Cheeky Monkey Eco-Jewelry


by Ariston Anderson

We've all heard about conflict-free diamonds but what about the other hazards of making jewelry? Cheeky Monkey Jewelry takes the ethical production of jewelry a step further by using recycled materials. Taking into consideration that the average wedding band requires moving an estimated 20 tons of earth to mine enough gold for the small band and that the world currently only has enough gold and silver to handle worldwide demand for the next 40 years, there's no need to mine for more, according to designer Simon Cardwell. His goal is to create "beautiful jewelry that doesn't cost the earth."

Back when Cardwell, a former high-end jewelry designer, started the eco-jewelry line three years ago, he was one of only a few companies who offered designs made of recycled silver and gold or fair-trade gems. Now there are around 50 green jewelry companies today and Cardwell loves the competition. "This is a great thing," Cardwell tells CH, as it shows that wholesale and retail stores believe enough in our new green culture to not only change their own attitudes but more importantly, to show consumers the importance of living a greener life."

The lovely pendants are a favorite of the Hollywood crowd including Drew Barrymore and Nelly Furtado. And Cardwell's incorporated several concepts from his high-end line into this affordable line, such as an adjustable chain that can dangle down the back. Choose a piece from the endangered collection or the nature collection: a wild mountain cat, gold shark, African elephant, king cobra, or white seal, just to name a few.

The gold, funny enough, is recycled from computer circuit boards. With 70% of the waste thrown into landfills in America being from electrical goods, it's an apt use of discarded product. Turns out there's a nice way to wear your old electronics with pride.

Prices range from $40 for a small silver pendant to $350 for a large 10K gold necklace and can be purchased from Cheeky Monkey.