Environmental Jewelry became an established sustainable jewelry label in May 2014 driven by designer couple Ega & Julia (EJ). The uniqueness of this label is that all their jewellery is carefully handcrafted using dry rice grain, resin brass, or silver. Having been a fashion designer from London, Julia came up with the idea of creating this label during her activity in a sustainable goods project, and together with her designer partner Ega, the Bandung based brand was born. The inspiration to their concept is detailed nature and "sustainable luxury", in which they believe people can still have the luxury look, but using sustainable materials that are not usually associated with luxury. Their products range from delicate timeless pieces to trending high-end inspired designs.
They turn rice into jewelry, it is a quite complex and long process to reach the final result but it is so worth it every single rice grain.
You make your jewellery from rice which is a fantastic, original idea. Where did it come from?
During my studies I did something called a sustainable luxury project. The aim was to create a luxury piece that is somehow sustainable. Naturally I wanted to recreate the look of a crystal or diamond, or even just something that sparkled. With that idea mind and the inspiration from cooking (which I also love doing), I started to look around my kitchen for an idea to develop. I worked with different types of dry materials such as: rice, coffee beans and nut shells. It didn’t take me long to figure out that rice was the best material to create the look I wanted to go for. Once I had established my material, it took several months to explore different techniques that finally created the end result. The initial plan was to make shoes from rice! It was only with the left over material that I actually started to design and make jewellery with. I then exhibited my project at London fashion week and people were amazed by the products I had created.
How do you go about making a piece of jewellery from rice?
It’s quite time consuming making one rice stone. First I do a drawing of how I want the stone to look like, and once I have established my idea I move onto 3D. I am very selective with each rice grain as there are so many different types I can use: long, short, thick, thin or spikey. They will then be glued together to get the desired shape and although it may not seem like a lot to do, this can take up to half a day! Once the rice stone is formed in 3D, I make a mould and that takes a whole day. After that is done I can cast it with different materials from metal brass to 24k gold. Again, this takes another whole day. I’d say for one complete piece it takes up to three days to make. Although it’s very time consuming, the handmade, bespoke product is well worth it when I see the final results.