zigah
Manchester Center, VT United States
Fayetteville, NC USA