Why Ethically Made Jewelry is Worth Wearing
Handmade jewelry has interested me from the time I was a little girl. My father would take these long trips every year to visit his family in Calcutta, India and would often come back with a suitcase full of amazing jewelry he had bought from the street vendors. I was always intrigued by the colors, sparkle and intricacy of the jewelry pieces.
These memories have become nostalgic and quite wistful over the years. I still treasure the pretty handcrafted bracelets, earrings and necklaces given to me by my father. I have always looked at jewelry with an opinion that if I like it, it has value. It may not be made from gold, silver or diamonds but if it catches my eye it immediately holds value. What artists have uniquely created or handcrafted is another reason for me to give a second look.
As a business owner, I have met some amazing people through Fair Trade Federation who have supported and adopted the Fair Trade lifestyle and ethos for years. Each has their own story regarding their choice to support Fair Trade. One common response to assisting the need was their commitment to take action by creating a business to support the artisan with fair and balanced wages, safe working facilities and empowering families from many impoverished countries, to help break the cycle of poverty, sex trafficking and child labor abuse. The drive and motivation comes from a simple fact that they believe we are called to serve. They saw a need and wanted to find a way to solve it.
Artisans create masterpieces that are well worth our attention. For most, their indigenous roots are grounded in ancient culture and crafting skills that cannot be replicated by machines. They are skilled in areas from the time they were small. They were taught by the elders in their villages and given a skill set and learned ability to make beautiful products.
Here are just a few of our Fair Trade jewelry pieces which are ethically responsible and simply, worth wearing!
Recycled Bullhorn Jewelry Made in Vietnam
We partner with Faire Collection to bring one of our favorite handmade jewelry from Vietnam. Recycled bullhorn jewelry is bull horn pieces that have been discarded by stockyards in Vietnam. Bullhorn is an ideal material for craftsmen because it can be molded and sculpted into different shapes when it is applied to heat and water. Bullhorn is also unique in its natural color variation. Each horn has a different combination of colors ranging from white to black, brown and gray tones in between. They have an organic and rustic appeal that is distinctive and unmatched. These beauties are handcrafted in Vietnam. Learn more about the maker of these incredible designs.
Upcycled Tagua Nut, Acai, Pambil and Achira Seeded Jewelry Made in Ecuador
The Tagua nut grows from the Ecuadorian Ivory Palm which is commonly referred to as “vegetable ivory.” The medium-sized palm, reaches up to 60 feet tall, grows quickly and easily in shady, humid places hidden below larger trees. Tagua grows from regenerative pods, which emerge from the palms’ trunks. The pods are removed from the palm and the seeds are left to dry in the sun.
The drying process for tagua, acai and pambil is weather dependent. In the dry season, the process lasts a few days to a week. During the rainy season it can take months for the seeds to dry to the point at which they can be used by the artisans to create tagua jewelry. Artisans will carve and slice the nut in order to produce the beautiful pieces sold. They use natural vegetable dyes to color the Tagua in amazing hues.
About Faire Collection:
Faire Collection uses sustainable harvested nuts like Tagua, Acai and Achira seeds from the rainforest in Ecuador. This helps preserve the forests for future generations by providing alternative income for farmers who otherwise would cut trees down for logging and agriculture. It ensures women get paid fairly and can gain experience in the workshop to give them confidence to become leaders in their community. Many women help train their neighbors so they can join the workshop and better provide for their families.
Faire Collection believes the cycle of poverty can be broken. The path to prosperity requires more than higher income for artisans, it relies on a dedication to a fairer, sustainable business model that can help the current generation of artisans pass down positive social behaviors to future generations. By providing no interest loans, scholarships, educational and financial training on top of fair wages, Faire Collection has been able to help artisans holistically, not just financially.
Natural Golden Grass Jewelry Handmade in Brazil
What looks like gold is in fact simply grass. This grass is amazingly durable, strong, will not fade, and water does not stain it. Golden Grass jewelry and accessories are very light and stunning, attracting attention for its charm, shine and artisan work. Bracelets, necklaces and earrings that look like gold are virtually weightless.
Golden Grass grows exclusively in the North of Brazil in the state of Tocantins, in the region of Jalapão. It is an important source of income for villagers, about 500 families work with the Golden Grass. Its main characteristic is the intense metallic shine and gold color, hence their common name "Capim Dourado", which literally means "golden grass" in Portuguese.
It can only be harvested between September 20th and November 20th, so it doesn't become extinct. The seeds in the flowers ensures new crop every year, resulting in the main source of income for many families of the community.
In order to maintain sustainability and to contribute to the local economy, the state of Tocantins established a Law that bans any raw material out of its region, allowing only ready-made goods to be exported.
After harvest, the stalks are dried in the shade, and then sewn tightly together with strips of young leaves from palm trees by the local artisans, which create unique pieces without waste. The entire process uses no chemicals or dyes, and the grass is never sprayed with insecticides. It is a sustainable and Eco-friendly product that is helping the maker and their families. Learn more about the artisans who make Golden Grass jewelry.
About Cross Trade's Mission:
The mission of Cross Trade is to promote artisans and producers in impoverished areas of Brazil by connecting their handmade goods to customers in new markets. The relationship between artisans and Cross Trade is focused on enhancing livelihoods and providing hope.
What They Do
- Partner with families in need who make a product but have no local, sustainable market to sell or trade.
- Provide interest free loans to acquire needed equipment.
- Pay a fair price for the products that will sustain the families. Half of each order is paid in advance and the remainder paid before work is completed.
These are just a few of the many businesses that work to make a difference by supporting one artisan at a time. The goal of Trutogs is to help fund the missionary as well as the maker through selling gorgeous jewelry, accessories and more. If you are a business that would like to partner with us, we would love to hear from you! Contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you love the jewelry you see here, visit our entire handmade jewelry and accessory collection!
- Anita Winter