Carol Barreto creates and produces upcycled Jewellery in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil. She collects and uses materials such as discarded plastic bottles and aluminium cans. She aims to challenge our notion of what is waste by creating a new approach to modern jewellery. As a result, her collections are durable, sustainable and timeless; none of her pieces nor collections ever goes out of fashion.
“My brand was born when I was separating recyclable from organic waste and for the first time noticed the amount of durable, beautiful and colourful materials people discarded after only one use. After that, I realised I could create beautiful pieces with these materials. A few days later, I created the first environmentally friendly Jewell.”
Carol BarretoFounder and Designer
Plastics: Carol Barreto collects and upcycles PET bottles from shampoos, fabric softeners and several other types of products.
She collects Aluminium from beverage cans at restaurants, nightclubs and bars. Aluminium is a noble metal able to retain its features for decades and never loses its colour nor shine.
Carol Barreto uses many other upcycled materials to make jewels. From straws to tyres and even x-ray plates, for instance.
How are they made?
Carol Barreto receives and collects the raw materials: PET bottles, beverage cans, x-ray plates, straws and other materials
She then separates the materials that can be used from the ones that can’t. All materials which cannot be used on the jewels are sent to the recycling centre.
After that, Carol Barreto and her team clean all materials using rainwater.
Once all materials are clean and ready for use, Carol Barreto separates them by type, thickness and colour.
Finally, all jewels are handmade to order to ensure the production process is sustainable. After that, Carol Barreto forwards all leftovers to the recycling centre.
The inspiration behind each collection
The animals and beautiful sites of Northern Brazil, Rio de Janeiro’s famous beaches and the world-famous Brazilian tropical fruits inspired Carol Barreto to create timeless upcycled jewellery pieces. Here you will learn a little bit more about each collection.
“Se plantando tudo dá”: Everything you plant grows
“Caju (Acaiu)”, meaning “nut that produces itself” in the local indigenous language, inspired the creation of the Acaiu Earring. The native population has always consumed this typical Brazilian fruit widely. Therefore, during the colonization, the Portuguese exported it to Asia and Africa. Today, in English speaking countries, “Caju (Acaiu)” is referred to a “Cashews”.
The Buriti earring is also part of the “Brazilian fruits” collection. Buriti is the tallest palm tree in Brazil. In fact, it can reach up to 35 meters in height. In the indigenous language, Tupi, Buriti means “Tree of life”. It received this name because the native population in Brazil used Buriti for consumption and construction.
Guaraná is a vine native to the Amazon forest in Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. The native population extracts Guaraína from this vine and uses it as a natural stimulant in soft drinks, energy drinks and medicines. The shape of the Guaraná fruit inspired the design of the earring with the same name.
The Jaboticaba fruit is widely known as the most Brazilian fruit of all. It rarely grows in any other country. The round shape of this Brazilian fruit inspired the design of the Jaboticaba earring.
The Araça earring is also part of the “Brazilian fruits” collection. In the local indigenous language, Tupi, Araça means “fruit with an eye”.
The “Lençois Maranhenses” inspired the design of the “North Brazil” collection
The Guará is a typical scarlet-red bird that is almost extinct in Brazil. It lives in isolated areas in the north of the country. This bird feeds on red crabs, which makes its feathers red. This bird’s beautiful red feathers inspired the design of Carol Barreto’s Guará earring.
The “Parakeet” sustainable jewel is also part of the North Brazil collection. Carol Barreto designed this earring after a trip to “Lençois Maranhenses”. The smells and the culture of the river-side population, their colourful birds and lush green vegetation inspired the creation.
The breathtaking beauty of Rio de Janeiro
A beautiful suburb of Rio de Janeiro called Lapa inspired the design of the Souvenir Earring.
The vibrant and colourful beaches of Rio de Janeiro inspired the design of the Urca Earring. Its shape refers to sailing boats.
If you want to learn more about Lençóis Maranhenses, please click here.