As Spring approaches, I’ve been thinking about adding accessories to my collection that not only look good, but do good, too. One accessories company that has affordable, chic and “green” that also help other, is The Andean Collection.
I was first introduced to The Andean Collection at a holiday gift fair last Fall. Their display of brightly colored jewelry caught my eye. But as I admired the pieces, I also learned that the company strives to create a greener planet,while carving a path out of poverty for artisans, using fair trade principles. In addition to being paid fair wages, the artisans that create lovely jewelry for The Andean Ciollection also share in the profits as partial owners. There’s even a blog that talks about what the company is doing, sharing news and information.
As you might expect, The company uses natural ingredients, including a lot of seeds and nuts such as tagua, pambil, açaí, huayruro and jabon. For Spring 2010, color is a must-have, and so my favorite new accessory to add a pop! of color to anything is The Andean Collection’s Acai Rope Necklace $39.00. It is a one-size fits all, super-long rope of what appears to be large, round “pearls.” But it’s a lightweight strand of seed beads that can be worn long, or wrapped several times. I love the turquoise one because it is such a sophisticated, go-with-everything color, but the beads also are dyed electric purple, fire (red), terra green (deep green), wine, and polished natural (bone). One strand looks impressive, but get two or three different ones, and wear them together for a true, statement piece.
Açaí (ah-sah-EE) seeds comes from the Açaí Palm from the rainforests of South America. My necklace came with a small tag telling me that the artisan who made my necklace was “Nancy,” and that she lives in Ecuador. If you read my What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review columns or this blog, you know that Açaí is a powerful antioxidant that is popular in beauty products. While you may not get antioxidant benefits from wearing Açaí Palm jewelry, you will enhance your look with these unique accessories.
The creative spark behind The Andean Collection is Amanda Judge. She has an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she studied development economics and poverty reduction strategies. Field research on the survival strategies of women in poverty in rural Ecuador led her to the indigenous artisans of northern Ecuador. That’s the economic side of the story, but there’s always a creative side, too. As a young teen, Amanda recalls spending hours with her godmother creating necklaces out of glass beads. She had a small space at her godmother’s craft tables to sell her own designs. Amanda has been able to put all of her experience together in a positive, useful, and beautiful way.
There is so much more on the web site –and all of the colorful pieces cost less than $60.00 with some pieces under $20.00. Visit The Andean Collection and add some color to your wardrobe and your life!
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