I’m always on the look for a brand that does a little extra. Many brands are reevaluating their impact on society and the environment, but a few go one step further. Tom’s donates a pair of shoes for every pair puchased. Bombas socks does the same. The artist and architect Olafur Eliasson created an adorable sun lamp, that is solar powered, bringing light to many areas of the world still bound by the hours of daylight via the one-purchased-one-donated model. These are the better known offerings with a mission, but I’ve found perhaps my favorite one, yet…Aid Through Trade!
Aid Through Trade brings artisanal jewelry all the way from Nepal. It is one of the founding members of the Fair Trade Federation, and they employ over 200 female artisans in Nepal!
Founder Damian Jones was intrigued by the artisans of the Kathmandu Valley during his Peace Corps service, specifically by the use of glass beads in the Nepalese culture. He visited many artisans in the various regions of Nepal, noting that they all created specific jewelry designs. He also saw that there was one important point, across all villages: the change that an income could bring to a woman’s life, and her family’s as a result. In 1993 he was able to act on his desire to create this change in women’s lives, and introduced us to their first product: The Original Roll-On® Bracelet. You can even order bracelets that coordinate with a sorority, or other customized needs (there’s even a stars-n-stripes design)!
Beautiful Quality and Design in So Many Options
Their beautiful bracelets are not the only jewelry option to help support women half-way across the world (something that is on all of our to-do lists, I’m sure). They also offer a wide variety of necklaces and earrings. I made sure to coordinate my necklace and earrings and was pleased to see that the many-available options in color and design available for the Roll-On Bracelet included a set I could mix-and match with my new necklace and earrings.
To be honest, I would have supported this brand even if the quality had been what I expected out of hand-beaded jewelry, but the quality is so much more! These pieces truly look like jewelry I’ve noticed goes for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. As you can see from the photos I shot of my selected items, they’re extremely chic. The many designs they offer for earrings and necklaces are on pointe for this seasons’ big trends. They also offer a lifetime guarantee!
I wear a lot of black in the ‘dark seasons’ of autumn and winter, so I love having jewelry that coordinates with that but also won’t be too garish against the black, or get lost completely in all of the black. Both is a regular occurance. These pieces, however, are the perfect middle-ground. Understated but with just enough design embellishments to make them pop off, say, a black turtleneck.
One final note-the earrings were quite light, which I find a bonus as earrings that are too heavy plague me with headaches, so these are a great compromise on style versus wearability.
Here are my selections:
For this handmade set, they used high- quality glass beads, brass and hand-dyed cotton thread.
For this double-strand piece, they used a mix of brass, white and black beads with a fish hook closure, on hand-dyed cotton thread. iI’s about 22″ long.
This is a 3 piece hoop with glass and brass beads.
Some of our other picks, but it’s by no means a complete list of options, as there are so many!
A Few of Their Necklaces
A Few of Their Earrings
A Few of Their Roll-On Bracelets