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Lead-free jewelry


What do metal clasps, monkey pendants and wooden beads have in common? They all appear to be part of a new round of recalled toys imported from China. Around 80% of the toys in America are made in China and with several recalls under our belt and most likely several more ahead; it is becoming quite difficult to escape the recall list. Though consumers are moving toward purchasing non-Chinese made toys, the old toys lying around may someday be placed on the next list of unsafe toys.

There are several American and European companies making toys, like Haba, Brio and Roy Toys, to name a few. Yet when faced with replacing unsafe children's jewelry, few are turning to Africa. Yes, Africa. Ugandan women and men are diligently crafting beads out of recycled paper and stringing them together to create jewelry whose beauty is as striking as the stories behind the bead makers.

Magazines, cereal boxes and calendars are given new life by Ugandan men and women. Each strip of paper is rolled, glued and finished with an eco-friendly and odorless acrylic based sealant. In turn, new life is given to the bead makers by using the profits to project themselves out of poverty into one of self-sufficiency and stability by having the power to pay for food, medicine, even an education.

Together with glass beads, the hand-made beads are strung together and made into bracelets, necklaces and earrings which are available at BeadforLife.

Add color to your life or to a child's jewelry box in need of replacing the recently deemed unsafe bracelet while adding hope to the life of a woman in Uganda working toward a healthy, stable and happy life.


  • Erica 5 years ago

    Thanks for the article, Marissa! I'm actually wearing a Bead for Life necklace right now, and it's beautiful! A friend of mine got it for me for Christmas, and it came with so much information about their excellent programs. They are such a treasure as a local non-profit (based in Boulder), and I'm glad you could give them a mention.

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