The Rainforest’s Best Friend

Meet Esther, the artisan that is saving the Amazon.

Esther Tuesta Ykanam is from the Awajún tribe in northern Peru. She is part of an association of women that is outpricing forest destruction through organic seed jewellery.

“The rainforest is my best friend because it never betrays me and provides me with everything I need; fresh air, fruit trees and fish. That’s why it’s so important to preserve it.”

Esther is from the village of Urakuza in the department of Amazonas, one of Peru’s deforestation hotspots. Her association, AMARNO, crafts jewellery with seeds harvested from the rainforest.

The income stream from their organic seed jewellery is bringing in a sustainable livelihood for more than 45 families. Buying a piece of this beautiful jewellery is directly helping to empower a village to keep the Amazon rainforest standing. The jewellery was featured by Vivienne Westwood at her Paris Fashion Show.

The seeds they use include tuju, kumpia, huayruro, yanpak, yusajiak, wayampai and chichao. Each type has a different harvesting process, with some needing to be boiled and others dried in the sun for over a month before each seed is meticulously hand drilled using a needle.


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