Unique, eco-friendly jewelry makes a statement
Sustainable clothing seems to gain traction with each passing Earth Day, from Stella McCartney’s high-grade vegan wares to H&M’s highly attainable Conscious Exclusive Collection. But environmentally and socially conscious jewelry isn’t as easy to come by. Jewelry is fraught with as many issues as synthetic fabrics and large-scale manufacture. Fair labor is one of the biggest concerns, and jewelry production can have a huge carbon footprint. At a time when “clean eating” and thoughtfully made clothing are in the spotlight, it’s worth considering where your earrings are coming from. I recently spoke with local jewelry designer Kyri Hinkleman, who is making strides in the sustainable eco-friendly jewelry movement.
We all know that one-of-a-kind is the answer for the individual to stand out in a sea of sameness. Many fashionistas simply can’t be bothered with the idea of showing up somewhere unless they’re wearing something unique. Kyri’s refreshing take on jewelry includes materials such as antique chandelier pieces, concrete, found metal components, wood, and rope.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist and maker?
I knew I wanted to be an artist from a very young age. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have parents who provided their endless support in anything I wanted to do, from day one. I have also met several mentors along the way who have shown me that a career in art and jewelry design is not only possible but can be successful.
How does your jewelry reflect the ideas presented in your artist’s statement?
The contemporary art jewelry I make opens a conversation about material value while challenging the societal norms of typical jewelry. By using found objects such as bits of wood and discarded components and placing them on the body, these unexpected items immediately become precious. The use of alternative materials in my pieces allows viewers to second guess the preconceived beliefs of what jewelry should be and open a space for imagination and play. I’ve stretched myself to believe that any material can be made into a form of adornment. In the art jewelry field, the possibilities are endless—it’s the most exciting thing I’ve yet to experience and by far my favorite place to be!
What do you hope an individual will experience when wearing one of your pieces?
Many of the art jewelry pieces I create don’t have a specific meaning but are more experimentations in form and material combination. However, the final outcome for me is always about emotional connection. I consider anything that is put on the body to be a form of personal expression. If I can strike inspiration and curiosity or even start a conversation with a viewer or wearer of my jewelry, I declare it to be a success.
Kyri’s jewelry can be found at the Memorial Art Gallery as well as local art shows and events. For more information visit her online at kyrijewelry.com or
Photography by Greg Hollar
Models: Rebecca Luttrell and Lauren Daggs
Makeup: Joseph Rothrock for Blush Beauty Bar
Hairstyling: Amanda Torres of Amethyst Salon