Shirley Ephraim : Weaving through Tradition

Nigerian designer Shirley Ephraim, manifests dreams and ideals through her silk lace weaving and elegant use of raw stones. Shirley embraces the inherent and apparent differences between the stones that she herself handpicks and brings together to create a unique piece of art.


Her Lace + Armor lines are directly connected to her Nigerian heritage, as she has always, since she was a young child had an interest and fascination with the master craftsmen between the 15th and 17th centuries from the ancient Nigerian monarch. She also hand picks all of her stones herself and the unique look of her strands is that from Shirley actually metallizes the silk strands in her work.

Many elements of her initial learning experience in hand weaving in Nigeria can be seen in her work and her design choices. As hand weaving is part of Nigerian tradition, Shirley uses her tradition’s symbolism in that the amount of strings worn by an individual denotes wealth. Part of her design is in re-invigorating the ancient handcrafted techniques in her Nigerian culture.


Shirley is devoted to fair trade and ethical, humane and sustainable practices. Re-salvaged precious metals are used for all of her pieces. Working directly with mining cooperatives, she sources all of her stones from Nigeria. She works with fair-trade, master-artisan cooperatives in Africa, Italy and South America – of which are operated mostly by women. She does this in an effort to help support the preservation of weaving cultures, the passing down of ancient traditions, poverty reduction, women’s empowerment and the overall improving of livelihoods. Shirley also participates in Green Auctions, works with environmental nonprofits such as Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council, Central Park Conservancy and Conservation International.

Shirley studied at the University of Florida, Gainesville  before moving to New York to study performance and study at Parsons the New School for Design where she specialized in woven jewelry.



All images courtesy of Shirley Ephraim.

8 Comments on Shirley Ephraim : Weaving through Tradition

  1. Oh wow! The Shirley’s work is so rich and also important, because her sustainable practices. I think I’m in love!

  2. Beautiful,beautiful stuff!

  3. Naija is another name for Nigeria, the patroitic name for Nigerians to show thier strength and smartness… so with that being said…

    Naija!, Naija!, Naija!

    Tight work to Shirley on the craft behind this… this is looking like some #sexyback material and respect to #Aurumeve for keeping that “global asthetic” knowledge turntup, swagged up, learning more about this jewelry game with every post.


    • It’s what I do ODOTMDOT ! And thanks to you for being a FANTASTIC buddy on the journey! I love learning from your comments too!!! Keep them coming 🙂 NAIJA NAIJAAAA!!! 🙂

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  1. MUST DO | MAJOR $SAVINGS$: Get your Shirley Ephraim Fine Jewelry! |

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