AYA was founded by Chelsy Davy – a native Zimbabwean who has spent much of her life in the UK. After studying at the Gemological Institute of America, Davy made it her mission to share the beauty of her continent of birth with the rest of the world. To this end, she has sourced the finest gemstones in Africa to showcase in her exquisite pieces, all of which are crafted from 18k gold. “Each piece tells its own story,” she says. Davy is also fastidious about ethical mining, and chose Gemfields to work with for their world-leading reputation in this area.
Describe your pieces in 3 words?
Versatile, ethical and timeless.
What is your lasting memory of visiting the Gemfields mine?
For us at AYA, ethics are as important as aesthetics. I visited the Gemfields Kagem mine back in 2016 and was truly blown away by the skill and efficiency of the miners, and the faultless conditions in which they work. It was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever done in my life. Entering the pit and picking out an emerald still in the rough – this glowing green jewel the size of a box of matches – was an incredible honour and an experience I will never forget.
What do emeralds mean to you?
Emeralds are one of my favourite gemstones. Having grown up on the Lower Zambezi in Zambia, their vibrant green reminds me of my home, and of renewal and fresh beginnings, especially at the start of the rainy season in November.
What is your favourite safari animal?
It would have to be the elephant. A lot of the AYA collection relates back to this magnificent and noble creature. I do a lot of my designing at home on the Zambezi, watching these gentle, powerful, majestic beasts trundling past. The shape of their tusks is so elegant – you can see it running through the design of many of our pieces.
If you could wear one of the pieces from the collaboration not from your own collection, which would it be?
I love the exclusive five-piece limited-edition pendant collection by Fabergé. The way the locket opens to reveal a miniature white gold elephant inside is absolutely breathtaking. There is no better way to highlight the incredible Walk for Giants initiative than by wearing a beautiful elephant-inspired pendant such as this.