The role of design in gold jewellery for export: a Ghanaian case study

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This thesis is a study of the function of design in Ghana’s gold jewellery for export, It is a report and assessment of how goldsmiths are exploiting this powerful, yet often ignored tool for export marketing. The study focuses on two major aspects of design: i] product design of contemporary gold jewellery ii] packaging design The study examined traditional goldsmithing and the symbolism of gold in the Akan society. In addition, the sprouting contemporary goldsmithing and design trends since independence were discussed. Promotional aspects used in gold jewellery for export were also evaluated. Concentration was given to: a] product adaption and development to suit international markets by the use of adinkra symbols: a rich and innovative resource in this respect. b] Packages from locally available materials like cloth and those incorporating kente and trade—beads which are multi-functional, reusable and environmentally friendly. Research methods included personal interviews and questionnaires to various goldsmiths, Ghana Export Promotion Council (G.E.P.C.), Precious Mineral Marketing Corporation (P.M.M.C.) and the Bank of Ghana. It was found that contemporary goldsmiths have not seriously launched into the export trade. Few have actually handled export orders or attended Trade fairs abroad. In terms of promotion, design is definitely lagging behind. Packages are usually imported while product development and adaption seem new phenomena. It was recommended among other things that an action committee be set up to formulate policies or guidelines for the jewellery industry. The formation of a design unit under the G.E.P.C. which will be solely responsible for market research and advising on export issues was also recommended. It was concluded that a combination of creative marketing techniques like unique packaging and superior quality jewellery would make Ghana’s gold jewellery an irresistible beacon for jewellery wearers and import houses worldwide.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Arts in African Art, 1993