As lovers of French style, delicate jewelry is perpetually on the top of my list of want-to-have pieces. But the good stuff is typically also on my too-expensive-to-have list. Fast-fashion alternatives might be easy on the wallet, but you usually get what you pay for—and they may come from places with questionable manufacturing practices.
But what if you could clasp the chain of your favorite necklace knowing exactly where it came from and who made it—without breaking the bank?
You might already recognize Nisolo for its smart leather shoes.
Determined to expand its social impact, founders Patrick Woodyard and Zoe Cleary have broadened the Nisolo brand with this stunning jewelry line of upcycled brass and bone pieces. Based on the principle of offering quality goods that allow you to shop ethically without sacrificing style, the brand has created a standout collection.
To bring their vision of radically transparent jewelry to life, Woodyard and Cleary partnered with Raymond and his wife Miriam, who have been making jewelry with their team in Kenya for twenty years. On the company’s website, Raymond, a master jewelry maker, describes the jewelry production process at Nisolo: “I don’t know one product we make where only one person touches it from start to finish. For example, the chain requires many hands touching it, and the same applies to casted pendants. You’ll find one person molding, another casting, another sanding. Teamwork here is required.”
The opportunity made available to those on the team is also invaluable. Andeto, a jewelry maker, describes his experience with the brand as one in which he has “gained discipline and taken ownership” of his job. Testimonies like these remind consumers that there are peoplebehind each product they purchase. Nisolo means “not alone” because behind every product we wear is a name and a face.
“The wire used for chain necklaces are sourced from shops in town. We use recycled materials like water taps and padlocks for the casted pieces. For bone, we use cow bone, which is also recycled in that after people take the meat, we use the leftover bone. Our sourcing impacts local businesses. There are people who collect recycled brass and bone, so we directly impact them.”