My Soko Jewelry Buying Experience and Review

As someone who loves jewelry but also cares about ethical and sustainable fashion, finding labels that align with my values is important. That‘s why I was intrigued when I recently discovered Soko, an artisan-made jewelry line from Kenya making quite the positive impact worldwide. Their ethical production methods and dedication to providing economic opportunity through fair jobs caught my interest right away.

In this Soko jewelry review, I’ll share my first-hand experience evaluating and purchasing their jewelry, along with helpful information for those considering adding these conversation-starting ethical accessories to their own wardrobe.

Overview of Soko – Brand Background and Social Mission

Founded in 2010 by Gwendolyn Floyd, Catherine Mahugu and Ella Peinovich, Soko is based in San Francisco with production facilities in Nairobi, Kenya employing over 1300 local artisans. Beyond paying 5 times the average local wage plus healthcare benefits, Soko reinvests 20% of profits back into the community funding projects like health clinics, schools and wildlife conservancies.

As a certified B Corporation dedicated to social impact, everything from Soko’s sustainable supply chain to their ethical treatment of employees sets them apart as a brand making conscience-driven choices.

They uphold strict standards around responsible materials sourcing and environmental stewardship. For example, all metals are either recycled or artisan-mined following regulations. Natural materials like hand-painted ceramic beads and ethically collected cow horns come from protected Kenyan wildlife areas supporting heritage conservation efforts in partnership with local communities.

Transparency around production processes on their website initially attracted me to Soko from both a sustainability and human uplift perspective. They offer a retail model advancing equitable economic growth in underserved areas – an admirable mission more fashion labels should champion.

Soko Materials and Jewelry Manufacturing Process

Soko uses a combination of recycled brass, upcycled cow horn and bone, ceramic beads and other reclaimed natural materials for their handcrafted designs.

Their metals like brass come from artisan mining collectives practicing safe and regulated small group mining. Recycled metals help reduce environmental extraction impacts and carbon emissions linked to virgin metal mining. Over 80% of brass used is recycled from East African suppliers.

For bone and horn elements, Soko networks with conservancies protecting endangered grazers like zebra and wildebeest. Natural attrition leads to bone collection for ethical use supporting wildlife habitat stability. Animal hides also get incorporated into Soko’s small range of leather travel accessories.

Ceramic clay and glass beads come from women-led fair trade bead cooperatives like Kazuri Beads lifting up disadvantaged female artisans with employment and leadership opportunities.

With traceable, sustainable sourcing establishing the foundation, Soko’s production network then hand-fabricates every necklace, bangle, ring and pair of earrings from scratch using traditional techniques perfected over decades. Watching their behind-the-scenes videos highlighting how each piece gets carefully produced employing dozens of detailed steps left me awestruck imagining the creativity and effort involved.

The impressive craftsmanship evident in the finished responsibly-made accessories shows why Soko gets routinely featured in Vogue, Glamour and other influential magazines as an ethical brand redefining the jewelry landscape to better serve people and planet. Their simultaneous commitment to minimizing environmental harm through sustainable materials and providing living wages for marginalized craftspeople cannot get praised enough!

Standout Soko Jewelry Worth Buying

From dainty everyday necklaces to sculptural statement earrings, Soko’s catalog incorporates an incredible diversity of ornaments marrying cultural inspiration with on-trend elements through a contemporary lens. Made to layer and mix-and-match, the versatility facilitates personalized styling. When browsing their website for the first time, I easily filled my cart with way too many versatile artisan-inspired options!

To help focus your own shopping experience, here are some of my favorite pieces that most exemplify the brand’s aesthetic and service to their core values through imaginative design.

Bold Lava Drop Earrings

These sculptural stunners feature curved triangular silhouettes filled with pebbled texture reminiscent of cascading lava. At nearly two inches long, they attract attention! The lightweight carved recycled horn construction kept them comfy when I styled them both day and night. Dressed up, they brought visual drama to basic date night looks. Worn casually during a creative meeting‘s video call, the earthy organic shape added artistic flair that sparked conversations about their origin and led me to explain Soko’s mission. A true statement showstopper flexible for those wanting to make an ethical impact through their accessories!

Price: $116

Delicate Coin Necklace

This adjustable long cable chain necklace with an engraved coin pendant sits close to the chest for a subtle symbolic touch. The Swahili inscription reading “She Who Dares” empowers the wearer while honoring heritage. Its versatile styling potential as a delicate accent piece or striking solo ornament enhances everyday ensembles or makes a meaningful gift. Simple and sweet alone, it also layers beautifully with other daintier and bolder necklaces for custom looks. The eco-friendly brass material and focus on craftsmanship traditions of the Maasai tribe reflect attention to artisan creativity that initially hooked me on the brand.

Price: $68

Stackable Ring Set

These sculpted, mixed metal stackable band and midi rings embody bold sophistication in a versatile stacking set that completes an on-trend ear party. Worn together or separately, their unique domed shaping adds organic fluidity compared to traditional stacks. Hinting at natural formations like dried mud or plant bulbs while maintaining a refined finish, they symbolize the raw artistic soul of Soko’s production network. The Kenyan focus on honoring materials‘ inherent beauty shows in their jewelry’s ability to elevate wearers’ self-expression. Both eco-friendly in recycled brass and oozing striking silhouette variety, these rings deliver effortless cosmopolitan edge to business or leisure looks.

Price: $178

Additional Bestselling Soko Jewelry Picks

Beyond my featured favorites above, here are five more top-rated ethical Soko pieces topping customer wish lists:

Threader Teardrop Earrings – Delicate minimalist elongated teardrops adding modern edge via an on-trend threader design. $68

Engraved Coin Bracelet – Adjustable brass coin bracelet hand stamped with uplifting Spanish blessing for a delicate signature touch. $48

Chunky Oval Link Bracelet – Textured broad oval links form a substantial geometric bracelet anchoring casual or professional outfits with gleaming ethical substance. $128

Hammered Hoop Earrings – Slender hand-hammered elliptical brass hoops reflecting delicate bohemian flair. $48

Pave Stone Ring – Dome-shaped midi ring dotted with ethical green onyx stone accents adds subtle sparkle to everyday wear. $58

Soko Jewelry Quality and Customer Experience Reviews

With over 450 collective 5-star Soko jewelry reviews on their website, Revolve, Nordstrom and specialty retailers like Anthropologie, overwhelmingly positive feedback focused on the stunning artisan craftsmanship and original ethical mission. Multiple shoppers when asked about their purchase specifically praised the high-quality construction and hand-feel reflecting answers to common questions I initially had around durability.

Reviewers on Trustpilot, Sitejabber and other independent consumer sites that vet brand legitimacy mirror this pattern with 95% recommending Soko for fair pricing given the sustainable materials and production methods. This aligns with my assessment that their quality rivals luxury designers but offers far better value and ethical credentials.

A handful had sizing issues, though Soko’s helpful customer service team addressed concerns promptly with expedited remedies. Of reviews mentioning breakage, damage resulted from known wear-and-tear weaknesses like tiny delicate hoops snagging frequently. However, Soko repaired or replaced items regardless, demonstrating exceptional standing behind their products.

Considering the bulk of critiques focused on decorative preferences rather than performance concerns, and the sheer volume of positive testimonials, I felt reassured investing in Soko’s transparent business model and high-caliber craftsmanship translating through multiple channels.

How Soko Jewelry Compares to Other Ethical Fashion Brands

The sustainable jewelry market gets more crowded by the minute with brands balancing ethics and aesthetics. Simple searches yield overwhelmed shoppers navigating greenwashed claims. How does Soko measure up to competitors like AUrate, Wolf Circus and Mejuri also focused on style and sustainability?

Pricing – For precious metals and gem pieces, Soko rates on the affordable end starting under $100 for core collections in eco-brass with leather and horn accents compared to the $250+ entry point common at green designers.

Materials – Soko favors recycled brass, upcycled horns/bones and handmade beads rather than 100% recycled metals and lab-grown diamonds popular elsewhere aiming for maximal waste reduction. Both approaches have merits and negatives.

Social impact – The clear standout. Soko reinvests over 20% of profits into Kenyan community programs supporting artisans while most brands stick to donations or responsible mining initiatives exclusively. They report strong measurable progress towards worker empowerment goals.

Quality + Style – Reviews indicate high-end, durable construction mastering global design trends. Unique hand-fabrication leads means no mass manufacturing standardized pieces seen elsewhere.

Overall, Soko Jewelry delivers on premium ethical style while setting the bar for fashion lifting up artisan communities abroad, carving out a category defining niche.

Caring for and Styling Your Soko Jewelry Like a Pro

To help the handcrafted designs withstand everyday wear and tear, some basic jewelry care steps maintain their integrity. Here is my recommended routine for maximizing long-term enjoyment:

1. Designate a fabric-lined catch-all dish for storing pieces when not worn. This prevents scratches, tangles and missing earrings by having a dedicated place.

2. Apply mask/lotion/perfume first before putting on jewelry. This stops chemical residue exposure leading to damage.

3. Clean with mild soap and water monthly, gently scrubbing grime away. Avoid harsh household cleaners and ultrasonic cleaning methods. Ammonia and bleach can erode lacquer finishes and protective varnish sealants.

4. Seek professional help for repairs. Don‘t try fixing broken clasps, pulls or missing stones yourself. Soko‘s lifetime warranty has you covered for defects.

Following those four tips while removing jewelry before strenuous activity or sports will maintain beloved Soko keepsakes for decades whether passed down generationally or worn in everyday rotation!

Now for the fun part – effortlessly elevating any outfit with Soko‘s striking silhouettes.

Workwear – Stack slim bangles and layer delicate chains with office-appropriate pendant charms for an artistic touch.

Weekends – Go bold mixing sculptural horn hoops with boho bead bracelets and carved wood rings showcasing artistry.

Evenings – Make an entrance in an LBD pairing the triple circle earcuff with an engraved coin pendant and textured oval link bracelet for scene-stealing drama.

Soko empowers personal expression for professional and casual moments alike thanks to enduring handiwork translating through numerous styling avenues.

Current Soko Specials: Seasonal Sales, Discounts and Promotions

Beyond competitive prices for exquisite craftsmanship from source to finished product, Soko offers short-term savings opportunities making high-value heirlooms more accessible.

I took advantage of a 30% off Father’s Day sitewide promotion last month. For new subscribers, welcome 15% discounts pop up frequently. They also run tiered sales around gift-giving times, i.e. 20% off $200+ orders before Christmas, appealing to higher budgets.

Students, military, healthcare workers, first responders, and teachers unlock 20% discounts year-round.

The sale section contains overstock and limited samples up to 60% off too. I found gorgeous engraved hoops there last season for $30 instead of $88! Pieces sell out rapidly given the deals. Sign up for their newsletter and watch for end-of-season clearances for the best availability on one-of-a-kind designs before they disappear into savvy shoppers’ carts!

Soko also welcomes 4 interest-free installments via Quadpay split across 6 weeks at checkout online. This helps budget larger purchases out responsibly.

Additional Places to Buy Soko Jewelry

Soko sells through 250+ specialty boutiques and dozens of department stores both stateside and abroad in addition to their own website with international delivery.

Domestically, you can browse Soko’s latest collections at…

  • Anthropologie
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Revolve
  • Nordstrom
  • Free People

Internationally, their designs appear at Bespoken London, Wolf & Badger Covent Garden and Beymen Club across Turkey.

If unsure what locations near you carry the brand, their convenient store locator tool by zip code searches inventories at authorized retailers.

For direct shopping, their recently revamped website and recently opened Los Angeles flagship boutique joined the existing San Francisco locatiom. Appointments book up quickly at those experiential retail studios where you can see designs IRL or schedule one-on-one virtual sessions before purchasing items online for home delivery.

The brand also hosts traveling pop-up events nationwide which you can preview on their Instagram and email subscriber lists for limited small batch pieces or early access to new collections before the masses. Definitely worth signing up if keen to score specialty goods!

Answers to Frequently Asked Soko Jewelry Shopping Questions

Hopefully this overview gave you ample context towards evaluating if Soko works for your ethical ornament needs! As part of my mission informing conscientious consumers towards alignment with their values through informed purchasing power, here are answers addressing common remaining questions…

Do your pieces contain nickel or irritate sensitive skin?
Soko primarily uses brass containing small trace nickel amounts passing rigorous EU standards for hypoallergenic certification safe for most but always test any new jewelry 24 hours before wearing for reactions if highly sensitive.

What is the price range?
Accessibly priced between $48-$498 compared to other ethical artisan brands range from $100-$1000+ for solid gold so Soko compares affordably to competitors for the handcrafted quality.

How long does shipping take?
Order processing averages 1-3 days before shipment then add delivery timeframes – 3 to 5 days domestically, 5 to 14 days for international orders.

What returns or exchanges options exist?
Hassle-free returns offered within 15 days in original condition. Some exclusions like customizable bridal designs apply. Damaged items also replaced.

Do you sell carats outside jewelry like gemstones?
Not currently but custom fine jewelry commissions available for sapphires/diamonds/other special orders through their concierge.

Can I customize engraving messages or materials?
Yes their design team collaborates individually on select personalized options like accent stones or engraved symbols by request.

How are resin and polymer used?
Soko avoids harmful plastic polymers but does incorporate natural plant-based resins safely into finishing protective varnishes. Hope this overview helps assess if Soko works for your ethical ornament needs!

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