Lotanna Amina Egwuatu’s love for jewelry started at a young age. She was drawn to oddly shaped stones which led her to one day start making jewelry by changing out watch straps with seashells. She furthered her knowledge of jewelry by doing research and earning a scholarship to take a gemology course, leading her to study at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Mina Stones started out as a business whose mission was to highlight the beauty and natural resources of Nigeria. Since launching this company, Amina has grown her platform to advocate not only the rich culture but also the miners she works with for her business. Mina Stones is a vertically integrated company that is involved in every aspect of the value chain, from the mines to the market. Amina explains how she has grown to know and love these workers as if they were family. She strives to improve the livelihood of her workers and those residing in Nigerian mining areas through her business.
It’s common for sustainable businesses to have a social bottom line that measures profits in human capital. Amina has made it a point to focus on her beautiful culture and the people who make her business possible by providing one-of-a-kind gemstones from northern and western parts of Africa. This company brings economic growth to many families who are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing brand.
Amina also points out how she reuses gold and makes it into various pieces for her collections. One piece Mina spoke about, that is dear to her heart, is the AREWA Pendant. It is a symbol of unity among northern Nigerian leaders to achieve progress.
What I learned about Mina Stones is that a brand that works to be “sustainable” must work not only on environmental but also social issues at its core. This brings new life and recognition to a specific part of the world or region where there are rich resources and artisanal workers who put their hearts and souls into their craft. No matter how much or little these artisans have, they are proud of what they produce and what their country has to offer. It is time to bring value back to the land and people of Nigeria and not exploit them for their riches. Every gemstone is a life, and it is time we are conscious of that.
Bringing awareness to Africa and what it has to offer is what Mina Stones is all about. Amina’s business supports local craftsmanship and jobs to grow the overall sustainability of her community and region. This jewelry is full of authenticity and what is most beautiful about Mina Stones is the pride and value it has for its country.
Check out minastones.com to see beautifully handcrafted jewelry using gemstones of Africa!