Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Omi Woods #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Omi Woods
Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Catbird #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Catbird
Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by SOKO #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by SOKO

9 Fair Trade & Artisan Jewelry Brands Helping You Artfully Accessorize


Do you know what artisan jewelry is?

It’s everything that mass-produced jewelry isn’t. 

It’s jewelry that’s been made by a skilled (usually singular) craftsperson. It often incorporates traditional techniques, local materials, and a unique design that might even tell a story.

And it’s (almost) exactly what we’re uncovering here. 

Except we’re also looking out for brands who ensure ethical practices are maintained in their creation of fair trade and artisan jewelry

For us, “fair trade” doesn’t necessarily mean certified, as the we understand the certification can be expensive. That’s why we look for fair trade OR equivalent practices that demonstrate a brand practices fair trade principles even without the official seal.

It’s what you’ll find in the jewelry box from Black-owned brand Omi Woods, where all of the pieces tell an African story. 

While Catbird’s artisans are creating handcrafted jewelry pieces, they’re sipping on free cold brew in their Brooklyn, NY studio. And the woman owned Certified B-Corp SOKO provides the platform for skilled artisans to access a global marketplace. 

For rings and sparkly things, read on. 

For something not quite as bright but equally important, jump to the bottom to read up on our ethical and sustainable jewelry criteria.

*This post contains affiliate links

1. OMI WOODS

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Omi Woods #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Omi Woods
About Omi Woods

Omi Woods is one of our favorite Black owned Etsy jewelry shops

Omi means “water” in the Yoruba language, paying tribute to founder Ashley Alexis McFarlane’s Jamaican-Ashanti-Maroon heritage. 

They help us accessorize and admire the traditions of Africa and her diaspora by incorporating multicultural designs inspired by the wonder and beauty of the continent.

Check out Omi Woods’ range of pendants, necklaces, cufflinks, and earrings. They have plenty of pieces perfect for everyday wear, as well as those better suited for special occasions. 

Omi Woods’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Choose between solid artisan gold jewelry, 18K gold vermeil (18K gold over sterling silver), or sterling silver. The fine metals are all conflict-free. 

If you’re after something unique, they can use custom metals like rose gold, white gold, and platinum. Contact them directly for bespoke designs. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

This artisan jewelry designers gold comes from partnerships with small-scale artisanal African mines who ensure safe working conditions and fair wages. 

The miners and their communities are further supported through improved access to healthcare, education, and better living conditions.

Other metals are sourced from conflict-free casting houses that are committed to ethical manufacturing. 

Green business practices: 

Omi Woods uses these particular metals because they’re resistant to oxidation and corrosion (read: they can be worn for a long time). 

Community & charitable giving:

To honor Ashley’s grandmother (who passed down jewelry to Ashley and was her inspiration behind the brand), Omi Woods donates some of their profits to social organizations, like AllOneBlood (which raises awareness for and fights Sickle Cell Disease) and 8 Billion Trees

Available: Etsy

2. KIND KARMA COMPANY

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Kind Karma Company #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Kind Karma Company
About Kind Karma

Toronto-based Kind Karma has a different take on artisan handmade jewelry.

Technically a social enterprise, the brand employs at-risk youth and uses jewelry making to transform their lives. 

When you glance down at your KK ring, anklet, or bracelet, or catch a glimpse of your earrings or necklace in the mirror, you’ll know that it comes with a significant positive social impact. 

How’s that for good karma?

Kind Karma’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Kind Karma uses a variety of metals (sterling silver and 14K gold) combined with a variety of gemstones (turquoise, pearls, opals, and more) and other unique, natural materials (lava stones and seashells).

Supply chain & labor practices: 

The majority of Kind Karma’s materials are sourced from US and Canadian wholesalers. 

While they partner with only reputable ones, their main focus is social impact. 

By working with marginalized youth and refugees, Kind Karma is able to provide them with job experience and wages that would otherwise be difficult to come by. 

Here’s what one youth artisan had to say about their experience with the organization: 

“When I come into work, I feel a sensation of relief knowing I’ll get to hang out with the kindest people I’ve ever met and create pieces that make others happy.”

Art therapy employment gives teens the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, make friends, and get experience that will help them find future employment opportunities.

Green business practices: 

Kind Karma designs and creates artisan jewelry for long-lasting, daily wear.  

They provide a guide for taking care of the jewelry for maximum longevity, but also offer repairs.

Community & charitable giving:

In addition to supporting their small team of youth artisans, this artisan jewelry brand regularly supports other charities and homeless shelters. 

They also have “kindness days” on which their artisans volunteer in the community and still receive a full day of wages.

Available: Kind Karma

3. SOKO

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by SOKO #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by SOKO
About SOKO

What do you get when you put fair trade jewelry + Africa together?

SOKO of course!

This woman-led Certified B Corp from Nairobi, Kenya provides a platform for small artisans to optimise the selling of their wares through access to a global market. 

They combine purpose with jewelry suitable for any occasion, including bold yet elegant earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets.

 If you love the unique look of artisan beaded jewelry, SOKO is the solo choice on this list.

SOKO’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Brass is not only SOKO’s go-to metal but one of the best materials since ~90% of it available today is recycled. 

Their brass is sourced from reliable vendors and is combined with 24K gold or chrome plating. 

They make use of several materials found locally, like Ankole Longhorn cattle horns and bones repurposed from the food industry. 

This is in addition to teak offcuts from sustainable sources in South Sudan and handmade beads made by a fair trade women’s collective in Kenya. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

SOKO does its part to create jobs, alleviate poverty, and provide a diverse and inclusive workshop for artisans.

In many areas of the world, including Kenya, entrepreneurial activities are limited to local markets. 

SOKO is able to change this by supporting artisans with their virtual factory, an app that connects artisans to the team at large and provides them with support, training opportunities, and worldwide orders and payment. 

They also have a field team that overseas production and ensures working hours are limited and child labor prohibitions are adhered to. 

On average, SOKO artisans earn up to five times the pay of an average artisan in the same area. 

Green business practices: 

As a fair trade African jewelry brand, SOKO has many practices that allow their workshops to limit energy, chemical, and water use. 

They’ve also established programs to support water and paper recycling and should be ISO14001 certified soon. 

SOKO also has a few “Environmental Champions” that educate their artisans to empower them to protect our planet. 

Community & charitable giving: SOKO partners with the United Nations Trust Fund to end violence against women with a portion of select sales.

Available: SOKO

4. CATBIRD

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Catbird #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Catbird
About Catbird

Catbird got their start in a “cheap, busted storefront” that sold ribbons, patches, and iron-ons. 

Fast forward several years and they had traded in trinkets for fine artisan jewelry

Since then, they’ve played a crucial part in many special occasions, especially in the world of ethical engagement rings.

If you’ve already said “yes!” (or are loving the single life), they create a collection of other rings, necklaces, earrings, anklets, bracelets, and personalized jewelry for everyday wear. 

They retail both some of their own designs as well as jewelry from other designers. 

Catbird’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

With a large selection of jewelry, you’ll see many different materials used, including recycled or lab-grown stones and diamonds (i.e. conflict-free), freshwater pearls, and recycled or fair trade gold.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Catbird gets their pearls from a third-generation farm in China that engages in clean water practices. 

As a member of No Dirty Gold, they only use recycled and/or ethically sourced gold.

All jewelry pieces are made in the brand’s small Brooklyn studio. 

Besides providing a safe working environment, they employ a small trustworthy team who receive healthcare, a retirement plan and fun perks (like professional development classes and free cold brew coffee).

Green business practices: 

Many of the pieces are made by Catbird in one studio, their small supply chain is small (meaning their carbon footprint is small).

Inclusivity: 

For those who want ethical bling on a budget, this woman-owned business has a section for jewelry under $200

Community & charitable giving:

For truly brilliant bling, your purchase will support the Catbird Giving Fund which allocates 1% of sales (sales, not just profits) to equality-centered nonprofits. 

So far, they’ve almost contributed $1million!

Available: Catbird

5. ADORNESS

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Adorness #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Adorness
About Adorness

France is home to many artisan jewelry designers, including Adorness

But this one just happens to hail from the City of Love, too.

The Etsy-favored Black-owned jewelry company incorporates the founder’s Afro-Caribbean heritage in their creation of colorful, handcrafted and responsible jewelry pieces. 

Geometric leather earrings are her forte, but you’ll also find rings (boucles) and necklaces (parure collier).

Adorness’ Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Genuine leather and gold plated metal are used in many pieces, although some are made with recycled leather, sustainably sourced/recycled brass, and recycled African-print fabrics.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

All pieces are made by Vanessa, the founder, right in her Paris studio. We aren’t sure about some of the virgin material sourcing, so we’re reaching out to enquire.

Available: Etsy

6. NISOLO

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Nisolo #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Nisolo
About Nisolo

Nisolo is about guilt-free accessorizing. 

As an ethical shoe brand creating eco friendly purses and artisan crafted jewelry, they bring home any outfit with a bang.

The Nashville-based brand and Certified B Corporation puts the “ART” in “artisan” by encouraging us to value exceptional design over cheap and convenient products. 

They create rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets to suit any budget. 

Nisolo’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

All Nisolo jewelry is made with upcycled brass for a shiny vintage gloss. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

The jewelry is made by independent artisans in Kenya, all of whom adhere to Nisolo’s Code of Conduct and receive above-living wages (an average of 33% higher than average fair trade wages). 

Speaking of wages, Nisolo was one of the brands behind the #LowestWageChallenge to encourage brands to share their lowest wages. 

This was done in an effort to hold companies more accountable because a whopping 98% of people in the fashion industry aren’t paid enough to support their basic needs. 

They’re doing the ground-work to encourage more fair trade jewelry companies!

Green business practices: 

Carbon neutral earrings, anyone? 

All Nisolo’s emissions are offset through supporting a deforestation-fighting project in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. 

Community & charitable giving:

Nisolo is committed to supporting like-minded ethical brands through their Ethical Marketplace, which has a range of items like home goods and accessories from smaller makers. 

Additionally, they have a circular Shoe Reclamation Program that has successfully diverted almost 6000 pairs of shoes from landfills to date. 

Instead, they went to Soles4Souls to provide livelihood opportunities to recipients in need.

Available: Nisolo

7. TAYLOR & HART

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Taylor & Hart #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Taylor & Hart
About Taylor & Hart

This sustainable wedding ring maker was founded by a South African / Zimbabwean—so it’s safe to say that Taylor & Hart is all too aware of the atrocities associated with blood diamonds.

Right off the bat, we know their commitment to ethical jewelry goes beyond just appeasing a certain target market. 

Taylor & Hart’s fair trade fine jewelry is also unique in that it can be custom-made to your liking.

With their bespoke design service, you’re in the driver’s seat whether it’s creating your own personalized engagement or wedding ring. These design services are complementary and commitment-free until you fall in love with the design. 

While you can easily design the ring of your dreams online, if you’re looking for artisan jewelry in NYC, they have a store there, too.

Taylor & Hart’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Diamonds are sourced either from a lab or from manufacturers who comply with the Kimberley process, like CanadaMark (Canada’s leader in domestically-sourced, fully traceable diamonds). 

They offer a range of gemstones, including sapphire, garnet, ruby citrine, emerald, and more. Here, they “aim to work with ethical and sustainable suppliers only.” 

While they have a range of metals (like silver and platinum) available, we’d opt for their recycled gold and fair trade gold.  

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Blockchain and bling go hand-in-hand for Taylor & Hart. They’re currently experimenting with the same technology used by Bitcoin to ensure better traceability for their diamonds.

The production of the jewelry starts in China and is finished by hand in the brand’s own London workshop. 

Taylor & Hart employ GIA gemologists who have trained at some of the world’s best design schools. 

Green business practices: 

If you already have your own gemstone or diamond (maybe a family heirloom?) Taylor & Hart can incorporate it into your bespoke design. 

Upcycled jewelry doesn’t get much better than that. 

They also offer a lifetime warranty on all rings.

Available: Taylor & Hart

8. MELISSA JOY MANNING

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Melissa Joy Manning #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Melissa Joy Manning
About Melissa Joy Manning

The founder behind Melissa Joy Manning is also co-chair for the Council of Fashion Designers of America sustainability committee. 

So when you order jewelry from this brand, you’re embracing a conscious collection of pieces that do more than sparkle. 

Responsible sourcing, socially responsible practices, and designs that last a lifetime (or several) are the foundation of their earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, and anklets. 

MJM also creates some of the most eye-catching engagement and wedding rings. 

Melissa Joy Manning’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Recycled gold and recycled sterling silver get a thumbs up from our planet. The gold is available in 14k, 18k, rose, white and yellow.

Several stones are on offer, too—including sapphire, ruby, and white or black diamonds. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Your handmade jewelry will be created by someone in MJM’s own California studio or their design space in New York.

While Melissa Joy Manning is not certified fair trade, they are trying their best to meet such standards.

The metals are recycled, the diamonds are all responsibly sourced, and the gemstones are also responsibly sourced when possible (though the brand transparently recognizes there is still room for error here in the modern jewelry industry).

Green business practices:

Have an old ring you want to freshen up? 

No worries; MJM can make jewelry with any repurposed stones you already have.  

Not only do they make most pieces to order, but their Green Certified California studio also uses energy-efficient machines and practices and recycles whenever possible. 

They’re 100% powered by renewable energy.

Community & charitable giving:

MJM regularly supports local organizations and projects. 

During Earth Week, for example, they donated 10% of all sales to the Clean Water Fund. Previous partners include Alameda County Community Food Bank, Food Bank for New York City, and the ACLU.

Available: Melissa Joy Manning

9. MARKETPLACES THAT SELL ARTISAN AND FAIR TRADE JEWELRY

Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Hathorway #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle
Image by Hathorway

If you’re spending time perusing cyberspace for that perfect fair trade gift, there are a few alternatives to Amazon that are worth “stopping by.”

These ethical online shopping centers don’t make their own jewelry per se, but rather act as a one-stop shop for artisan bling made by independent makers and small brands from all around the world.

Ocelot Market

From sustainable home decor to fast fashion alternatives, Ocelot Market has much to offer. 

And their jewelry selection is no exception. 

Because they feature products created by many small businesses, collectives, and independent artisans, every sense of style and budget has an answer. 

Here’s a small taste:

  • Hathorway founder Jessica Phan brings her Vietnamese heritage to her home in San Francisco—and buffalo horns are helping her do exactly that! Making use of traditional, 400-year-old craftsmanship and an ethically sourced by-product of the food industry, her jewelry is sustainable, ethical, and one-of-a-kind (pictured above). 
  • Tasked with bringing about sustainable development by creating jobs, Haiti Design Co. is both a training and production center that now employs more than 150 Haitians, many of whom come from vulnerable backgrounds. Featuring geometric designs with a tropical flair, they offer artisan made jewelry on a budget.
  • Selling handcrafted jewelry produced by artisans in Medellin, Columbus, Fosterie supports vulnerable communities with fair wages and access to global markets. Many of the jewelry pieces represent Columbian culture and feature a mix of modern-ancient beadwork designs. 
Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages can light up any room (literally, see their sustainable lights) with their collection of globally-sourced clothes, accessories, homewares, and much more. 

Their maker-to-market story puts the power in the artisans’ hands and, as a pioneer of fair trade, you can be certain this is one of the best places for fair trade jewelry online.

Indonesia, Peru, Cambodia, Guatemala, Colombia, Vietnam, and Ecuador are just a few of the “ten thousand villages” that inspire their collection of jewelry. 

If you’re looking for fair trade jewelry from India, there are several brass necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that were made by one of TTV’s fair trade partners, Tara Projects.

Made Trade

Made Trade hand selects the best ethical and sustainable wares for you. 

They choose artisans and companies that align with values like: woman / BIPOC owned, fair trade, and made in the USA. 

You’ll find sustainable hats, fair trade blankets, fair trade scarves, and ethical sweaters on their platform, all sent via carbon-neutral shipping!

There’s no shortage of earrings, rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Here’s a small sample of featured brands: 

  • YEWO works with fair trade artisans in Malawi (in a solar-powered, off-grid workshop, no less) to produce fair trade jewelry from Africa made from recycled brass and teak wood.
  • On the other side of the world in Portland, Oregon, husband and wife-owned L.Greenwalt Jewelry uses recycled or ethically mined metals in their artisan silver jewelry.

HOW WE FOUND THE BEST FAIR TRADE AND ARTISAN JEWELRY

We already know what we’re looking for here: fair trade and artisan jewelry. 

But it’s good to go above and beyond to ensure that each piece to adorn your body is sustainable, too. 

When we unearth gems in the world of sustainable and ethical jewelry brands, we look at the following criteria:

Materials: 

Recycled metals and repurposed materials are making their way into a lot of jewelry, along with lab-grown or ethically sourced gemstones. 

This way, we know the materials were sourced conflict-free (a major concern in the jewelry industry). 

Because mining is such a dangerous activity no matter how ethical the mine, we prefer lab-grown and recycled because it means no mining was involved at all.

Supply chain and labor practices: 

When buying artisan jewelry online, it’s comforting to see specific details on wages, working conditions, and efforts that support artisans and their communities in ways that go beyond good wages (i.e. education opportunities, outreach to marginalized communities, health care, etc.).

That’s what we mean when we say “fair trade” jewelry. 

Though if a company has an actual fair trade certification, even better because it means third party checks and balances.

Green business practices: 

While we prioritized the ethical side of jewelry for this article it’s great to see many of these brands using energy efficient practices, renewable energy, and small supply chains. 

Another side benefit of artisan jewelry is that many of these unique artisan jewelry pieces were handcrafted, reducing overall energy consumption.

Community & charitable giving: 

It’s great to show off your new bracelet. 

But to tell a story about how your splurge is helping to support a charity or environmental organization?

All the more reason to show it off, we say!


FINAL THOUGHTS ON FAIR TRADE AND ARTISAN JEWELRY

Jewelry may look pretty, but in reality, it’s an ugly business.

From the mining to the manufacturing to the sketchy marketing, the jewelry industry needs an overhaul. 

Fortunately, artisan and fair trade jewelry brands present us with an alternative—one in which the individuals who make the jewelry are valued as much (or more) as the pair of earrings they create.

You probably don’t need new jewelry (none of us do really), but when the time comes to treat yo’ self, consider supporting one of these brands. 

If you have a birthday or anniversary coming up, don’t be afraid to share this article to drop some less-than-subtle hints about the kind of bling you want to unwrap!

Let’s adorn ourselves with accessories that support a world that glimmers with all that’s good.


Fair trade and artisan jewelry is everything that mass produced jewelry isn't. Traditional techniques, local materials, and unique designs that tell a story... Image by Omi Woods #artisanjewelry #artisanjewelrydesigners #artisanjewelryonline #artisanjewelrywebsites #fairtradejewelry #fairtradejewelrybrands #fairtradejewelryonline #fairtradejewelrycompanies #sustainablejungle

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