Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Different types of jewelry have been used for a variety of reasons. Pearls and jade have historically been used as accessories in Asia to connote belonging to the upper echelons of society while copious amounts of gold are turned into jewelry as many believe that it is a more worthy investment than something that devalues such as money.
Today, jewelry, like most fashion, has been democratized in that anyone who can afford a piece can very well buy one. While there may still be people who use it as a form of status symbol, many people today simply wear one as an extension of their individual style.
But for those looking to support locally made jewelry, here are some Pinoy-made brands that have injected a distinct character to their products — from silver jewelry adorned with upcycled sea glass to children’s drawings transformed into pendants.
Olivia & Diego
A social business based in Davao, Olivia & Diego works with mothers and victims of human trafficking to create jewelry made from fabric scraps of cotton T-shirts. The organization chose cotton shirt fabrics in particular as they have found that a substantial amount of cotton-knitted shirts just end up in landfills.
Their products include ultra colorful double-strand upcycled cotton necklaces as well as upcycled cotton stack bracelets. They have been in operation for six years now, and have since shown their pieces in Germany, Australia, Japan, and Canada, among others.
Nawa functions like a social enterprise in that all the jewelry is made by brass casters from Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, and part of the profits go to the Lake Sebu School of Living Traditions, an NGO that seeks to preserve the culture of the T’Boli tribe. The brand is mostly known for their brass bangles, which are usually bought in sets of five (₱1250) or 10 (₱2500).
They also offer pyramid rings for ₱750 and stacking rings for ₱250 per piece. You may also customize your jewelry, but it could take longer than usual, especially since their products are created by batches which are then shipped directly from Lake Sebu.
Istorya Creations features metal jewelry with silver or gold charms and semi-precious stones that you can customize. You can have a word, phrases, or sentences engraved on any of the pendants and you can also choose which font or metal finish to use, making each piece uniquely yours.
The metal plates and the bars are cut, hammered, and sanded by hand, and the words embossed on the plates are manually done on every pendant. Besides their ID plate series, the brand is also known for customizing locket necklaces that have personal messages inside them.
Based in San Juan, La Union, Tali ti Amianan is a surfer-run enterprise that uses trash from the beach and other worn out items to create bracelets, earrings, rings, and even bags and straw sleeves. The brand doesn’t make use of glue for any of their offerings, making it durable even when under water.
As more orders came, the brand also started sustainable livelihood programs in cooperation with the local government for the surfers, elders, and women in San Juan. At the moment, they have already employed 10 locals who help create their eco-friendly goods.
If you have children, siblings, or cousins whose illustrations are too precious to throw away, you can make a timeless reminder of these drawings through Bubba Doodles. Karen Sangalang-Ayala, the founder of the brand, said that she created it so no mom will have to dispose of their child’s masterpieces, and so their children can see their imaginations come to life.
You can also customize the jewelry to however you please — from bracelets with charms made from different children’s illustrations to a keychain with a pendant made from a photo of your baby’s feet.
The Ilonggo word for “nice,” Nami is the brainchild of Cath Sobrevega and Ina Tirthdas, who both hail from Bacolod. Their designs, crafted by Filipino artisans, are handmade using sterling silver. Since launching in 2016, the brand has collaborated with celebrity hairstylist Suyen to come up with a collection of hair accessories made with the same material used for their jewelries.
Most recently, they introduced a fine jewelry line, with price ranging from ₱5,000 to ₱24,000, where they offer a more premium collection of black onyx rings, stud earrings, and the classic ID chain bracelet, among others.
For the sea and marine life enthusiasts out there, Cat & Kai Handmade Jewelry may have created your dream jewelry line. Their silver jewelry collection is all made with sea glass, as in discarded glass that you frequently see on shorelines, that are then transformed into accessories.
They work the design of the jewelry around the original shape of the glass, so no design is the same. The designs are also inspired by the sea, so you can expect earrings in the shape of turtles, necklaces with dolphins as pendants, and anything else that has to do with marine life.
Moy is a jewelry brand that is “a medley between tradition and innovation of materials and techniques indigenous to the Philippines.” Unlike modern jewelry today that make use of fine silver or gold, Moy uses materials such as coconut wood, rubber bands from gum trees, and coconut shells, among others.
One of the products that the brand is most known for is their necklaces made with threads from naturally dyed fibers (starts at ₱500). The wood necklaces start at around ₱1,000 while their chunky bangles cost around ₱500.