Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ethical Jewelry- let the debate begin!

The following is a comment I posted to a blog posting created on AdChop - divining the moment regarding the their opinion of Silpada and Lia Sophia, companies that sell jewelry through women who hold jewelry parties (think Tupperware) in their home.


I am a woman jeweler who designs and creates jewelry entirely myself. I do not assemble mass produced parts (except the occasional chain, earring posts or necklace catches) or use beads made in 3rd world countries and try to dupe my customers into thinking it is 'handmade'. I believe it would be unethical to conduct business this way plus the market is flooded with this Silpada-type crap it destroys America's true innovative and creative entrepreneurs.

Look I'm all about 'Gurl Power' and women taking charge of their lives this is part of the reason why I make and sell my own jewellery. BUT my question is has anyone even bothered to ask where this mass produced jewelry is 'handmade' and is it made by little hands and/or underpaid workers in 3rd a world country? I bet it is, most everything imported into this country is. The 1st world is spoiled and needs to stop this cycle.

Shop local, support businesses that are trying their best to source things locally or at least within America, start discussions with your friends and protest that women earn less then men in this country and are being exploited, start a consumer group and demand poor women just like those in the US or who are maybe even worse off, are earning even less than you get better working conditions and pay. Ask yourself " do I need this bracelet in 99 colors that is cheap and will likely break in 6 months from somewhere like target or Silpada? Why not invest in one really nice piece of jewelry that is actually handmade locally, is one-of-a-kind and is something our sons and daughters will want to pass on generation after generation.

Encourage discussion, fair wages, creativity and obliterate exploitation!

Please visit: "

To read AdChop's 1st blog posting follow this link
To read AdChop's 2nd blog posting visit this link



Anonymous said...

Buying handmade quality products, I feel not only displays your individuality, creates a memory of the process of interating with the maker, which therefore personalises the item. Within our throw away culture from the 60's, and the rebellion of the hand me downs, the wheel is turning yet again. Back to our reused, recycle, revamp of quality pieces that are handed down, or quality timeless made pieces bought in the 21st century.

T Longmore said...

I couldn't agree more. I am so pissed off by supposedly educated women inviting me to these parties in order to sell me this crap without having any idea where it is made and under what conditions. What a huge waste of resources. I queried both Silpada and Lia Sophia via their websites, and received no reply. Big surprise. Perhaps an actual letter will be harder to ignore.

If people need some party-job reselling stuff, couldn't they at least sell fair trade jewelery?

Personally, I think its time we all started buying only what we really need, and buying second-hand or made under ethical conditions, preferably local.

For those few unnecessary but nice-to-have items: buy real - meaning something handmade, local, with a connection to the maker and the place it was made.

Isn't that what souvenirs and gifts used to be, before mass-produced everything?

skowood said...

Let the revolution begin!

Anonymous said...

Thank You. Very informative text.

It is all too easy to forget your local artist for a purchase that will last life-long.

skowood said...

Thank you for stopping in and your comment...not only does working with a local artist last a lifetime but it also boost the local economy. As much as I support helping people in other countries we often forget there are creative people struggling in our own.


Susan said...

I totally agree with you. I, too, am a metalsmith. I hand fabricate all of my work (with the exception of chains, ear wires, etc.) and am appalled that people are selling this crap. Thanks.

skowood said...

Thanx for stopping in and joining the discussion Susan.

I've just finished writing a book on jewerly made from found objects/recycled materials. It is due out in the autumn you should check it out.