The Andean Collection artisans handcraft nuts (like the Tagua nut above, which was transformed into a unique bracelet) and seeds from sustainable plants in the South American rainforest, into beautiful jewelry, thereby supporting their families with a fair income. (The tagua pods have to be removed from the palm and dried for 3-4 months before they are ready to carve!)
Pambil seeds come from the Pambil Palm in South America, a hearty tree whose fruit, approximately one inch in diameter, contains the seed that is removed and transformed into lovely jewelry like the above bracelet.
“Amanda Judge founded Andean Collection in the fall of 2008 after interviewing women in rural Ecuador about their survival strategies in the face of poverty. The project was intended to result in an academic paper that presented potential programs to reduce poverty in these areas. As it turned out, instead of just writing about these potential projects, she decided to turn her ideas into an employment generating social enterprise.
“Amanda learned through the interviews that Ecuador has a long history of creating jewelry out of rainforest seeds. Her research also showed that opening the global market for jewelry made out of these natural materials would bring sustainable change to these communities…. Without a lucrative market to sell their jewelry, many artisans had to forgo meals to feed their children. They needed a better option…. This was motivation enough to develop a project that would bring employment to these communities.” Read the rest of the story here.
[Thanks to FairTextiles for introducing me to The Andean Collection's website and blog!]