One to Watch: Alkemie's Eco-Friendly Gems

Before they met, jewelry designers Dara Gerson and Ashley Lowengrub already had their own successful collections, Gerson peddling high-end gems at Barney's New York and Lowengrub sending his sculptural creations to over 500 stores around the world.

At a New York City trade show, the pair discovered a shared passion for design but also for earth-conscious practices, both having worked in toxic jewelry-making facilities for years.

Their brainchild, Alkemie, a collection of funky, eco-friendly baubles and statement-making jewelry, was the offshoot not only of their mutual tastes, but of their eventual marriage.

"The mining of metals and gems is one of the most destructive industries on the planet," explains Gerson, who, along with her husband, says she donates 5 percent of monthly sales to select non-profit organizations.
"We didn't want to contribute to that and we loved the thought that we were making beautiful things out of what other people were giving up."

A special blend of reclaimed metals -- a mix of zinc, copper, and sterling silver -- ensures that the collection won't contribute to new mining sites, which have been called out as sources of extreme water pollution and often displace indigenous communities. Just goes to show that being stylish and sensible aren't always mutually exclusive.

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