Charitable Gift Giving

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Gifts from India that help Indian Artisans and Children

June 25th, 2012 · No Comments · Children's Charities, Developing Areas, Fair Trade

I had the pleasure of hearing from Linda at Sitara Collections (Sitara is the Sanskrit word for “Star” or “Morning Star”). Sitara is a remarkable site that sells jewelry, leather goods, accessories, Ayurvedic beauty supplies, and other gifts directly from India.

Seems that everywhere you go, you see low-quality, mass-produced imitation jewelry in department stores. Sitara bucks that trend and offers hand-crafted jewelry created by exceptional local artisans in India. For example, here is a stunning Amethyst necklace, one of their more popular items.

amethyst necklace from india

Surf through their earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets and you’ll find all kinds of amazing jewelry. What’s more amazing is that these aren’t mass-produced pieces made using the cheapest materials and the cheapest labor to flood the market. To the contrary, as Sitara puts it they’re the work of local artisans, who are paid fairly, and who combine their traditional craftsmanship with a modern sensibility. Most of the jewelry pieces are made from .925 sterling silver and include precious and semi-precious stones.

I had the pleasure of taking a closer look at some of their leather goods. This one is called the Bird on a Twig Journal.

cruelty-free leather journals

The cover on this is really more beautiful in real life than this picture or even the picture on their Web site. The scene is of a bird on a twig against a deep red background with pistachio green and burnt orange. If you’re looking for a very special book to keep a journal in, this is a great one.

What’s more, this book is also produced under fair trade principles by an artisan cooperative in Rajasthan, India. The paper in the book are made by recycling scraps of waste textile, meaning that no trees were destroyed to make the book. And yet the paper is beautifully textured, even more so than journals costing a lot more and not nearly as eco-friendly.

blank journal

Here’s a close-up.

paper texture of sitara journal

Something else that’s nice about the leather cover of this journal is that it’s “cruelty free”. This means that instead of an animal being slaughtered for its leather, the leather used here was taken from an animal who passed away from natural causes. Good for animals, good for trees, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a “friendlier” journal.

And as if that weren’t enough, one remarkable thing that Sitara Collections does is donate a portion of net proceeds to underprivileged Indian children. Among other things, these kids are given the opportunity to learn English. So far, 75 children have benefited from this program, and hopefully there will be more to come!

Sitara was kind enough to send me these beautiful-looking passport holders, also produced with cruelty-free leather. They’re the perfect size and weight to hold your passport.

leather passport covers

If you’ve read this far, here’s your chance to win one of these beautiful passport covers for yourself. Just “like” us on Facebook by clicking the button on the right-hand of this screen, and then leave a comment on this post telling us which item on the Sitara Web site you like the most. If we get more than two responses, I’ll choose two random winners to receive these beautiful passport covers (valued at more than $15 each).


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