Maker Stories

Golden Grass Jewelry

June 21, 2011

Add a touch of gold to your summer wardrobe with sustainably made golden grass jewelry.

Environmental, social, and corporate sustainability inspired social entrepreneur Cristiane Kimura to create golden grass jewelry.  By using traditional creative designs, fair trade artisanship, and local and sustainable materials, she is able support the local Brazilian environment and economy.

Cristiane was struck by the, “marriage of craft, sustainable mission, and sheer beauty,” embodied by the natural grass material used to produce our golden grass jewelry line in the remote village of Jalapão, Brazil.

Cristiane said, “The first generations passed on the techniques from mother to daughter. Present-day artisans have adapted these weaving techniques and have organized themselves around producer-owned associations to maintain the region’s cultural legacy, empower themselves and enhance the living conditions of their families.”

“The earnings from golden grass products have provided a steady source of income to the women of the region, who didn’t have working opportunities because the available activities such as farming, road construction and house building were typically temporary and carried out by men,” said Cristiane. Women have been able to improve their living conditions while working from home, which allows them to work at their own pace and care for their families.

Additionally, “the activities around golden grass have mobilized all sectors of society: the local government, non-governmental institutions, and the communities of Jalapão,” said Cristiane. Together, they work together to ensure best sustainable practices are used throughout the production process.

Artisans take inspiration for the jewelry from the beautiful landscapes around them: rich fauna and flora, dunes, and waterfalls. The Vine bangle, for example, was inspired by the local liana plant, a vine that twists around trees.

The pieces are made from the delicate stem of the flowering plant Syngonanthus nitens. Each stalk is handpicked during the harvest season, which occurs only in the fall. The stalks are dried in the shade, and then sewn tightly together with a natural hand-spun thread. The entire process uses no chemicals, dyes or coatings so that the beauty of the raw material can be appreciated.

Cristiane has a few suggestions for styling the golden grass accessories:  Wear it alone with a black dress and you instantly have a refined, simple chic look.  Take for example our bangles.  The golden shine of the bangle will be highlighted in contrast with the black, giving it a sophisticated look.  Combine the golden grass jewelry with vivid colors like tomato-red or turquoise-blue and you have a vibrant, daring style.  Or you can mix and match the golden grass bangles with other colorful bangles made from different materials and have a cheerful look perfect for a weekend promenade.

To get in on this golden opportunity and support sustainable jewelry, consider our selection of golden goods:  we’re proud to carry the Wide Bangle ($40), Round Necklace ($36), and Chain Earrings ($40).

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