These five pieces do more than just make a style statement. Here’s a round-up of our favourite ethical jewellery brands that help good causes as well as the environment. By Karen Pasquali Jones
Jewellery is the finishing touch to even the simplest of outfits and can make an ordinary dress sparkle. But what if your earrings, bracelet or necklace could do good as well as look stylish? That’s where ethical jewellery comes in – and we’ve even gone one better.
We’ve rounded up a collection of stunning jewellery pieces that are not only sustainable, and created using the most environmentally-friendly materials, but they’re linked to helping communities, causes and the very people who make them too.
So now you can feel as good as you look knowing your jewellery is making a difference to more than just your latest ensemble…
Bullet Peace In Silver, £270 (AED1,300), jsay.com
Wearing a bullet around your neck isn’t a traditional piece of jewellery but designer Julien Riad Sayou has created his unusual collection as a symbol of peace after his photographer friend Lelia Alaoui was killed in a terror attack while on assignment.
Lelia, 33, was in the capital of Burkina Faso working on a piece about women’s rights for UN Women and Amnesty International on January 15, 2016 when she was shot twice by a gunman. She was rushed for surgery but died three days later.
The French-Moroccan photographer’s work on refugees had been exhibited around the world, and, in tribute to her, Julien designed the ‘Bullet Peace’ collection, with proceeds going to her foundation and charities that help children in conflict zones.
‘Bullet Peace is probably my most personal collection,’ the designer says. ‘The creation process was bittersweet, knowing Lelia has gone…but I hope all that wear the Bullet Peace collection do so as a symbol of hope and anti-terrorism’.
He used the bullet shape ‘to help alter connotations that always attach themselves to bullets.’ Each piece in the limited edition has been damaged ‘to show that although people may be challenged, they cannot be broken.’ Julien has also engraved the word peace in eight languages at the point of the bullet, along with Leila’s initials and the date of the attack ‘15.1’, inscribed at the base.
Each piece is made of gold or silver and part of a numbered collection of 333.
Apple Pip Heavy Chain Necklace, £118 (AED570), Little by Little
Nursing a severely malnourished child back to health is a tall order, but that’s exactly what ethical jewellery brand Little by Little – a collaboration between a cook book author and a designer – is cooking up.
The pair, Georgina Fuggle and Annabel Cox, donates enough money from every piece sold to international charity Action Against Hunger for three days’ food.
What’s more all of their collections, including the latest, Apple Pip, are made in Lima, Peru, giving work and training to local people. As well as gold, many designs use silver, some of which is recycled in the area.
‘The abundance of wasted food in my industry makes my heart hurt,’ says Georgina, ‘knowing that children across the globe are painfully hungry. We have full confidence that every penny we donate to Action Against Hunger is maximised for good. Our goal is to make a difference – little by little.’
The brand’s three collections of ethical jewellery – which are all inspired by food and created using gold, silver and touches of enamel – start from £32, (AED153)
Empowering Disabled Artisans
Multi Ring Earrings, £16, (AED76), People Tree
Not only are these earrings totally on trend, they are also making a difference to artisans with physical disabilities.
Crafted by Bombolulu, a Fair Trade social business in Mombassa, Kenya, that provides opportunities for 100 artisans with physical disabilities, the silver-plated copper and brass earrings are part of a collection of jewellery where every detail – including every link of the chain – is hand-made.
People Tree is one of actress Emma Watson’s favourite ethical jewellery sites and has partnered with Bombolulu which supports the artisans with a nursery and HIV prevention clinic.
Building Schools and Hospitals
To The Moon and Back necklace, AED 1,530, Al Mahaba Jewellery
Designed by 21-year-old Priyanka Bijlani, this dreamy necklace is the perfect way to make a style statement every night.
The Dubai-based designer behind Al Mahaba Jewellery brand, has a charity of choice, Gulf For Good, which helps impoverished children around the world.
Her latest Bijli collection is created in Dubai Gold Souq using ethically-sourced freshwater pearls, gold, diamonds and yellow sapphires, and is aimed at Millennials in the UAE.
‘Growing up in Dubai, also known as the city of gold, I’ve witnessed the Gold Souq evolve,’ Priyanka explains. ‘As we move away from bricks and mortar stores I wanted to bring this cultural trademark and landmark of the UAE to Millennials in a way they could access it – through e-commerce.
‘By creating my fine jewellery in Dubai, I can support the local economy. It also reduces our carbon footprint too as there’s no shipping involved. I believe that a triple bottom line – social, economic and environmental benefits – is the backbone to creating a sustainable brand.’
Gulf for Good ,under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, funds a variety of projects including building hospitals and schools in Nepal, Tanzania, Delhi and refurbishing orphanages in Thailand, and Cambodia.
Helping Slum Communities
Abstract Sheet Cuff, £25, (AED120) Made
Worn with a tan, this brass cuff will glam up any outfit and you’ll feel as good as you look knowing it was hand-made by a group of artisans using sustainable materials.
Made, who have collaborated with iconic fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton and Tommy Hilfiger, teach 60 women and men new skills in their workshop in Kenya. This cuff showcases their signature style – using reclaimed brass which is hammered to create a beautiful texture.
All raw materials for their ethical jewellery are sourced locally to support the local community including Kibera – one of the world’s largest slums.