Eco-conscious jewelry seems to be especially hard to find in the world of fashion. While many jewelry makers and crafters are going more green, it is still difficult to find pieces of high quality without a huge price mark-up. So, it was refreshing when we stumbled across Liberti, a women’s fine jewelry line from Denver.
Pamela Norton-Shelpuk founded Liberti just one year ago with interest in creating something with meaning. She also had her mind set on keeping things eco-conscious. “I am proud to be part of a community of American companies developing eco-conscious platforms, respecting the planet throughout their processes, and working with dignity and purpose,” said Norton-Shelpuk. Since the launch of Liberti, the brand has grown to create multiple collections and grown a global customer base. We spoke with Norton-Shelpuk on starting a business in Denver, jewelry trends, and her inspirations.
303 Magazine: First of all, tell us a bit more about Liberti and how the company got started.
Pamela Norton-Shelpuk: I founded Liberti in 2015 after spending five years working as a volunteer helping with assimilation of newly arrived refugees to Colorado. This experience led me to believe I could launch a company that could be both beautiful and meaningful. It was by combining my hidden love for fashion and design with a platform to create opportunities for refugees in America that sparked the creative journey now known as Liberti.
303: Tell us about your staple symbol the “<1.”
PNS: Our iconic symbol, the <1 sign, is a message of empowerment for all who wear the collection. When you look beyond our handcrafted jewelry and distinctive accessories, you will see new beginnings for the less than 1 percent of refugees who have escaped camps abroad. Each Liberti collection is unique, modern and versatile, inspired by America’s stand for freedom and her natural beauty. We wanted to create subtle dainty classics to bold icons, and expand the line with messaging to tell stories behind these lives.
“We choose metals with a light footprint, made from non-mined, recycled sources to practice and promote harmony with our environment.”
303: How is your jewelry eco-conscious? What steps is Liberti taking to reduce pollution?
PNS: The casting and plating process does take a toll on our environment which is one of the reasons why US jewelry manufacturing migrated all overseas over the last 30+ years. It is difficult to find quality manufacturing and plating companies here in the US that have the same principles and values to our environment. I have spent several years working on developing strong partnerships and opportunities to ensure we stay true to the brand by taking a stand to ensure that from ideation to production, the materials we use are made by people who love their craft, all the while meaningfully contributing to our US economy.
Our limited-edition collections are crafted with recycled precious metals sourced within the US, from Los Angeles to the new technology we are testing called Additive Manufacturing with our new line in New York. We choose metals with a light footprint, made from non-mined, recycled sources to practice and promote harmony with our environment.
303: What was it like starting a brand in Denver?
PNS: I don’t think launching a brand in Denver is as difficult as it used to be. Denver has become a much more sophisticated city as we have evolved from our perception of just being a “cow town” to one of the best cities to launch a business. I think that technology is also such a critical component to any new business you may be launching and we have such an entrepreneurial spirit and support system to help emerging businesses thrive. Travel is still a critical part of building a brand and both coasts is where the action and opportunities for distribution and partnerships exist.
303: What trends are you seeing for jewelry in the Fall and upcoming winter season?
PNS: We are working on some of our new pieces for 2017 and here are some of the trends we are designing around: 1. I think we will continue to see a unique combination of boho styles featuring flowers, fabrics, ribbons, chokers and eclectic chains. 2. I think you will also see rings designed in large geometric and animalistic shapes with bold colors like blue, turquoise, red and silver. And 3. I also think women’s bracelets will trend to feature silver and leather with ancient nationalistic accents such as Turkish stone framing, Greek silver weaving and Indian patterned embossing.
Liberti will be launching some new handcrafted jewelry including pure metals and eco-conscious recycled beads that includes bright and colorful stones and Liberti diamonds. We will also add in embroidery cultural fabric honoring cultures from around the world with stones, beads, leather and precious metals.
303: Anything you’d suggest from your collection?
PNS: I am really excited about the launch of our newest line, The Heritage Collection. The incredible diversity of American citizens was a driving factor in The Heritage Collection’s distinctive design. I think that America’s ever-evolving sense of self as a young country has allowed us to continuously think progressively, never to be tied down to “the way we’ve always done it.” The profound importance of inclusivity drives us to draw inspiration from cultures around the globe and to honor resettled refugees with our inspired jewelry. Every new collection celebrates – and shares – the ideals of the American Dream.
The new Heritage Collection features handcrafted latticework patterns. The first of an around-the-world series, the Heritage Collection celebrates North African refugees who have resettled in America. The design elements capture North Africa’s lattice-style architecture and iconic geometric artistry, paying tribute to the region’s timeless artistic innovation. We will also be using conflict free diamonds grown in America from existing diamond seeds. Eco-conscious and pure, the cultured diamond process ensures production without destruction to life or land. All Liberti diamonds are grown using solar power credits, reducing their carbon footprint to zero.