We don’t always consider the sustainability of the gems, stones, and baubles we buy to adorn our wrists, ears, and necks. Was it mined from a fragile ecosystem, sourced from a endangered plant or tree species, or taken from an endangered animal? It’s crucial to be mindful of what ethical and environmental impact our jewelry has had, which is why I support and feel confident purchasing jewelry from Threads Worldwide*.
Threads Worldwide is an online fair trade marketplace selling jewelry and accessories crafted by skilled artisans in communities the world over. Founded in 2011, Threads initially partnered with 5 artisan cooperatives and has since grown their list of female led artisan coops to include dozens across continents. The artisans learn specific skills within their coops, and Threads provides them access to a global market, in addition to working with the coops to ensure that artisans have access to education, nutrition, and subsidized items like solar lightbulbs and smokeless stoves.
Eschewing the more traditional model of charity, which will typically offer only short term solutions, Threads favors the fair trade approach because,
“We believe that empowering women to learn marketable skills allows them to support their families and communities in the long term,” says Ali of Threads.
In addition to their online marketplace, Threads offers partnership opportunities in which individuals can launch their own business selling Threads Worldwide jewelry, while also doing important work spreading awareness, and educating consumers in their communities about the benefits of shopping fair trade.
A search through their online shop will reveal several pieces of jewelry crafted with natural and sustainable materials like acai, pambil, and tagua seeds, the latter being of particular interest to me. Also referred to as “vegetable ivory”, this seed is considered an ethical and sustainable alternative to elephant ivory as it bears strong resemblance to it in both color and durability. Threads was kind enough to send me their Salinas bracelet, made of tagua seed, which is the pink bracelet I’m wearing below. It truly does have a strong resemblance to ivory jewelry and has a nice weight on the wrist.
As I’ve written about before, one of the largest threats to the African elephant is poaching for their ivory tusks. Sadly, the market for ivory remains strong despite strict laws banning the sale and trade of ivory in various countries. Hopefully, alternatives like the tagua seed will help thwart demand for ivory in certain markets.
Native to South American rainforests and lowlands, Tagua is harvested from a specific species of palm tree called the Ecuadorian Ivory Palm, which grows prolifically in the humid areas shaded by the forest canopy.
The seeds are harvested from pods ,which are gathered from the rainforest floor, or picked from the tree. The process of picking the pods from the tree does not cause the tree any harm or damage as the pods regenerate quickly. The seeds are collected from inside the pod and then dried in the sun. Waiting for the seeds to dry in the rainy season is a labor of love and patience, as it can take several months until they’re dry enough to be used by artisans to craft jewelry. Once dry they are polished, cut, and dyed for use.
In addition to natural materials, Threads artisans work with other sustainable materials including recycled metals, like the bullet casings melted down for use in their Zway earrings.
I paired my Salinas bracelet with the Indrivati necklace, which is a multilayered necklace crafted in India with brass and beads.
To learn more about other aspects of Threads Worldwide, be sure to visit my blogger friends below:
*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Threads Worldwide and The Ethical Writers Coalition