Featured product: Eco-chic Zuluglass jewelry from the Leakey Collection
Forgetting where things come from and how things are made is easy, but deadly. The theme of sweatshops, poverty and environmental deterioration may come and go in the headlines of newspapers but although its newsworthiness might fluctuate, its reality never disappears. So it’s refreshing to come across the Leakey Collection, a fair trade jewelry line that’s transparent in its means of production and its company ethics.
The Leakey Collection was formed by Philip and Katy Leakey in 2001, and offers a wide range of beaded jewelry made by Kenya’s Maasai women and men whom the Leakeys live among.
The jewelry company’s trademark material is eco-friendly Zulugrass beads. Long stalks of Zulugrass are harvested from the Kenyan wetlands and actually grow hollow. The grass is cut by hand and is dyed using textile dyes. Polished Zuluwood beads are made of fallen dead wood that is collected from environmentally sound areas. Aside from the grass and wood beads, hand-blown Czech and Japanese glass beads are used to add color and reflectivity to each jewelry piece.
With Katy Leakey’s “design your own jewelry system,” you can pick and choose single or multi-strand beads in different designs to create the density and texture that you want. Zulugrass jewelry is versatile because the beads are strung on elastic: a single jewelry piece can be a multistrand beaded necklace one day, wound multiple times to form a chunky beaded bracelet, or broken down into fewer strands of beads for a headband.
For me, Zuluglass jewelry gives off a bohemian feel that would be right at home on the beach or the poolside. The pieces are all waterproof so you don’t have to worry about avoiding the water. The Leakey Collection was generous enough to provide samples of their multistrand jewelry so I can completely vouch that the elastic is pretty stretchy too.
The Leakey Collection is sold in over 20 countries and in 1,200 stores across the United States. Visit the website, www.leakeycollection.com, to learn more about the company or to place an order.