The Story of Africa’s Original Jewel – The Ndoro

The Story of Africa’s Original Jewel – The Ndoro

Greetings from Zimbabwe!

It was during a visit to the Zambezi Valley in 1976 that I was given an Ndoro by a friend.

In fact, it was the first one I had ever seen. My friend asked me to wear it. Without knowing much about its history, I felt that this totem was my protector for many years as it hung around my neck. The Ndoro has a fascinating history within Zimbabwe’s material culture.

Ndoro were used by chiefs in Shona society, and worn by their wives and daughters as symbols of rank and authority and as signifiers of wealth. Because of its scarcity, the Ndoro was much sought after.

The Ndoro is a flat, spiral shape that is the result of grinding down a sea shell, the marine mollusc of the genus Conus Virgo which washes up on the East Coast of Africa.

The Portuguese, who traded with the people in Zimbabwe in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, learned of the value placed upon the Ndoro and took advantage of this demand by introducing large quantities of the natural mollusc Ndoro, and later mass-produced factory ceramic and porcelain copies, which they exchanged for gold, ivory and other goods.

I have used the Ndoro shape in many of my jewellery designs because of its symbolism and important connection to the history of my country, and because of its natural balance and elegance.

Silver Ndoros age beautifully and always have that wonderful African look and feel to them.

Have a Happy Easter!

With kind regards,


MPK-logoPS. If you are on a trading dhow sailing up the East coast of Africa please visit the Passion Boutique to see our range of Ndoro jewellery at the ocean front Medina Palms which overlooks one of Africa’s most beautiful beaches.


About Patrick Mavros Ltd.

From their studio and home overlooking the Umwimsi Valley in Zimbabwe, the Mavros family produce exquisite silver and gold pieces. Delivering a service that is inspired by their African surroundings, the Mavros name means unquestionable quality.

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