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Sometimes we don't choose the path; it chooses us! The path that chose Johan van Zyl was jewellery manufacturing. Not expecting this would be his passion someday, he approached his training and initial job with a “let’s see where this leads me!” attitude.


"I love the arty side of it. I realised I am able to put art into practical use."  Says Johan as he admires his handy work on a recently completed eternity ring.

He promised himself back when he was a journeyman/bench worker that one day, he would have his own jewellery store.

He started his career in Paarl and Worcester and then went on to manage a store in Swellendam, before setting off to England, to expand his knowledge and experience. 

Hatton Gardens was his home for 2 years, but his path would be redirected again and Johan returned to South Africa.


Johan opened The Jewellery System in 2006 in the ffishing village of Gansbaai, Western Cape, South Africa.

True to his vision, his bespoke brand is associated with quality handmade work, at affordable prices.

Despite some scepticism about a manufacturing jeweller surviving in a small town, The Jewellery System is proud to be celebrating its 15th birthday.

Johan has stayed committed to his hard work and dedication to his craft throughout the years, which is reflected in his gorgeous pieces of 'practical art'.


To assist in the expansion of The Jewellery System, Andrea Thelen joined in early 2021 to create the "TJS  Dream Team'. An assistant in many aspects, Andrea has helped spruce up the shop in Gansbaai, given new life to the Facebook page, created an Instagram account and after 15 years, The Jewellery System now has this website!


While Johan continues to design, melt down, make up and revive jewellery, Andrea has helped to make TJS accessible to everyone across South Africa, and hopefully the world! "


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Gansbaai is a small, historical ffishing town in the Western Cape. The natural environments of both ocean and forest provide a plethora of creative inspiration for Johan to create his pieces of 'practical art'. The hustle and bustle of big city life was not exactly a fertile creative environment for him to truly express himself through his jewellery.


The Jewellery System appreciates the small town vibes as we can truly connect with our customers. We get to know them on a first name basis and enjoy developing lasting relationships with them. We believe it's better to have 100 customers with profound connections than to have 1,000 customers who are "just a number" with no personal touch. Quality over quantity allows us to maintain our attention to detail.


The Atlantic ocean that hugs our rugged coastline, along with its majestic inhabitants has influenced Johan a great deal whilst living in Gansbaai. It can be seen in his sterling silver ring creations of, whale tales, shark teeth, shark dorsal ffins and penguins, to name a few.


With your imagination and Johan’s design and manufacturing skills we can create beautiful unique pieces speciffic to your needs.

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