About Our Materials
GOLD-PLATED + GOLD-FILLED
We typically use gold-plated materials for larger/statement necklaces and earrings, and we use gold-filled materials for many of our dainty necklaces and all of the thin, handmade hoops we make in our San Diego studio (Sydney Hoops, Jaime Hoops, Emma Hoops). Both gold-plated and gold-filled jewelry contains gold, but in different quantities. Gold-plated jewelry essentially has a thin layer of gold (usually 1% or less) bonded over brass. Gold-filled jewelry is 5% pure gold by weight and involves pressure bonding multiple layers of solid 14k gold with extreme heat over a core of high quality jeweler's brass resulting in a more durable gold product. The gold coating on both gold-plated and gold-filled jewelry will eventually wear down over time.
We use 14K gold for our stud earrings, as well as some of our dainty necklaces and hoops, and this is the most durable and long-lasting material we use in our jewelry designs. It stands the test of time, will not tarnish or chip and you can wear it all the time (shower, swimming, etc.).
We use recycled brass for larger statement pieces including earrings and bracelets. Brass is a metal alloy of copper and zinc and a great sustainable jewelry option. Today almost 90% of all brass in the world is recycled—our artisan team in Kenya uses materials acquired from local markets and vendors to create our designs.
We use recycled glass beads in necklaces and earrings. The recycled glass beads we source are handmade in Ghana. These African beads are created by compressing glass into a dry grain, and heating the grain so that the pieces form together. The recycled glass is rushed into a porcelain cast. The stem of a cassava leaf is used to make the hole. It is baked in a furnace causing the glass to melt together and cassava stem to burn. This technique has been used in Africa for centuries to make recycled glass beads that are beautiful, unique and sustainable.
WOOD, HORN + BONE
In addition to metals, we use a variety of natural materials in our designs like wood, horn and bone. Animal materials that we use are always naturally shed or a recycled product. The bone beads are handcrafted by artisans using recycled cow bone from East Africa. Our horn is reclaimed Ankole Longhorn cattle horn (a breed native to the Rift Valley of East Africa). It is ethically procured, recycled material, which is a byproduct of the local food industry. The wood beads we use are made by hand.