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Gulf oil spill: Mourning jewelry that raises money

June 12, 2010 |  9:17 am

PelicanPin_GoodRibbonSignature The images of wildlife affected by the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico have been so unspeakably sad, I have been wondering when the fashion industry was going to stand up and take notice.

At least one designer has. Mignon Faget, a New Orleans-based jeweler who has worked in the region for nearly 40 years, has launched a touching tribute, a collection she calls "In Mourning."

Faget has selected and redesigned pieces from her earlier collections inspired by Gulf Coast wildlife. The collection is designed to be worn in the tradition of mourning jewelry. Sterling-silver renditions of redfish, speckled trout, oysters and pelicans have been made into pins backed with black ribbons and pendants strung on black cords.  An oyster necklace has been oxidized to an oil-stained silver, a large oyster pendant hangs from black and brown ribbons, sterling crabs and shrimp charms dangle from an oxidized black chain bracelet reminiscent of the chains found on oil rigs.  A large tuna brooch is suggested to be worn "belly up." 

"It is a heartbreaking statement to make with jewelry originally designed to celebrate the abundant gifts of our coast,” Faget said in a press release, "but the reality is that we need to make people aware of this disaster and the long-term effects on this region.  We all need to do what we can."  Oyster

Proceeds from the collection benefit the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a mix of businesses, local governments, scientific communities, national and local conservation groups, hunters, anglers and concerned citizens committed to the sustainability of coastal Louisiana. In the wake of the BP oil spill, the coalition is coordinating volunteers to assist in local, state and federal recovery efforts.

This isn't the first time Faget has responded to disaster. After Hurricane Katrina, sales of her designs raised $150,000 for the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, to help bring artists and art institutions back to New Orleans.

Mignon Faget's In Mourning collection (see here), in sterling silver and gold, is $65 to $2,600.

-- Booth Moore

Battle the BP oil spill with the shirt on your back

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Top photo: Pelican tie tack, $80. Bottom photo: Oyster pendant on black and brown ribbon, $185. Credit: Mignon Faget