The Latest Trend in Jewelry Is Sustainably Sourced Wood

The Latest Trend in Jewelry Is Sustainably Sourced Wood

(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- Of late, women who have a taste for bold jewelry have turned to the high-low mix of precious gems and gold set in wood, leaving heavier metal pieces at home. It’s in part because of the time of year. In sunnier weather, “clients are attracted to wood’s warm luster and light weight,” says Ward Landrigan, chief executive officer of jewelry maker Verdura.

But wood is not just for summer; designer Katey Brunini points out that it is “a neutral that works as well with winter whites as a summer caftan.”

It’s also eternal. “We can see it in artisanal crafts going back 6,000 years,” Brunini says. And unlike precious metals and mined stones, it’s naturally renewable: Her sources for woods such as Costa Rican cocobolo follow rules from the Forest Stewardship Council, an international nonprofit which promotes responsible forest management. As for Brooklyn-based designer Mark Davis, in addition to sustainable American walnut and African blackwood, he says he reclaims timber from old buildings because it’s a “dense wood that lived its life previously.”

Wood in jewelry can give you more bangle for your buck, too. “Our customer can get a piece that is much larger,” says Davis, who says he started working with the material after Sept. 11, when luxury retail slumped. “The buyers at Barneys pushed for something to help sales.” Cristiana Vigano, U.S. vice president of Italian jeweler Vhernier, says that almost all of her clients say a wood piece quickly “becomes the most versatile and wearable piece of jewelry they own.”


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