A graceful white-gold Mobius bracelet. Slender hoops glinting through strands of hair. Your name imprinted on a smooth gold bar. It’s all classic, not trendy, and retails for as much as $1,200. You’d hardly guess these pieces were made from recycled metals. No surprise, though, given Valerie Nethery’s mantra: no new gold.
“I can’t in good conscience support something that destroys the environment and affects so many people,” says Nethery, founder of LilyEmme. Just two years ago she took what was then a hobby (fashioning jewelry from reusable materials), married it with her passion for the planet (she studied environmental science at UW), and turned it into a full-time, for-profit, 200-plus-piece Internet concern.
LilyEmme, named after Nethery’s sister and muse, is just one jewelry maker among Seattle’s burgeoning eco-artisanal scene. Each jeweler has her own story, but they’re bound by one guiding principle: Keep the world beautiful, one stunning trinket at a time.
From recycled metals to repurposed diamonds, Adrienne Krieger brings activism to her minimal-meets-imaginative style. Trine 18k-gold necklace, $1,820, everlingjewelry.com
“I love that I get to make future heirlooms without sacrificing the environment,” says Aran Galligan of her conflict-free pieces. 5mm rustic cushion-cut engagement ring, $615, aidememoirejewelry.com
Valerie Nethery’s pieces not only connect on an emotional level, but on an eco level as well. Rose gold diamond mobius band, $1,000, lilyemmejewelry.com
Hood draws inspiration for her one-of-a-kind, sculptural jewelry from the organic impermanence of nature. Large tree brooch, $450, sarahhoodjewelry.com