Angelika Eichas and Makalani nuts

When Desert Secrets’ Sophia Snyman went in search of a gift container that was both unusual and authentic, she came across a Makalani nut that had been cut in half. She had the innovative idea that it would be the perfect container to showcase her natural beauty range, while keeping the essential spirit of the range. It would be natural, in sync with her products made from indigenous oils, display Namibia craftsmanship and support local crafters. It would also, importantly, be ‘proudly Namibian’.

Goldsmith Angelika Eichas creating the innovative Makalani-nut containers.

Her search took her to the Namibian Craft Centre in Tal Street, Windhoek. She wandered around the stalls until she came to one called ‘Rustic Wire & Beads’ where pieces of Makalani nuts had been incorporated into funky mobiles and colourful beadwork. It seemed that her intuition – or her good sense – led her to the right spot. She explained to Angelika Eichas what she had in mind and asked if she could make something. “Of course,” was the reply she received from her energetic and positive new colleague. And so the business relationship developed.

The process involves sawing the nuts in half and carving out the centre.

Desert Secrets ‘jewellery’ box!

Angelika, a goldsmith by profession, used her skills, creativity and jewellery-making expertise for her new design: a Makalani holder that opens and closes like a small jewellery box! Angelika props the rock-hard Makalani nut in a vice, where it is well-supported, cuts it in half with a saw, drills holes for the hinge and clasp and carves out the inside; a long and laborious process. A self-proclaimed night owl, Angelika does her best work in the quiet early hours when she finds her inspiration. She buys the nuts from the ‘mêmês’ (mothers/women) in Windhoek, who bring them down from the northern reaches of the country where Makalani palms are abundant.

A unique Namibian ‘jewellery box’ for Desert Secrets’ Solid Perfume and Lip Balm.

The perfect gift

Angelika says: “Every Makalani nut is a work of art in itself and no two nuts are the same.” The Makalani nuts are used as the novel containers for the nourishing Lip Balm made with Marula and Tsamma Melon Seed oils – and are ideal as gifts for those special people in your life.

Love it? Share it!