When you are browsing through all of the beautiful and unique items that make Harkiss Designs such a fun place to shop, keep in mind that, true to our East African roots, all of the home goods & accessories we carry feature sustainable, recycled or re-purposed materials. Traditionally, communities in Uganda and other East African countries rely on locally available, sustainable materials like bark, millet stalks, banana and palm leaf fiber. People gather their raw materials from local sources.
You may wonder how our artisans source cow horn to make the jewelry and home wares in our catalog. Despite the fact that cow horn is of animal origin, I am pleased to report that no cattle sacrifice their lives for the sake of our cow horn products.
Cow horn, like coconut wood, used to be a disposable byproduct of the agricultural industry in countries like Uganda and Kenya. The horn materials used in Harkiss products come from Ankole cattle, which are known for their impressive horns, which can grow up to 8 feet in length. Ankole horns are longer than those of any other cattle species in the world. Depending on what the cattle typically eat, different horns have various patterns and tones that make them unique. Polishing the horn brings out its beauty.
Our Ankoles do not shed their horns. The horns keep growing in length and girth throughout the animals’ lives. Once they die, their horns are removed, and artisans can repurpose them by handcrafting the material into useful and decorative items.
I encourage you to look further into the unique richness of the many cow horn items in our collection. Ugandan and Kenyan artisans polish and carve these items by hand to make the most of the shapes, tones and textures of the materials.
Our serving bowls and cow horn salt and pepper sets give your dinner table a rustic yet exotic vibe unlike any other. Our hand-carved cow horn bracelet cuffs and rings provide a direct link to the ancestral herds that traditionally represent the wealth of their owner. Each of our unique pendants, chokers and earring sets offers you the opportunity to tap into the deep, agricultural roots of East Africa.