Alexis Bittar is described as "one of the greatest jewelry designers of the 21st century." Alexis started selling his hand-carved Lucite and gemstone creations on the streets of New York before quickly being discovered by the fashion world.
The Amani collection is named after the Swahili word for "peace". During Alexis' journey to Kenya and Amani ya Juu, an organization that empowers and equips women to live with dignity, purpose and peace, he learned of the symbol Nkyinkyim, which translates literally to “twisting”. The design of Nkyinkyim depicts the twists and turns of life’s journey. The Amani pieces are inspired by East African art and symbolism, and by the twisting and turning sculptures of Alexander Calder.
Lucite, or polymethyl methacrylate, is a transparent thermoplastic that dates back to the early thirties when it was developed as acrylic safety glass. Lucite is light and shatter-resistant and lends itself well to molding, cutting and carving.
Costume jewelry design and production exploded during the Depression where modern manufacturing methods and affordable materials provided an alternative to fine jewelry. Costume jewelry became an independent art form as designers discovered new uses for plastics, such as Lucite, glass crystals and metal plating.