The jewelry is made from environmentally sustainable materials. The beads are actually made from grass. Women harvest it one blade at a time. Then the long grass is dried and cut into bead-size pieces and dyed lovely hues – blues, greens, reds, yellows, pinks, purples, earth and natural tones. The finished beads are strung into necklaces and bracelets. The Leakeys added brilliant Czech glass beads to give the colorful grass beads a little sparkle: Voila! Zulugrass!
Zulugrass is sold in individually or in multistrand, so you can literally personalize the look to match your outfit, every time you wish. The necklaces are super-lightweight and easy to wear. I took four of them to Mexico with me, planning just to wear them on the plane to test drive them. When I got to Cancun, I decided I liked them so much, I didnt’ wear any other pieces the entire time I was there! Consider how versatile these easy-to wear, easy to pack items are. You can use the necklaces for everything from necklaces, to chokers to anklets and bracelts, to hair ties and headbands. They take up less space than a tissue, in your purse.
Just FYI (and to digress for a moment): The Leakey Collection founders are Katy and Philip Leakey. They combine their talents in interior design and the arts with their love of nature to develop these products. Philip Leakey is the third and youngest son of paleo-anthropologists Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey. He was a Member of Parliament in Kenya for 15 years, a Deputy Member of the Cabinet for 14 years and a Member of Cabinet for 1 year. Philip is known in Kenya for his dedication towards improving conditions for all Kenyan’s with particular attention to the areas of business opportunity and the environment. Katy Leakey is an artist and a designer. Her interest as an artist has been to connect diverse cultures through understanding using art as a vehicle and lecturing in University systems in the United States. Katy Leakey spent time studying ancient cultures in the unexplored areas of the Amazon of Peru and Ecuador before moving to Africa in 2001. In 1964 Allen and Helen O’Brien along with Katy Leakey’s parents, Robert and Evelyn Moodey and three others, co-founded the L.S.B. Leakey foundation, lending a cultural anthropological bent towards Katy’s life long work in Art. *These people sound fascinating–people I’d love to meet.
As I already mentioned, I tried some of the Zulugrass items during a romantic weekend in Mexico (at Live Aqua if anyone wants to go to a stunning, adults-only resort). These colorful strands of beads from grass made by the Maasai women of Kenya remind me of the modern version of “love beads” from the 1960’s.
|Zulu Grass Jewel Toned Single Strand Necklaces|
|Zulu Grass Bright colors single strand necklaces|
What I like about these is that they are not only great to look at and wear, they are unique, and “feel good” jewelry because they help an indigenous population to earn a living. One strand is subtle, a bunch, a statement. The single necklaces are 26″ strands for $12.95 per strand (or 10 for $52.50). Wear as 26″ necklaces, or wrap them twice or three times around your neck, or wrist, or ankle, or wear them as a ponytail wrap or even a headband. 5% of all sales goes back to the local community of the Maasai in Kenya to help get educational and health benefits. You can also get friendship bracelets, 10 for $50.00 (wouldn’t these be perfect as a sweet 16 or other party favor)? There are dozens of colors….the choices are nearly limitless…get one to match every outfit. The founders say there are over 50 ways to wear Zulu grass jewelry. In fact, there is a video about it, below. Quite lovely, actually. Can you think of more ways to wear Zulugrass?
The Zulugrass items are the flagship item of the collection, although there are other pieces as well using natural elements like fallen wood, grass and porcelain, on The Leakey Collection web site. There are also some lovely clips that will help keep your Zulugrass strands together, although you can do that without a clasp, using one strand of Zulugrass. Check out the video, below to see how. The Leakey Collection is also available in over 1200 stores nation wide. These are perfect for a special gift and of course you’ll want some for yourself. Go ahead…they are actually, affordable for sustainable style that will make you look good, and feel good. I think these would make great bridal party gifts and they’re fun for a new graduate, too (those special occasions are coming up–why not give a gift with some real, positive meaning behind it)?
•“Like” The Leakey Collection on Facebook
Visit the Leaky Collection Web Site: .leakeycollection.com/
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*I use provided samples for most of my reviews. Learn more in the “A Note About Compensation” section of the Advice Sisters What Works Beauty, Cosmetics and Fashion Review column