Each piece of A’i jewelry is uniquely
handcrafted by a woman of the Cofán nation
All jewelry is produced from seeds, nuts and fibers from the Amazon rainforest.
In June 2008, I lived in the indigenous community of Cofan Dureno. The Cofan, or A'i [ah-ee] as they call themselves, are one of the oldest surviving indigenous cultures in the Ecuadorian Amazon. While there, I talked with different community members and many expressed a desire to sell their jewelry outside of Ecuador; artesania is the main source of income for the entire community, so with 35 families it becomes difficult for each family to make enough to get by. While in the past the Cofan were self-subsistent, due to previous exploitation by the oil companies and deforestation in the surrounding areas, it has become harder and harder for them to grow food and find animals to hunt. The Cofan are known as "guardians of the jungle"; in October of 1998, they closed down an oil well located in their territory and successfully gained full control of their land - the first to do so. Currently almost 50 Cofan each month live deep in the jungle in groups of 3, protecting the land from further exploitation. However, one community member told me that sometimes he questions whether it is worth it for them to work so hard to protect the jungle - risking their lives and leaving their families - with little support from the global community, since we all benefit from their resistance of oil and lumber companies By working together to expand the market to the US, we can support alternative environmentally friendly development and show solidarity in the struggle to protect the Amazon. Please check out the jewelry and support this worthy cause.