We're fans of socially conscious jewelry not only for the handcrafted designs, but also for it's ability to impact lives. Think of this jewelry as part of the farm-to-table movement: high quality, locally crafted (and often organic) pieces that you can feel good about choosing.
With online shops, these three brands make it easy to buy gorgeous accessories that directly benefit communities in Africa. These companies employ local men and women to create the jewelry—and to hopefully then provide for themselves and their families through selling their craft to a global market. Each company strives to end poverty in Uganda and Namibia through the employment of artisans from those very communities.
We've selected our top pieces from these gorgeous collections. Revel in the bright, poppy pieces of Tuli, the classic and chic aesthetic of 31Bits, or the cool, rustic bangles of The Base Project. Every piece tells a story—and looks fabulous with your outfit, too.
How pretty are these bold and punchy statement pieces? Pair them with a simple white tee and jeans or your favorite midi skirt. We love that Tuli supports the long-term creation of jobs for women who previously had no source of income. By bringing their skills to the global market through Tuli, Ugandan women have an opportunity to support their families and feel empowered.
Every purchase puts money directly into the hands of the women who made the Tuli product. The company's goal is for Ugandan women to create bright futures for themselves, their children, and their communities.
Tuli—meaning “we are”—focuses on unity between consumers worldwide and the artisans in Africa. Their hope is that the customer’s involvement does not end with the confirmation of a transaction, but every time you wear a Tuli product “you are joining this community."
31Bits is known for its incredible value and high-fashion appeal, especially when it comes to statement necklaces. Like Tuli, 31Bits also uses jewelry as a vehicle for benefiting women and families in Uganda.
The founders of 31Bits developed a holistic approach to helping the women in Uganda who had grown up in war conditions, which left them without education or jobs. The company sets up every Ugandan employee in a five-year development program that offers health education, financial training, business training, and counseling. As they're creating jewelry during this time, the women are able to earn their own incomes and become a part of a community.
Women who graduate the program leave with an education—and the confidence and resources to continue providing for themselves. Made from recycled paper, each handmade 31Bits product tells the story of a woman who has dreams of a successful future and who now has the opportunity to achieve them.
1. Deadveli, Namib Desert, Oryx Bracelet Set, The Base Project $66 / 2. Deadvlei Gold Tone Bracelet, The Base Project, $125 / 3. Kavango River, Himba Red, Caprivi Bracelet Set, The Base Project, $66 / 4. Nomadic Cuff, The Base Project, $55
The Base Project's hand-carved unisex bracelets are made from discarded plastic pipes (you would never guess!). Their earthy, natural bangles are the perfect complement to any casual outfit.
The company works with two Kunene-based tribes, Himba and Herero, in Nambia. By providing local employees with an income, the hope is these artisans have money to put toward education, health care, and food.
Each bracelet's purchase pays for the fair-trade wages of individual artisans and also contributes to the development of community-endorsed projects in the Kunene region, such as sustainable community farms. The founders of The Base Project encourage the modern world to support the reversal of poverty in Africa—and to wear your impact with a unique and totally chic bangle.