For the most part, when we buy clothing and accessories, we don't really think about the impact they might have on someone else. If we step into a store and see a cute bracelet or a pair of jeans on the clearance rack, we just buy them without a second thought. That's totally normal! But, considering where the money from your fashion and accessory purchases is going and where those items are being made is definitely something worth considering in the future, if only for a portion of your purchases.
The fashion industry is a huge one and a lot of products aren't made in the best working conditions and the profits from them aren't always going to the best places. But, there are some companies that put a conscious effort into sourcing the materials for their jewelry from a more eco-friendly place, paying the people who make their jewelry more, and generally making the profits from their jewelry make a difference. Some brands base their entire line of jewelry around that while others make special edition pieces that give back to a charity for a limited time and either way, we love it.
Looking for some jewelry that looks good while giving back? Keep reading to find 25 pieces of jewelry that give back to a very special cause while still looking cute!
25 Ten Thousand Villages
The jewelry brand Ten Thousand Villages was founded in 1946 and is one of the oldest fair trade organizations in the world as well as one of the founding members of the International Fair Trade Association.
The brand is a nonprofit organization that sells handcrafted jewelry and home goods such as toys, sculptures, and other items made by artisans from over 35 countries.
Ten Thousand Villages helps to provide disadvantaged artisans in these countries with a fair payment for their goods, ensure they work in safe conditions that prohibit child labor and work to have lasting partnerships with these artisans to keep them employed long term.
24 Mata Traders
Mata Traders is a brand that sells both clothing and jewelry. Their items are made by women from India and Nepal. As a fair trade organization, Mata Traders is dedicated to not using any young workers in the process of creating their jewelry and clothing.
Mata Traders is also dedicated to empowering the women who work for them and have a lot of benefits for their workers. These benefits include maternity leave, healthcare, and daycare. Along with these, Mata Traders is able to help women provide a home and education for their children that will stop them from needing to go to work at a young age to support their family.
23 Raven + Lily
Raven + Lily is a jewelry brand that is dedicated to empowering women and has employed over 1,500 women from 10 different countries around the world.
These women make their jewelry by hand and, in exchange, are provided with a fair living wage that they can then reinvest back into themselves and their families.
The women they employ are in at-risk situations such as being previously homeless, victims of human trafficking, HIV+, or living in an oppressive situation that would otherwise stop them from supporting themselves.
Raven + Lily uses eco-friendly methods for crafting their jewelry and works with their artisans to create products that reflect the culture from which the artisan came to make them unique on top of giving back.
22 Starfish Project
Starfish Project is a jewelry brand that helps to give a new life to women who have been victims of human trafficking in Asia. Each piece of jewelry gives back to these women and the Starfish Project's Holistic Care Programs which help the company to provide benefits to the people working for them. These benefits include training to help them learn the skills needed to make the jewelry or other skills within the company like computer and photography skills, counseling, shelter, and education grants for the women and their children.
Each piece of jewelry on the Starfish Project website describes what the purchase of that piece can provide one of their employees, whether it's a week of food, a week of computer lessons, or two weeks of staying at their shelter for a woman in need.
21 Noonday Collection
Noonday Collection works with 29 different artisan businesses in 12 countries to design and create their jewelry. Noonday Collection is dedicated to being a fair trade business which means that their jewelry is sourced from artisans who are paid a fair wage for their products and work without the use of child labor.
Artisans in countries that include Rwanda, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Guatemala among other countries work with Noonday Collection in order to design unique jewelry that reflects their culture.
In 2010, the founder hosted a special sale that would help to fund her adoption of a child from Rwanda and since then, Noonday Collection has been dedicated to helping adoption. They have special trunk show sales that give back a percentage of their sales to an adopting family.
20 The Giving Keys
The Giving Keys is a jewelry company that takes keys and stamps a word onto them to remind the wearer to live their life with that word in mind every day. Wearers can choose from one of the words on their website - words that include inspire, create, dream, fearless, courage, and others - or put in their own special word to have it custom stamped onto their key.
No matter what word a buyer chooses, the purchase of a piece of jewelry from The Giving Keys supports someone who is trying to transform their lives. The Giving Keys employs people in Los Angeles, California who are transitioning out of homelessness and provides them with a living wage, a steady job, and benefits in order to keep them out of homelessness.
19 PURPOSE Jewelry
The brand PURPOSE Jewelry works to hire women who have been recused from human trafficking around the world. PURPOSE Jewelry provides care for these women through their nonprofit, International Sanctuary, that includes counseling, education, and healthcare for the women they employ in order to help them restart their life and have a better future for themselves.
They have sanctuary centers in Orange County in the United States, Kampala in Uganda, Tijuana in Mexico, and Mumbai in India.
There, they provide awareness about the dangers of human trafficking as well as employment for women in danger. Each piece of jewelry is hand signed by one of their employees before it's shipped out to the buyer.
Akola was founded by a college student in Dallas, Texas who met a woman from Uganda who was caring for 24 homeless children in her own home. Brittany Merrill, the college student who founded Akola, decided to take action and chose to empower and employ women who are in similar situations who are unable to otherwise find employment in order to help them provide for the children they care for.
Akola trains women in Uganda to use raw materials such as bones from Ankole cows that they carve and paper that they turn into beads for the jewelry they design. In Dallas, Texas, Akola employs women who piece the jewelry together from these materials. Their distribution center in Dallas hires women with criminal records who couldn't otherwise be employed in many situations.
17 Global Wonders Jewelry
Global Wonders was founded in 2003 by the SA Foundation in order to support women and children who have been victims of human trafficking. Global Wonders provides artisans in Nepal for handmade jewelry that is made unique each season with designs that are typically not sold in more than one season. Artisans are paid a fair wage for their work before Global Wonders even sells their jewelry, which means that they don't have to wait for the money.
All the proceeds from jewelry sold by Global Wonders goes back into supporting their artisans as well as the women in their Vancouver program.
The artisans in their Nepal program are provided with a wage for their work as well as benefits to help them to better their life in order to stop human trafficking.
16 Charity By Design By Alex And Ani
Alex and Ani is a jewelry brand that has been pretty popular among people who love fashion for years. Although they're not traditionally a jewelry brand that's focused on giving back the way some of these other brands are, that doesn't mean they don't! Alex and Ani often have special products in their line that donate a certain percentage of their proceeds to a special cause and are designed with that cause in mind.
Alex and Ani partners with such organizations as Alex's Lemonade Stand, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Habitat for Humanity, Make a Wish, and Toys for Tots among other organizations.
15 The Little Market
Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla founded The Little Market, a website where shoppers can buy a huge array of different products created by hand by artisans. The Little Market helps design products with their artisans who are women working in countries that include India, Tanzania, Kenya, Mexico, and Guatemala among others.
The Little Market is dedicated to practicing fair trade business practices and many of the women who work for them as artisans are able to work from their homes and care for their children as they work.
On top of employing artisans in these countries, The Little Market provides them with help to improve their life like healthcare, business training, and literacy programs.
Soko is a jewelry company that has over 1,300 artisans from Kenya working for them to create their jewelry. Soko is not only available on the brand's own website, but also in Nordstrom, Anthropologie, and other retailers. Soko's jewelry is made of ethically sourced and sustainable materials and their artisans work with Soko to create jewelry that combines fashion trends with their own cultural designs.
Soko uses technology in order to keep their costs low while still providing their artisans with a fair wage because they're able to cut out overhead costs that other companies pay, which can drive up the costs of a product.
13 Article 22
Article 22 is a jewelry brand that hires artisans in Laos and pays them five times the local minimum wage in order to create their jewelry. That's not the only thing about Article 22's jewelry that's special and stands out in the jewelry world.
The metal that the jewelry Article 22 sells is made from something special: un-detonated land mines and bombs.
Their collection, known as PEACEBOMB, helps to clear land in Laos from the 80 million unexploded ordinances, also known as UXOs, that litter their land in order to help make them safe.
On top of clearing the land of this contamination, it helps to provide artisans with metal to create jewelry from and pays them a living wage to do so.
12 31 Bits
31 Bits is a jewelry company that hires artisans workers from multiple countries around the world. 31 Bits is dedicated to taking care of their artisans through paying them a fair wage as well as the conditions in which they work which is why they make sure that each workshop is stocked with quality materials and protective supplies in order to ensure that their artisans aren't injured or unsafe while working.
The products that these artisans make are made with skills that the artisans have been building for years that blend fashion trends with cultural traditions in a way that makes them incredibly unique.
Nisolo is a brand that makes jewelry and shoes and works with 27 different independent artisans in Nairobi, Kenya, and Trujillo, Peru as well as factories in León, Mexico and Trujillo, Peru.
Whether in a factory or an independent artisan, Nisolo is dedicated to paying their artisans a fair living wage for their work and to keeping their factories and workplaces for their employees safe and clean.
Their business model involves selling directly from the factory or artisan to the consumer without a retail markup or other price increase which means they can keep their prices low while still paying their employees.
10 Bird And Stone
With their jewelry, Bird and Stone support several different causes that are important to their customers. Their causes include supporting women in politics, working to end the problems they face such as women's health, girl's education, ending poverty, and helping the environment.
Some of their most popular jewelry includes the cuff bracelets they sell which have empowering statements and messages stamped onto them. They say things like, "the future is female," "dream builder," and "break the silence." On top of having important reminders on them for the person who wears them, these cuffs are made in New York with up-cycled brass as part of their eco-conscious mission.
9 Satya Jewelry
Each sale from Satya Jewelry donates a portion of their proceeds to the Satya Foundation.
The Satya Foundation supports various different causes.
These include things like Bent on Learning, a nonprofit organization that teaches yoga to students in the New York City public school system; Ramana's Garden which is dedicated to helping every child in India, regardless of their economic status, to gain an education; and The Manjushree Orphanage.
On top of donating a portion of their proceeds from their jewelry to the foundation that supports such causes, Satya Jewelry also has collections of jewelry that donate to other charities, like a necklace that donates all the proceeds to the Heroica Foundation to support the lives of girls around the world.
8 Her Future Coalition
Her Future Coalition is a brand that is dedicated to rescuing people from human trafficking and lives in which they experience extreme abuse. After the rescue, Her Future Coalition is devoted to helping them to improve their lives through providing them with shelter, with the means to get an education, and with employment to help them gain financial stability so they can have a life of their own.
Survivors of human trafficking work in three of Her Future Coalition's locations in India and one location in Thailand where they've been taught to make jewelry. Along with making the jewelry Her Future Coalition sells, some of them also take photographs around where they live which are sold on their website in prints.
MudLOVE is a company that is partnered with Water for Good, a non-profit organization that is trying to end water poverty and brings water to people in Africa who are without clean drinking water.
MudLOVE creates their jewelry by hand in Indiana out of materials that are 100% non-hazardous, lead-free, and non-toxic.
Whether you're buying their jewelry or their handmade mugs, their products are all stamped by hand with an inspirational message that helps to motivate and empower the wearer as well as providing clean water to people in need. If a product isn't perfect when they make it, they toss it back in the pile of supplies in order to melt it down and reuse it, so nothing goes to waste.
6 The 828 Movement
The 828 Movement sells bracelets that may look simple but they have a lot of meaning in the design. 100% of the net profits that come from the sale of these bracelets go to funding schools in urban areas in the United States in order to help the students there to receive a quality education and have a brighter future.
The design of the bracelet features 13 metal rings which stand for something very important - they represent the 13th amendment which abolished slavery. Each bracelet is engraved with the number 828 which comes from the brand name but also reflects the date August 28th, one that many important moments in history have happened on, like August 28, 1833, which is when slavery was abolished in the UK, and August 28, 1963 which is when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream" speech.
5 Same Sky
Same Sky employs women in Rwanda to make their gorgeous and unique jewelry. Same Sky not only employs these women and pays them a fair wage that's significantly higher than the minimum wage in Rwanda, they also provide them with training and education to help them change their lives outside of simply working for Same Sky making this jewelry.
The net profits from the sales of Same Sky's jewelry goes right back into hiring and training more artisans in Rwanda to make the jewelry to help change the lives of women and families all over the country.
In the US, Same Sky also employs women at The Most Excellent Way Halfway House who were recently released from Hudson County Jail with a job opportunity. They're trained to hand bead jewelry for a special Same Sky collection and are given a chance to rebuild their lives.
4 Pura Vida
In 2010, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman went on a trip to Costa Rica after graduating from college. There, the two of them met two artisans named Jorge and Joaquin who hand-made brightly colored bracelets to try to support their family with whom they lived in a one-room home. Griffin and Paul bought 400 bracelets from them which they brought back to Southern California where they were from to sell.
Now, artisans just like Jorge and Joaquin from countries that include Costa Rica, India, El Salvador, and other countries hand-make the bracelets that Pura Vida sells. In exchange, they're given a steady job by Pura Vida that allows them to support their families in a safe way. Along with supporting these artisans, Pura Vida also has special charity jewelry that they sell that supports various causes.
ABLE is a jewelry company that has factories in Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, and Nashville, TN where women create their clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry, and leather goods by hand. ABLE focuses on keeping their production process for all of their products "accountABLE" which rates their manufacturers on three different principles.
The principles they rate their manufacturers on are equality, safety, and wages.
Equality means that the employer actively seeks out employees who are at-risk or from vulnerable communities, such as people who are HIV-positive or homeless, and pays them the same amount as other employees. Safety and wages mean that the employees are working in good conditions and have adequate time off work, including the time they can take off for sick days or emergencies, and are paid a livable wage with benefits.
Serengetee started in 2012 when two college students bought some fabrics during their travels around Africa, Asia, and Central America. Although their product line now has grown to include all kinds of things including clothing, accessories, and home goods, their product line, in the beginning, was just one thing: pocket tees. They sold t-shirts that had a pocket made of the fabric they had purchased abroad. Now, one of their products includes bracelets made from these fabrics.
The fabrics they purchase support the artisans who make and sell them in over 25 countries around the world. On top of that, 10% of each purchase is donated to one of the many causes from around the world that support a wide variety of things.
1 Rose And Fitzgerald
Along with just selling jewelry, Rose & Fitzgerald sells home goods that are handmade by artisans in Africa. In Uganda, Rose & Fitzgerald employs 13 of the most talented jewelry makers and carpenters in order to create their products by hand and provide them with unique products.
Instead of working in a factory, the employees working in Uganda for Rose & Fitzgerald work in a house that has a workshop in it to ensure the best working conditions and worker happiness.
Instead of looking like an industrial studio, the place they work and create their products looks more like a home or studio and the employees treat it like one as they have tea there in the morning before getting to work and get to enjoy their lunch outside in the shade.