If, as a child, you ever picked through shrubbery for the perfect berry to adorn your crown of wildflowers, you’ll be able to appreciate the Andean Collection’s bright and bold jewelry made from smooth, lustrous seeds. Although they’re almost as natural as the grassy creations of our childhoods, these necklaces, bracelets, and earrings have a modern flair that can add just the right amount of colorful interest to an outfit. And even though these polished pieces are made from the kernels of trees indigenous to South America, you can feel good knowing that the fair-trade company’s mission to carve a “path out of poverty” for Ecuadorean artisans is anything but seedy.
Strung together like exotically colored pearls, the Andean Collection’s necklaces are made of sustainably gathered tagua, açaí, huayruro, jabon, and pambil seeds, which have been used by the indigenous people as jewelry for centuries. The use of these materials benefits many people in the process, from the farmers who harvest the nuts to the artisans who buff and color them with nontoxic dyes.
Each piece not only reflects the lively colors of the region it hails from, but it also gives back directly to the people who crafted it.
The woman behind the Andean Collection’s captivating designs and socially conscious ethos stumbled upon the project rather accidentally. Amanda Judge first came upon the indigenous artisans of northern Ecuador as a field researcher on the survival strategies of women in poverty.
After observing the exquisite materials being used by these craftspeople, she wanted to introduce them to the American market, while providing the women artisans a chance at a better quality of life. Judge takes great pride in the fact that each piece not only reflects the lively colors of the region it hails from, but it also gives back directly to the people who crafted it.