If the lady in your life is into being Green with a capital ‘G’, whether they’re eight or eighty they’ll appreciate the beauty of ethically produced jewellery. Here’s a small selection of what’s available for Christmas 2012, from all over the world, created with love.
Zulugrass jewellery by The Leakey Collection
Gorgeous Zulugrass jewellery is made by the Maasai women of Kenya. Created from strands of indigenous grass dyed in vibrant colours and interspersed with hand-blown Czech glass beads, they’re threaded on strong elastic for versatility. You can wear the final article as a bracelet, necklace, ankle bracelet or hair band, perfect for all ages and tastes.
Long, strong Zulugrass is abundant and sustainable, and it grows all over the place in Kenya. The Maasai women harvest the grass one blade at a time, dry it, cut it into bead-size pieces and dye it.
The end product’s Fair Trade credentials are admirable. The business was set up in 2001 when Katy and Philip Leakey were horrified by the effect of the drought in the Kenyan bush that year. Their idea utilises the tribe’s ancient tradition of making jewellery, and the organisation’s non-factory working practices give the women freedom to come and go as their everyday lives dictate. They’ve set up various ‘nomadic’ work stations, spread across 150 square miles in the African Rift Valley, which provide reliable paying work for more than 1400 Maasai tribeswomen in the peak season.
Lotus Feet fair trade jewellery
Lotus Feet makes a wonderful range of bright, vivid, funky coconut shell jewellery. It’s created to appeal to women of every age, made from 100% natural materials. Take their cascade bracelets, in a variety of lovely colours, perfect for mix-and-matching and a great way to add a splash of colour to your fashion life all year round.
Lotus Feet jewellery is made from coconut shell, dyed with safe, high standard wood dyes. It’s made in the Philippines, which has a long tradition of using coconut shell for all sorts of interesting practical and decorative purposes. The cooperative in which it’s made is run by a husband and wife team who are dedicated to supporting the local economy, and the women who are employed there often have a hand in designing the jewellery itself. Five years down the line, it’s a strong partnership and Lotus Feet are looking forward to many more years of mutual success. It’s happy jewellery, a sentiment conservation-minded ladies of every age will appreciate!
Just Trade Jewellery
Just Trade is all about beautifully designed, carefully hand-crafted jewellery. It’s made in fair trade co-operatives from locally sourced and ethically sound materials. Their ‘Semillas' bracelets, for example, are a masterpiece in stunning dyed seeds called Taguita or Coquito, which come from the Amazonian Palm Tree, which is abundant in the area.
Just Trade’s Semillas range is made by hand by the Zoe fair trade project in Lima, Peru. The seeds are 100% safe, completely non-toxic and grow naturally all over in the Amazon jungle. The brown husk of the seed peels off to reveal a creamy centre, which is then dyed with natural textile dyes and strung on special ‘memory wire’ which holds its shape. Their stylish wrap-around bracelets, for example, are particularly popular and you can also buy matching earrings for a special ethical Christmas gifts treat!