Recycling Paper to Jewelry: An Art Form You Can Wear

My first time in Africa, in 2010, I saw many necklaces that looked like this:

I bought a blue one for my mother near Johannesburg – excited because the man who sold it to me mentioned it was made out of newspaper. (She works in that industry.) After seeing her wear the necklace for the past two years, I decided to buy my own while abroad in March to Rwanda and Tanzania. At the Kigali airport, as we were awaiting our flight, members of the trip went shopping at the airport gift store to find those special items that we had not seen elsewhere. This is where I bought MY paper necklace (pictured below) as well as a Rwandan nativity set (which will be in a blog post closer to the holiday season).

While my necklaces were bought in Africa, women in other parts of the world also know how to make such creations. One such example is the Mujeres Cambia (Women Are Changing) organization in Ecuador. The women in Mujeres Cambia typically take 15 minutes to complete one bead – and an average of 8 hours to complete a long necklace. Some of their artwork is pictured below:

The amazing thing about Mujeres Cambia, in contrast to the booths where I bought my necklaces in Africa, is that you can purchase their products online. By filling out a request form, they will give you an estimated cost for shipping, a color preference, etc. for their products ranging from earrings and bracelets to long necklaces that can be twisted to become double strand items.

After poking around their website, I have already bookmarked it (and now hope that I remember to do this later) as the gift idea for women in my family this upcoming winter season. For women who like jewelry and from a female who is all about international products and design, it seems like the perfect gift idea! (Mom, if you’re reading this, please forget this before Christmas time!)

I encourage you to check out their website, where you can read the stories of the artists or make your own purchases at:

Additionally, a great video to watch about their organization can be found at this blog address: