29.11.14

Eco-friendly jewelry


My today's post is about unique and unusual jewelry. Look at the yellow and black necklace that I am wearing on the photo above and try to guess what it is made of. The material is of natural origin, handmade, not expensive, light, durable, eco-friendly. Any ideas?


Well, the necklace is made of paper. Disappointing? Not for me. The paper used is not that ordinary paper that we all are accustomed but so called lokta paper that is indigenous to Nepal. It is produced from the bark fibre of the local plant Daphne bholua or Daphne papyracea which only grows at an altitude of 1600-4000 m on the southern slopes of Nepal’s Himalayan forests. Interesting, the plant has a unique feature which allows it to regenerate to maturity again within 4 to 5 years after being cut. If the lokta was allowed to continue growing past maturity it would dry up and begin to decay, preventing any new growth so, harvesting lokta actually helps nature and neither the forest is destroyed nor harm is done to the fragile forest ecology.


The production of this unique paper is easy: the fibre is boiled in ash or caustic soda solution. The softened mash is washed, beaten up to a pulp, poured onto a fine clothe stretched between wooden frames and then set out to dry in the sun. Done.
Lokta paper is humidity and insect resistant and very durable: trust me, it is not that easy to tear a sheet of this paper. In ancient times religious texts and royal edicts were recorded on lokta paper. Tibetan monks used it for their manuscripts and for printing sacred texts. Nowadays it is widely used as wall paper, bags, envelopes, notebooks, boxes, photo frames, lamp shades.


Last weekend I visited a handicraft fair and there was one stall that was crowded with girls and women. What attracted their attention were bright and colourful necklaces and earrings displayed there. It was simply not possible to pass by. As it turned out all those jewelry were made of lokta paper. I had a little chat with the guy at the stall. His name was Shri Bhushan Manandhar, and he was the artisan behind the jewelry as well as the Managing Director of Nepa Bhon, a company that manufactures lokta paper crafts.



Manandhar started making jewelry only a few years ago out of a need to utilize the lokta scrap paper that was left after using it for other products. "I didn't want to throw away the remnants and I didn't have the needed machinery for recycling either. So I started making beads out of the pieces. Then came the necklaces, earrings and other accessories," he said. Seems that it was a great idea. The jewelry is unique, not expensive, beautiful and water proof. With so many colours and designs to chose from it is easy to find a matching piece for any outfit. Personally I bought three necklaces and two pairs of earrings.



Besides the jewelry there were also other things on display: boxes, photo frames, vases and mirror frames. I was especially impressed with the vases and mirror frames. Aren't they amazing?




Look at close ups. Wow! So much work!



I was actually thinking about buying this vase



Nepa Bhon has a shop in New York too. I especially asked Manandhar about location in case some of my American readers will get interested in the lokta paper crafts. The shop is situated at 106 Macdougal Street.
This is not a sponsored post, I just really like the jewelry and the lokta crafts and wanted to share the information with my readers.
Have a nice day!

6 comments:

  1. Wow!!! I love this jewellery out of paper and the bright patterned designs! What's even more amazing is that they are environmentally friendly!!! Pity he doesn't have a shop in London!!! Love the earrings and necklaces you bought, very unique and bright designs. Apart from that also love your purple patterned top that you wore with triangle earrings :)) it suits you, plus the paper jewellery that you matched it well with!!! The vase looks interesting and unique but maybe it's good you didn't get to buy because you live with many cats. ;)

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  2. I didn't guess the material! It would be light too. Amazing that such beauty has come from waste product. This could teach others a lesson!
    I love the way you've styled them. I was also impressed with the rope work to complement the paper, and the mirror frames!!
    Thanks for letting us know about this paper. Will have to keep my eyes open for it. xo JJ

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  3. I do love the ecological approach to this jewellery...and I must admit I didn't guessed what it was made of.
    Using paper in this way is really interesting...and the jewellery itself is beautiful!

    I really like the earrings and the necklaces you have selected to buy! Great choices:) yet I should say that I pretty much liked everything in this store!

    That vase looks amazing...you know I made a lot of vases from used shampoo bottles...I just colour and decorate them and they usually end up looking great.

    http://modaodaradosti.blogspot.com/

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  4. Very interesting and oh so colorful post, Olga! Harvesting lokta reminded me of harvesting beresta - when harvested in a certain way, it also doe snot harm trees, and Russians make so many beautiful things out of it, including jewelry (do you have any?). I love the rainbow of colors, and the way you wear these pieces is fun and artful!! My daughter was into paper filigree (бумагокручение) a couple of years ago, she made such beautiful things with it too... I love this craft! Even better when made using such delicate eco friendly materials and techniques. Thank you for sharing! xxx

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  5. Paper jewellery was a big thing for crafters here in the 1970s. I did have a go at making some beads from old newspapers and magazines a few years ago and they came out really well
    Your selections are fab and that mirror is stunning. xxx.

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  6. What lovely colourful jewelery, Olga - I can see why so many women were gathered around the stall! The mirror frame is especially impressive. xxx

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