When you think of sustainable jewelry, hemp bracelets and seed beads probably come to mind, but for Alberto Parada, going green is all about gold. Creating pieces that are environmentally and socially responsible doesn't mean sacrificing beauty or quality. Channeling his South American heritage, Parada is hoping to make a difference in the world through eco-conscious means—and he'll make you look good while he's doing it.
For self-taught designer Alberto Parada, jewelry is as much about sustainably as it is about natural beauty. He draws his inspiration from his travels between the U.S. and his parent's homelands in South America. Displaying this cultural legacy through the structure and architecture of his designs, he blends the modern and traditional into distinct pieces of art. His use of bold colors and shapes within shapes mimics the historical imagery of South America.
A leader in eco fine jewelry, Alberto Parada obtains his metals and jewels in environmental and socially sound ways. All the metal used is 18kt reclaimed gold from the U.S. and Parada himself is a member of the "No Dirty Gold" campaign, a group seeking to support an end to dirty gold mining practices that pollute the environment and infringe on the human rights of both indigenous people and miners. Using South American fair-trade gems and conflict-free diamonds for his pieces, he hopes to make a difference in the luxury jewelry world. For his efforts he was nominated by the Fashion Group International of Greater Washington D.C. as 2010 Eco-Chic Rising Star.
His collection varies from the delicate and dainty to large cocktail rings, big enough to attract some attention. His use of open squares and opposing shapes give his pieces a South American flair reminiscent of ancient structural design and art. Using 18kt rose, yellow and white gold, his work is outlined in diamonds and sometimes given a pop of color with one flattering gemstone. His floating collection won the 2009 Jeweler's Choice Award for "Best Design Necklace" and was a finalist in the Niche 2010 Awards for his modern collection.
Alberto Parada is available at fine jewelry retailers nationwide and is priced from $1,500-$6,000.