Materials : Transparency
At Mi Ossa we do our best to make jewelry and objects whose origins we can be proud of. Our diversity of materials requires a diversity of standards.
To vet our materials we ask three questions:
- Is it a sustainable material?
- Do we know the workers are treated well and paid fairly?
- Is it made in the USA or locally?
There is a balance in all things: if a material fully meets at least one category we will introduce it into our designs.
We return often to the compass question of “how can we do the most good?” We care about the stories behind the materials we source and the positive impact these choices have on both our local community and the communities of artisans we work with abroad.
Gold and Silver
Mining for new gold is entangled in environmental and social justice issues. To avoid adding to the demand for newly mined gold, we use as much recycled gold as possible. We have carefully sourced recycled 12k white gold and 24k yellow gold leaf from a Midwest company for use in our gilding process. We work with a US plating company that uses recycled metals in the plating process.
Horn and bone – Port-au-Prince, Haiti
There is inherent beauty in natural materials. Our artisan partners in Haiti skillfully transform cow horn and bone, with careful shaping and hand polishing, into materials with a history and soul that we incorporate into Mi Ossa pieces. Horn and bone are sustainable materials, used for adornment for thousands of years.
Recycled Metal – Noailles, Haiti
We collaborate with ateliers in the historic Noailles metalworking community near Port-au-Prince. The artisans are expertly practiced in chiseling designs on steel, repurposed from oil drums. This low environmental impact, individual manufacturing means the hand of each artisan is apparent in the execution; each design follows a template but each one is unique.
Organic Seeds – El Salvador
Utilizing organic seeds from well-managed resources, an ethical fashion company in El Salvador create hand-knotted bead strands for us. Run by women and employing women, Lula Mena is making lasting changes in several communities near San Salvador.
Leather – USA, France, Mexico
Our deer leather comes from an artisan tannery that works with conscientious hunters in the Hudson Valley and uses only specialized vegetable tannins. The structured, oiled cow leather used in our clutches and bracelets is vegetable tanned English Bridle. The soft, luxurious Nubuck of our other handbags originates from an artisan French tannery, working in collaboration with a nearby Virginian leather company. The leather cord you find in our bags and jewelry is sourced from a US industry leader that employs vegetable tannins.
The most common vegetable tannin is bark, an environmentally safe alternative to chromium.
Many of our designs employ the traditional technique of lost wax casting. We begin the process at our studio in Charlottesville, Virginia with the creation of wax models, either from original, meticulous hand carvings or from ancient artifacts. They are cast in USA in bronze and 50% recycled sterling silver.
Lapis – Kabul, Afghanistan
Turquoise Mountain is a non-profit seeking to revive Afghanistan’s traditional craft techniques, regenerating the old city of Kabul, and spurring the sustainable development of the Afghan crafts industry. These artisans hand cut custom Lapis for Mi Ossa pieces.
Soapstone – Leogane, Haiti
Soapstone artists based in Haiti hand carve our soapstone pendants into custom designs. Soapstone occurs naturally in both eggshell and jade green shades and is abundant in six rivers surrounding Leogane, the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake.
Sandalwood – Mysore, India
Our sandalwood comes from a family-owned company in Mysore, India. Alongside the intricate wood statue carving their workshop specializes in, artisans hand turn the beads we use in our jewelry designs. The wood is aromatic; in the workshop shavings are gathered to be made into sandalwood incense.
Chain, Clasps & Components – USA
We source chain and findings made primarily in the United States. All of our in-house made jewelry components are created with Harmony Fair-Mined gold and recycled sterling silver sourced from a Virginia company.
Mi Ossa team with Nathalie Tancrede & Aviva Shulem of Artisan Business Network and Christelle Paul of Atelier Calla in Petionville, Haiti.
Nora Brookfield, Co-Founder, design, sales / email@example.com 434-249-1251
Shannon Worrell, Co-founder, design, marketing / firstname.lastname@example.org 434-284-3923
Rebecca Perea-Kane, Production Manager, design / email@example.com
Clay Witt, design
Photography by Meredith Coe / Shannon Worrell / Jen Fariello
ELOISE, Charlottesville for Mi Ossa collection
PETIT BEBE, Charlottesville for Osita collection
FINCH, Charlottesville for Osita collection
RODEO, Jackson Hole, WY
QUIRK GALLERY, Richmond, VA
ELIZABETH STUART DESIGN, Charleston, SC
FRENCH TWIST, Three Oaks, MI
SCARPE, Telluride, CO
SIP SIP, Harbour Island
ATLANTIC, Nantucket, MA
SLOAN, Charlotte, NC
HOLIDAY & CO, Maui, HI
SAGE SPA LIVING, Boseman, MT
HUNTER COLLECTIVE, Atlanta, GA
PETER ELLIOTT, NYC
JUDY MAXWELL HOME, Chicago, IL
BLOOM, Denver, CO
RIZIKS, Washington DC