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Finance & Innovation

These earrings connect women from Afghanistan to London

Every piece of jewellery is made by someone somewhere, so it seems like a simple request that the owner should know who made it and where it was made, right? Yet, so often the answer to those questions are a complete mystery.

Introducing Turquoise Mountain:

Established in 2006, Turquoise Mountain was founded to preserve and restore the cultural heritage of Afghanistan, as well as bring economic development to the country.

Turquoise Mountain is part training institute, part restoration project, and part commercial enterprise. Based a few hours away from the mines in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, the training institute equips young men and women with skills in the art of jewellery, calligraphy, woodwork or ceramics.

Last year saw the graduation of the first group of female students, who went on to join the Turquoise Mountain studio as employed staff. After studying for three years, these women are employed as part of Turquoise Mountain’s Workshop, creating beautiful jewellery that sells worldwide. Not only does Turquoise Mountain work to educate and employ artisans, they also have an eye for design by teaming up with top designers, like Pippa Small.

Pippa Small is a London jewellery designer who strives to make stunning jewellery, while answering the basic and meaningful questions on its supply chain. On Pippa Small’s fifth trip to Kabul, she saw the first group graduate and personally met many of the artisans who put hours into turning her ideas into real life.

“I was so excited to be working with the first group of employed women graduates who have now joined the workshop. It was wonderful to see their pride in their work and hear what a help it is for them to be able to contribute to their families’ income, as well as going out to work and having creative input in the design process.” - Pippa Small

How many designers can say that?

One story Turquoise Mountain can tell is of Javid Noori. Javid is an expert jeweller from Afghanistan who has worked with Turquoise Mountain to become the jeweller he is today, learning and enhancing his incredible talent.

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Now, he helps educate and train young female graduates so they can become experts too. Masouda Kohistani, one of the female graduates working on Pippa Small pieces said:

“I love using Afghanistan’s natural gemstones and believe the colour and vivacity of Afghan gems reflect the complexity and richness
 of the land from which they came.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 4.35.52 PM.pngLapis Zuli earrings made by Turquoise Mountain can be found at

This kind of business is a win-win situation, artisans love their jobs and consumers love their jewellery. Isn’t that how it should always be?

If you want to explore this story in more detail and take a look at Turquoise Mountain’s beautiful products, take a look at