For more natural-looking adornments, Kirsten Muenster, a designer of stone and recycled metal jewelry, explains the founding idea for her line: "I seek to be more conscious of how my decisions affect people and ecosystems."
Muenster’s pieces incorporate bits of vintage jewelry, fossils, stones from "rock hounds" and recycled "Fordite," which is made of multiple layers of automotive paint.
Reena Kazman, owner of Eco-Artware, also appreciates recycled materials. She likes recycled elements because they have a story. "For example, seaglass has traveled in the ocean, and that makes it special," Kazman says. "Memories and associations enhance recycled jewelry."
On her website, Kazman features cufflinks made from old subway tokens, and striking earrings made from typewriter keys, vintage Scrabble pieces and former watch clockworks.
Paloma Pottery designer Nicole Whitney uses broken glass and discarded bottles in her work, melting it and fusing it in a crackle glaze onto ceramic bases to make pendants, earrings and pins with texture and depth.
Verde Jewelry by Gwendolyn Davis is considered organic couture. Her designs combine vintage jewelry, sustainable materials and hand craftsmanship. Davis" creations include light-as-air bamboo bracelets inset with Swarovski crystals, delicate flower pendants made of mother-of-pearl, and necklaces strung with tagua nuts and seeds. Says Davis, "I intend to make a real impact in countries like Chile, and in my own community."
Buying previously owned or vintage jewelry is another environmentally friendly approach, since used baubles don’t require any additional energy to create. Moondrop Clothiers specializes in selling high-quality jewelry with a history. "I wanted to create an awareness of the impact our throwaway shopping choices can have on the environment," says owner Sarah Paquette.
With ready access to jewelry that is environmentally and socially conscious, wearable art now also respects the Earth.
STARRE VARTAN follows the paper trail before buying jewelry.