The Gratitude Collection is “a gentle and beautiful reminder” for the women who wear it, that a life of abundance starts simply with an attitude of gratitude.
The Gratitude Collection is a touchstone–original and unique merchandise–created by designer Deanna Collins of JDDesigns, who has seen how a heart full of Gratitude invites life that radiates new richness and beauty. The Gratitude Collection invites you to connect clear and strong with the power of your individual intention.
The concept behind the collection, which originated with The Gratitude Bracelet, started with a journey begun in the summer of 2006, Deanna’s friend Judy learned her husband of 25 years, Wayne, was diagnosed with stage-four cancer. A philanthropic person by nature, Judy found it difficult to accept the generosity and kindness that literally poured into their lives during the days and months that followed. Among the many gifts Judy received was a rosary bracelet from her close friend, Deanna. The bracelet comforted Judy, and made her feel more grounded when times felt hopeless. When the holiday season arrived, Judy sought to show her gratitude to the many friends who had nurtured her all year. The rosary bracelet became an inspiration for a piece of jewelry that was just as meaningful, yet in a universal way that everyone could relate to, regardless of faith. She called her friend Deanna, a jewelry designer, and asked her to create a piece of sentimental jewelry that would come to be known as “The Gratitude Bracelet.”
The opportunity to earn a living – and find more meaning in her work – is what drove Deanna Collins to establish JDDesigns. More than creating a new brand of inspirational merchandise, Deanna appreciates the gifts in her life and hopes her success will give her the opportunity to give something back to the world, in return. For this reason, she chose to feature the remarkable solitaire Kenyan bead in the collection. Each bead purchased contributes to the growth of the Kazuri operation outside Nairobi, Kenya, where the opportunity of employment has transformed the lives of hundreds of Kenyan women. This facility only employs single mothers, widows, or those with special needs. These women are gaining the respect of their families and their independence. Deanna hopes to create a greater awareness for the empowerment of women around the world.
On the outskirts of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, at the foot of the Ngon’g Hills, lays the farm immortalized in Karen Blixen’s ‘Out of Africa’. The title of the book and film comes from the Latin saying that translates as ‘There is always something new out of Africa’. Almost thirty years ago, that saying came true again, with the birth of Kazuri Beads.
The colorful ceramic beads made at Kazuri on the old Blixen estate are now famous world-wide and are featured in the Gratitude Collection. The Gratitude Collection’s Signature “g” Bead is made exclusively for the collection by workers at Kazuri.
Lady Susan Wood, an African-born Englishwoman, and her doctor husband were committed to the welfare of the Kenyan people. In the 1970s Susan Wood founded a small project to help and empower women without any other means of support. That enterprise evolved into Kazuri Beads, a Fair Trade project that empowers local people.
Meaning ‘small and beautiful’ in Swahili, the project that began with two disadvantaged women working in a garden shed now provides employment for several hundred needy people, especially women. It has created a source of income for many women who would otherwise have had few options to provide for themselves and their families, including many women with disabilities, single mothers and women widowed by the Aids epidemic that has swept through Africa.
Kazuri Beads are made from clay sourced from the foothills of the mountains of the Kenyan Highlands, providing an income for small farmers in the area. The clay is processed in the Kazuri plant to remove impurities. Feldspar and quartz are added and the raw material is further treated to create a high quality clay.
It is painstaking work. The clay is then hand made into ceramic beads that are first baked in the sun before being fired in electric kilns at temperatures above 1100 degrees Celsius. The beads are then individually hand-painted and glazed before being baked again. Quality clay, skilled painting and meticulous quality control mean that the beads are uniquely one-of-a-kind, even though power cuts sometimes disrupt the process and ruin whole batches.
JDDesigns is proud to be a part of empowering women by supporting their efforts, which also helps ensure success with this project. With (our) your continued support, Kazuri continues to expand. We hope you love the beads as much as we do. Thank you for your support.
These women are gaining the respect of their families and their independence.
JDDesigns is honored to have the Gratitude “g” bead designed and created exclusively for the Gratitude Signature Collection.