“Cebu” like Santo Niño, dried mangoes and .. French jewelry!

Are you one of those wet blanket who can’t appreciate a nice piece of jewelry without wondering “who made it and under which conditions?”  Especially when the beautiful bracelet has traveled all the way from a developing country?

I am!I can’t help it.

My obsession with responsible business has worsened since I became a Mum. From food to clothes, even earrings, I need to know how it has been produced. When I found out that the famous Nature, Franck Herval and Ori Tao jewels were made in Cebu, I briefed my special agents (Mr Attila, 4 yo and his 6 y.o. sister) on new our mission: find out how those brands are treating their employees, and the environment.

It’s never too early to care about our planet and learn how to make a difference, isn’t it?

So we booked a tour with Alice from KorLanda Factory. What a nice first impression to meet with a guide not only incredibly knowledgeable but also super patient with the kids! She set the tone of the visit: a fun yet fascinating exploration of the world of jewelry.

  1. Nature as an everlasting source of inspiration

All the material used to create the jewels are a tribute to Mother Nature: there are countless jars and trays of plants, shells, stones, crystals, woods, bones, corns, even cores of local fruits. The kids faces were priceless when they were shown skins of fishes and eggs of ostriches that are used to make rings and necklaces (“Mummy check it out! it doesn’t even stink!”)

Controlling the environmental impact of the products

We are working with nature, totally in symbiosis. There is no plastic here, and all the material we are using is strictly traced and sourced” explained Nature Bijoux Brand manager Amaury Christin.

The International legislation is very strict when it comes to the protection of the environment, and the impact of our production. There is no trace of toxic component in our products. We have updated lists of all the materials we are allowed to use and we have our own chemical testing units, so we can guarantee that even the smallest earing is abiding with the legislation on the protection of the environment. Every single material is passing through a strict importation process. In the factory, our products are also randomly checked by the Department of Environmental and National Services. And they are eventually checked again according to the importations rules of our worldwide customers“.

This made me look at those bracelets in a different way. They became special.

Each piece is handmade by the most patients artisans

Ms. Attila was mesmerized by the stories of the designer. How he could create a ring out of a piece of wood, how a beautiful necklace could be made out of seeds. In the R&D department, you feel transported to a magical workshop, where a butterfly turns into a unique pendant, a shell into the most precious necklace and a pinch of pixie dust transforms a feather into sacred earrings. “I can’t believe he can transform anything into a jewel, whispers Ms. Attila with big open eyes. Wish Dad could do that too“. You bet!

The workers

When I think about factory in developing country, I imagine dusty loud and overcrowded workshops. KorLanda is just the opposite. It is spacious, surrounded by lush vegetation and the only noise you hear is music (hey, we are in the Philippines!).

Even my super active son was hypnotized by the delicacy of the paintings done by the workers (or should I say artists). Each piece of earing and ring from this collection is hand painted, even the tag of the designer. No wonder this is so quiet here. Mindfulness at work.


All our staff work 40h a week. Out of the 350, 95% have a permanent contract, explains Christin. We offer trainings to the ones who want to develop their skills in another department.  We obviously pay above the minimum wage and all our staff have social and health benefits”. That explains why there is hardly any turn over and that the majority of the staff has been working here for decades!


Icing on the cake .. on the way out of the factory, there is a little shop with some samples of the previous collections you can buy for less than 50% of the price for export. Mr Attila was browsing at the jewels like a collector. He recited the names of the stones, proudly explaining how the enamel was painted.

shopping.jpgThe kids got a couple of bracelets and I have never seen them caring so well any of their belongings. Once you know the story behind the product, we care more, we don’t simply consume. We own.



19 thoughts on ““Cebu” like Santo Niño, dried mangoes and .. French jewelry!

    1. Oh you ll have to 🙂 The prices in the little shop are definitely worth the trip .. Plus now you can pretend that you re not shopping for yourself only but for your daughter 😉 Are you coming back to visit this year?

      1. no definite plans yet but if i could, i would definitely go home every year. i miss the food and the beaches there.

        what about you? do you still plan to visit cebu once in a while when you’re back in france already?

      2. No, it is too far. To plan a visit here would mean having at least 2 weeks of holidays given the distance .. So we are making big stocks of sun, smiles and incredible beaches ! More chances that you see us visiting Australia in the upcoming years 🙂 See you there .. with the right chocolate!

  1. “We don’t simply consume. We own.” I love that, Estelea. Your kiddos are so lucky to get this lesson so early on. What a cool experience for everyone involved!

    1. Thanks Britta ! Yes it was a very great time, I couldnt believe the creativity of those guys. Just take a termite nest and make a jewel out of it. Seriously?! Now that I ve seen the time the workers spend on painting the enamels of the rings and the earings, I am far more caring too. And the new attitude of the kids towards their new bracelets is so sweet. They even made them a little nest with cotton 😀

  2. Great story and great way to get your kids knowledgeable about how things work (especially the ones that work well, and responsibly!). You’re such a good mom – why do you need to go back to the other kind of work? 🙂

    1. Hey Lexie, you are so super sweet! I am actually considering “the other kind of work” in a more interesting and fulfilling way … Maybe I should finally take the plunge and do what I love: teaching yoga for kids and their cool parents while running a sustainable little organic cafe? I know my little helpers would love it and so would I .. We should know by next month where we ll be in August (or at least where we won’t be). To be followed .. Have a sweet one dear and thanks for your last post. I would skip the tabacco but not the white coffee 😉 X

  3. This is wonderful. Not only the production of all natural jewellry made from objects in nature but exposing kids to this so they can gain an appreciation of the creative process and the effort that goes into a piece can f work. What a great idea to do this with your kids! Bravo.


    1. Merci Peta 🙂 We all loved this tour, it made us realise that all we need is around us. It is all about stretching our imagination and move our perspective. The minus is that now they are not only digging into the trash to find out what they can recycle, they are also walking like snails “in case there is something we could transform into a jewel”…
      I like that you used the word “effort”. Yes, we realised that, that it takes time and dedication to make those jewels. Taking care of them is also a way to respect this work.
      On a less lighter note, thanks again for Ben’s last post on the Trumpieries as we would say in France. I really needed those insights to fully understand what’s at stake, looking forward to reading more!
      Wishing you a sweet evening X

    1. hehehehe, il faut dire que les bijoux sont tres beaux, c’est plus facile d’avoir bonne conscience dans ce cas …

    1. In Mactan dear, not too far from the airport! Plus all those yogi bracelets, they are sooo much cheaper than in any shop (and excellent quality). You can click on one the links in the post, you ll get the address 😉

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