Earth-Friendly Jewelry

While participating in a recent roundtable discussion regarding jewelry with The New York Times, I found myself repeating the same question out loud: Why cant the jewelry industry as a whole make the shift to earth-friendly, ethically-produced jewelry and packaging?


While Im certainly no expert on the topic, I wanted to provide a lil roundup of the brands/styles of jewelry I wear and why, since jewelry is such a popular holiday gift.


I discovered CLED via Ashlee Piper, the author of Give a Sh*t: Do Good, Live Better, Save the Planet. In forming their brand, CLED aimed to leverage high-quality existing materials to create upcycled and beautiful pieces.Their pieces are hand-formed from recycled glass, a natural material mainly composed of sand Its a renewable resource that can be recycled endlessly. This upcycled material can be made without causing harm to animals or the environment. CLEDs pieces arrive in their minimal and elegant circular box, which is made from post consumer contents.


On recent occasions, Ive been able to chat with the delightful Nikki Reed about her recycled jewelry line, Bayou With Love. This small company uses recycled gold, mainly sourced from used technology recovered and responsibly extracted from tech recycling programs. (Only 12.5% of electronics are responsibly recycled globally, and in phones alone Americans throw away more than $60 million in gold and/or silver every year.) Most of the pieces are out of my spending zone, but I do have and very much like this recycled brass scarf clip. (I pair it regularly with my scarves from Late Sunday Afternoon for every scarf they sell, they create and gift a handmade blanket to children in the foster system in Los Angeles.)


Ascots can be worn in a myriad of ways around your neck, on your wrist, in your hair, on your bag/pack/basket, and around the brim of your hat. And while theyre clearly not jewelry, they can be styled as such, which is particularly nice when you have a small child or baby who likes to tug on and taste everything. Our friends at Late Sunday Afternoon use locally sourced deadstock fabrics to create their ascots in-house. Any scraps are used to stuff handmade dog beds that they then donate to animal shelters.


Whats better than working with what we already have, rather than creating something entirely new? Vintage pieces, or jewelry thats hand-crafted with vintage elements, can be such striking one-of-a-kind finds that we can feel good about wearing. For example, Rack and Ruin does a beautiful job of incorporating old components into their modern designs. One of my favorite pieces is this handmade bracelet, which is set with a vintage coin.


I am drawn to wooden jewelry, such as the handmade works of Sophie Monet (who I first discovered via my friends at Midland). Sophies pieces are works of art that can withstand the strong grip of my son, and not get trapped in the wild nest of my hair.


I have a handmade, eco-friendly tin necklace pendant that contains a piece of dandelion and a magnifying glass, and 2 bracelets that showcase real dried and pressed greenery. I acquired all of these not only due to their appearance, but also for my son. When we are out and about together and he starts to get impatient with whatever were doing, these designs keep him occupied for a few minutes more, and are durable and safe in his lil hands. I also have some sea glass pieces from the beachcombers at Sea & Glass, as well as a shell pendant that my mother found at a arts festival in Gainesville, Florida.

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These are the three rings I wear daily my wedding band (which was my grandmothers), my engagement ring (which was Adams grandmothers), and a handmade ring by Indra West bearing the name of my son. My favorite source for such pieces (if theyre not handed down directly) is Etsy.


Note: Select photos above were taken at/for Midland by Ashley Randall earlier this year as part of a contributor blog post.

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