My love for clothes runs deep. It truly does although I'm my almost everyday white-t-shirt, jeans-(faux)-leather jacket-sneakers-and-tote style probably doesn't always express that. But what I love even more than a good pair of old school jeans and an 80s leather jacket is jewellery. It's a perfect add-on to spice up any outfit and it just somehow reflects, well me, way better than any clothing item ever could (or maybe I just haven't found that match made in heaven kind of clothing item just yet).
But just like with clothing, when it comes to jewellery I don't just fall for looks. I mean, sure, I love a nicely made ring or a necklace but who made it? Who owns the brand? What’s the story behind my piece (and the brand itself)? Were the stones mined responsibly? Are the metals and the stones part certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council?
And since my favorite jewellery brands have quite a few boxes to tick, there aren’t that many that I can say I support wholeheartedly and don’t mind splurging on a piece now and again as I know it supports all my values and actually adds value to my life. I know that might seem a bit extreme, but if I’m to spend my money on something, I want it to be a reflection of my beliefs, not just another pretty thing.
So, without further ado, here are my 3 favorite jewellery brands that live up to all of the criteria.
1. Le Lou Ula
Le Lou Ula was founded in 2013 by Bramble Lee Pryde as a brand that encompasses handcrafted demi-fine silver and gold adornments for the body as well as vessels for the personal ritual. Le Lou Ula now houses fine art, design and functionality under the same atelier and is a part of the slow fashion movement as every piece of Bramblee’s work is designed, forged, cast and finished in her studio, without any outsourcing.
I first stumbled upon Le Lou Ula a few years back when it was still Wolf + Sadie (renaming and rebranding happened in 2016), inviting me into the world of contemporary jewellery with its minimalistic but completely unique designs. The brand clearly blurs the lines between art and jewellery as its pieces are nowhere near “just” body adornments.
Photography: Essentia Images and Bramble Lee Pryde
Model: Freya Chau
Aletheia & Phos is one of the brands that I’ve been following for years now and with each new collection the admiration for Alicia’s work keeps growing in direct relation to the amount of their items I now own.
The theme of connection lies at the heart and soul of this brand, with each piece designed with sentiment, intention and story behind it. Just check their The Protection Collection that symbolizes the feminine, inspired by Greek and Italian mythology, or I Carry Your Heart Collection that is hand-made to be shared with someone special who you want to stay connected to, wherever they are in the world.
Not only are beautiful storytelling through copywriting and amazing products the only signature characteristics that define the brand, Aletheia&Phos is also doing its part when it comes to revolutionising fashion by ensuring each piece is handcrafted to the highest quality. Not only that, all the materials used in their products are certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council, whose mission is to promote responsible, ethical, social and environmental practices throughout the jewellery supply chain.
Photography: Natalie McKain
Model: Roberta Pecoraro
Styling, Art Direction & jewellery design: Alicia Millan
In this patriarchal society there are many things that light me up when it comes to women’s rights and equality, one of them being women’s art and celebration of femininity, which Elppin (spelled nipple backwards), a brand that challenges the notion that breasts should be veiled from the public eye, is so damn good at. Their collection of abstract nipple motif comes in a few different forms (from earrings to brooches) and the first time I saw their pendant, I knew that the next time I’m splurging out on a jewellery statement piece, it’s definitely going to be that one.
All Elppin jewellery is hand made by a master jeweller in Bali making each piece unique and slightly different—like our breasts—and comes packed in baskets that are made of woven natural fibre while using tencel, an ecological fabric, dyed with natural indigo for the cushions inside the baskets.
Besides supporting local makers and using sustainable materials for their packaging, the brand is no stranger to giving back as 10 percent of all sales is donated to Planned Parenthood in the USA and Bumi Sehat, an acclaimed free natural birth clinic in Bali. Talk about the brand walking its talk.
Photo: Felisha Tolentino, Krisna Overton
Model: Allegra Carpenter