Ana Luisa Makes Classic Jewelry From Recycled Materials

The company's philosophy is a reminder that slow fashion includes jewelry, too.

Ana Luisa earrings

Ana Luisa

Ana Luisa is a direct-to-consumer jewelry company founded in 2018 and based in Brooklyn, New York. Its goal is to offer an alternative to "the opaque savoir-faire, dubious manufacturing, and retail markups" that dominate the traditional jewelry industry. In doing so, it has also managed to reach higher ethical and sustainability standards than many other jewelry makers.

Ana Luisa stands out for a few reasons. First, it achieved carbon neutrality in 2020, meaning that all carbon dioxide produced during the creation of its jewelry is now offset through a partnership with non-profit Cool Effect. Ana Luisa's offsets go toward the Tri-City Forest Project, which focuses on preserving 6,500 acres of forest in Massachusetts, and toward the Brazilian Amazon Rosewood Conservation Project.

Second, the company is on an impressive mission to use as many recycled materials as possible. All sterling silver pieces are made from 100% recycled metals collected from previously-used jewelry, electronics components, and industrial metals. Its solid gold pieces, made from 14k gold, are 100% recycled, and gold-plated items use eco-brass as the base material with a thicker-than-usual layer of gold plating to ensure it lasts for life. All diamonds are fully traceable lab-grown Swarovski diamonds. 

Ana Luisa gold ring

Ana Luisa

Spokeswoman Patricia Santiago told Treehugger that the company is constantly working with suppliers to increase the availability of recycled materials: "There is not just a single option and solution for more sustainable jewelry. Some businesses will use fair-trade gold, some will support initiatives for responsible mining." All of these efforts are supported and encouraged.

Lastly, and perhaps most unusually, Ana Luisa is careful with when and how it releases new pieces in order to avoid problems with overproduction. Santiago explained, 

"We release new collections every Friday as it’s the best way to gauge our audience’s interest in our newest designs. If a new collection is working well, we sell out the first small batch and reorder in larger quantities. This allows us to avoid enormous stocks of pieces that will ultimately be deleted from the inventory, without having found their new home."

This unique approach is partly why Canadian ethical fashion stylist Alyssa Beltempo opted to partner with Ana Luisa to create her very popular paper clip chain necklace. Beltempo told Treehugger that she was drawn to Ana Luisa's long-term relationships with suppliers.

"In a world where constantly coming out with new product is the norm, I remember watching Ana Luisa's inventory updates on their site and was really happy to see that a lot of their core styles stay the same. You can always find tried-and-true classics on their site and they don't invoke a sense of urgency on the consumer by making these styles disappear quickly. I like the philosophy of classics always being available to the consumer which allows them to save up for a high quality piece. This, to me, is slow fashion – being able to invest in something that you know you will wear for years to come."

Because we live on a planet with finite resources, Beltempo believes that prioritizing recycling materials is the key to future success. "While we can't shop our way to sustainability, we can still vote with our dollar, and these are the types of businesses I want to see thrive beyond 2020."

Meanwhile, Ana Luisa says its goal for 2021 is to "dig into our alloys and plating standards" to become even more ethical and transparent (though it already partners exclusively with jewelers using audited plating facilities). In Santiago's words, "Gold plating is very often a part of the jewelry process that is ultimately outsourced for cost reasons. We chose to work with jewelers that use in-house plating, rather than outsourcing to places with dubious working conditions." 

If you're looking for beautiful, simple jewelry with traceable production and solid ethics, then Ana Luisa is a great place to start. You can view products here