I’ve said it before (in Say Yes to Seconds) and I’ll say it again – I have no interest in looking like the twin of every eco-chic woman walking out of Barneys. I lean toward unique and edgy, and there’s no faster way to get there than with vintage, especially when it comes to jewelry.
To help you on a your own quest for unique, eco jewelry, here’s a list of my favorite designers, whose reclaimed creations range from the funky and fearless to the oh-so-chic and sophisticated:
I love (and still use) my manual 35 mm Konica, even though it’s the epitome of antiquated technology. So when I saw these bracelets made of recycled and reshaped camera parts, I smiled my biggest eco-smile. Designed by Craig Arnold of re:vision, they’re clever and fun, and available for $187 to $241 at oyemodern. (Allison wasn’t such a fan. Are you?)
I can’t resist the designs of Liana Kabel. Her “target” and “stack” collection of earrings, necklaces and rings are funky and colorfully made using pieces of neglected Tupperware. Brilliantly unique! Priced from $64 to $192, also at oyemodern.
Rebecca Ward calls herself “the wrecker” due to her tendency to break apart vintage and junk store objects and use them in interesting combinations. Her materials include recycled bullet casings, pebbles, luddite, reclaimed glass, recycled rubber, laminex and hemp. The results are unexpected, serene and simply beautiful – look for yourself at Rebecca Ward Jewelry. Prices start at $25 up to $400. (She also has a cool blog).
Sid Vintage Jewelry was created in 2004 by Nanci Bennett, a Los Angeles prop stylist. Her one-of-a-kind couture pieces are elegant and completely reclaimed. Her “hunter-gatherer” instincts allow her incredible creativity and a unique vision. I love her clustered and asymmetrical rings and chains with bits of glitz and glam, as well as her more simple items. Beyond trendy and hip, you’ll want to pass on your Sid Vintage jewels to a daughter or niece. Email for questions, prices and purchase.
Another designer with a serious eco-conscience, Tobey Pomeroy, believes “the jewelry industry is one of the world’s worst polluters”. His awareness of the environmental hazards of precious metal mining led him to become one of the first jewelry artisans to use only 100% reclaimed gold and silver. Pomeroy’s signature style is seamless, hammered gold with the occasional diamond. His designs run the gamut from hoop earrings ($1,640-$2,040) to pendants to bracelets to rings ($2,250), available in 14K or 18K gold and silver. Pure, simple, elegant and not inexpensive – but worth every green penny. (Learn more about the hazards of gold mining at nodirtygold).
Froote Jewelry was launched in March by interior, furniture and film set designer Elizabeth Moore. She uses recycled precious stones (i.e. amethyst, chalcedony, citrine) and attempts to work exclusively with Fair Trade compliant manufacturers. The three lines in her first collection – island, calypso and tudor – are delicate and sculptural. Moore’s eco and design philosophies encourage a union of body, mind and spirit. Earrings, bracelets and necklaces are available at FrooteJewelry starting from $100 to $6,000.
Another hunter of all things vintage is Jill Alberts, who started making jewelry as a hobby, going to flea markets and estate sales looking for treasures to use in her designs. Now she has a celebrity following and her pieces can be found on the cover of fashion magazines. Her eco and exquisitely feminine necklaces like this Double Coin with white topaz ($1,875) or this Vintage Oval Locket ($425) are available at boutiques across the U.S. as well as her website JillAlberts.
Kirsten Muenster creates one-of-a-kind “wearable landscapes” using 100% recycled sterling silver, reused vintage pearls and stones, as well as other re-purposed materials including bowling balls. She researches the source of all her materials and refuses to use anything obtained unethically. I especially love her rings set in sterling – the various stones are exquisite and indescribable. See for yourself at kirstenmuenster, where you can read more about her philosophy and the materials she uses.
Last but not eco-least, Sarah Perlis‘ newest collection “In the Rough” is the ultimate in eco; all the pieces are made with 22K recycled gold and responsibly-mined diamonds. A New York City native, her designs are timeless and meant to be worn day or night, on a hike or out to lunch. Her simple ID Bracelet is available in 18K gold ($320), 18K gold with diamond ($410) or sterling silver ($135), while her Rough Diamond Bangle will set you back $1,000. But what better way to spend your hard earned money? Shop at her online store.
Sara’s shameless plug: Hi, it’s your editor. De-lurk, dear reader, and leave this fabulous writer a comment. (We love chatting.) You can also share this post with friends – just click your favorite social bookmark listed below. New reader? Be sure to sign up for the weekly newsletter to win free eco goodies! You can also subscribe to any RSS feed your heart desires.