Jewelry trade shows are officially back, but with the delta variant still circulating in the U.S., many retailers still aren’t traveling—which means they aren’t seeing as many new and up-and-coming brands in person as they used to.
Fortunately, new and noteworthy designers continue to flow into the jewelry industry. And new players increasingly tout ethical business practices that include using recycled and fair-trade gold, ethically mined gems, and giving back to causes that make the planet a better and more equitable place.
Looking to increase your stable of do-good brands? Here’s a trio of covetable new (and newish) fine jewelry brands to consider:
Eve Streicker, founder and designer for new fine jewelry brand Original Eve Designs, is an alumna of Tiffany & Co. and has a background in both museum and auction house settings. For her collection, she creates wearable, elegant jewelry featuring a rainbow of colored gemstones—everything from carved mother of pearl to intensely hued Montana sapphires. Buttery yellow gold settings range in tone from Victorian-era romantic (think engraving and filigree) to minimalist. Streicker, who’s the immediate past president of the Metro New York chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA), uses recycled metals, post-consumer recycled diamonds, and gemstones of traceable origin “wherever possible.” She also prioritizes partnerships with small businesses and family-run operations.
Omi Woods Jewelry, founded by designer Ashley Alexis McFarlane in 2018, is a very chic handmade fine jewelry collection that uses fair-trade African gold sourced from small-scale artisanal mines that pay miners a fair wage to fashion pieces that incorporate African imagery and motifs including cowrie shells and Queen Nefertiti. The historic imagery—paired with the vintage-feeling patinas McFarlane achieves—make her jewels feel like they were plucked from a sunken treasure chest, then polished to a gleaming shine. The Black-owned brand also chooses one nonprofit to donate to every year: in 2019 it gave to Sickle Cell nonprofit AllOneBlood, and in 2020 donated to environmental organization 8 Billion Trees.
The Akazi Project is a playful demi-fine jewelry brand with an important mission: help women in Malawi, Africa, detect cervical cancer before it becomes life-threatening. Founded in 2017 by Megan Malone and Hunter Lambert, the brand is really a social enterprise—all profits go straight to the group’s own women’s health clinic in Mzuzu, Malawi. Each piece of jewelry sold provides a woman with a cervical cancer screening, and treatment if she needs it. “By choosing to invest in this clinic we are able to directly help the community we serve by creating systemic and generational change for women,” say the founders on the website. “We are fully invested in creating a cervical cancer-free Malawi, and we’re happy to have you join us.” The jewelry itself—cute neck chains, gold pendants, rustic-feeling ear climbers and more—is refreshingly affordable, and very much on-trend.