The story so far:
MK Nsika designs and creates pieces to revive an old tradition from her native country, Congo, where palm trees are used to make jewellery, fabrics and accessories.
She reclaims the shells to show their beauty. Pieces are delicate, yet bold featuring striking contrast between the organic and the mineral, curves and angles, ancient symbolism and modernity.
Her goal is also to create sustainable jobs for the artisans she is working with in Congo.
Beautiful objects: Biloko Kitoko
Biloko aims to create beautiful, modern designs rediscovering traditional, time-honored skills.
Each unique piece in the Biloko Collection is handcrafted by Makila Nsika in her London based workshop. The reclaimed palm nuts are polished and cut for her by artisans in Congo. The findings are fairly sourced whenever possible to support artisans in Congo.
Biloko is dedicated to using the most environmentally sound materials possible such as recycled sterling silver or gold. Our signature style comes from our very unique use of reclaimed palm nut wood.
We believe that by using recycled materials where we can, we are behaving in a way that is both responsible and ethical whilst also producing accessories that looks great and is a pleasure to wear.
Why Palm nuts?
THERE IS A DIFFERENT STORY TO PALM NUTS IN AFRICA:
The infamous African palm tree is native to West Africa and has always been traditionally farmed there in small gardens or picked from natural palm reserves in the forest. In the Republic of the Congo, the oil is produced by hand. The women extract, from the flesh of the fruit, the nourishing and bright oil that is used in many local dishes of the country.
They often discard the kernels. We reclaim the shells.
They are made of an extremely hard wood with a lovely dark colour. Rings used to be sculpted out of them.
We are simply reviving a tradition and showing the real beauty of this material that has so many uses. We also respect its natural environment, our beautiful equatorial forest, by sourcing sustainably the nuts from small local growers or women in local markets.
Our aim is to reach a position in the market that will allow us to actively support small growers. The more support they receive, the better they keep hold of their land and the less they are enticed to sell it to big companies. Already hundreds of hectares of forest have been bought by Malaysian investment to intensively grow palm trees, endangering our wildlife.