Photo of Snowy Owl by Jim Cumming

Winter Wonderland: Artisan Gifts Inspired by Arctic Wildlife
Organic Spa Magazine | Huffington Post
by Zoe Helene

Wildlife needs wilderness—not just to survive, but also to live freely. These eco-friendly, ethically sourced artisan gifts are inspired by the natural colors, textures and tones of the Arctic region’s remaining wildlife. Because many species struggle to survive as humans encroach on their habitats, you might also want to consider a gift donation to one of the non-profit organizations working to preserve and protect the precious Arctic wilderness.

The CANADIAN WILDLIFE FEDERATION; The Canadian Wildlife Federation informs and educates Canadians about regional wildlife and wilderness habitats, presenting real-world options and opportunities to take responsible action and providing assistance to wildlife in trouble. Its educational programs inspire young people experience the natural world and help with wildlife conservation. Join this community of educators--including teachers, youth leaders, park naturalists and more—which has already reached more than 1 million students across Canada.

The remarkable snowshoe hare’s coat morphs from mottled brown in summer to white in winter, allowing the hare blend into its surroundings. The shy and mostly nocturnal snowshoe hare is named for its large hind feet, which helps it escape from predators in even the deepest drifts. PHOTO: Snowshoe Hare (Lepus Americanus) by Jim Cumming

ALABASTER Hand Carved Alabaster Votive Candleholder, $600; Artists around the world have carved alabaster, the “queen of stones,” into sculptures for thousands of years. For more than four decades, husband-and-wife team Susan Zalkind and Paul Hawkins have hand gathered rare alabasters throughout the American Southwest and transformed them into works of art that grace global collections.

ANDREA BONELLI Glistening Druzy Cocktail Ring, $128; This ethically mined Druzy—a glittery crystal-covered rock—shimmers and sparkles like powdery, sugary snow. The ring is handmade in the United States with recycled sterling silver and sustainable yellow gold.

ISABELLE ABRAMSON Carved Porcelain Lattice Bowl, $475; This snowy white porcelain bowl, handmade in Massachusetts and Vermont, celebrates the beauty of seasonal snowfall. Available in several sizes, the bowls feature Abramson’s hand-carved latticework and are glazed with food-safe, milky white matte glaze.

DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE—Adopt a Wolf; Defenders of Wildlife is best known for its outspoken, unyielding fight for the rights of wild wolves, which are threatened by aggressive and widespread anti-wolf extremism. Your gift helps fight for wolves’ rights to live freely, in their natural homes. PHOTO: Artic Wolf (Canis lupus arctos)

TODD REED Raw Diamond and Recycled Gold Collar Necklace, $42,680; Colorado-based jewelry master Todd Reed is a sought-after expert in natural, uncut diamonds. His museum-quality contemporary jewelry features responsibly sourced raw diamonds sublimely set in high-carat recycled gold and other precious metals.

ALEXIS RUSSELL Raw Diamond Studs, $198; These icy, conflict-free raw diamonds are set in contrastingly warm recycled gold. Each piece is handcrafted, blending classic modern design with natural, organic elements.

AMBIKA Friendly Fur Angora Balaclava, $440; Hand-crocheted from naturally soft angora, which is 800 percent warmer than sheep’s wool, this garment is fluffy, feminine and warm. The balaclava can be worn traditionally, as shown in the photo, as a hat or a neck warmer. Loops fasten over your choice of hand-crafted pewter buttons. This designer’s animal rights mission of love for Angora bunnies runs deep. These (very) loved and lovable bunnies are shorn every three months, in sync with their natural molting cycle. Visit the website to learn more about this fascinating process and history of Angora rabbits.

MARIA BURGOS Midwinter Magic Moonstone Ring $640; The perfect gift for a woman who runs with the wolves, this conflict-free moonstone, set in a simple open bezel setting made from fine recycled gold, glows like a mystical full moon on a midwinter night.

CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY—Save the Canada Lynx; These big kitty-cats have thick, snowshoe-like cushions of hair on the soles of their paws so they can hunt in deep snow for Snowshoe Hares (photo above). The lynx, the only cat that relies almost exclusively on one prey species to survive, is threatened by habitat destruction. PHOTO: Canada Lynx (Lynx Canadensis) by Calxibe

1910 ANTIQUE EDWARDIAN Princess Peacock Pendant Natural Pearls Necklace, $18,850.00; This exquisite French Edwardian princess necklace crafted (hued) from a single piece of platinum and boasts 124 diamonds and 60 real natural orient pearls. A museum-worthy lacework masterwork encrusted with natural pearls and diamonds. Inspired by Mother Nature and the plumes of a peacock, associated with the Greek goddess Hera and the Hindu God Krishna. Excellent antique condition. For more information, visit Adin Fine Antique Jewelry and search for #10278-0001

PAVE FINE JEWERLY Zicron and Diamond Earrings, $5,750; One-of-a-kind oxidized sterling silver and 14-karat yellow gold earrings feature black and champagne rose-cut diamonds and white zircon drops set in 18-karat rose gold. Led by jewelry designer Michael Endlich, the Pavé Fine Jewelry team creates luxury jewelry “with a conscience” using recycled metals and gemstones, certified conflict-free diamonds.

ANOUK Earth and Sky Diamond Ring, $2,778; Designer Anat Kaplan’s old world meets new world styled gold solitaire ring features a conflict-free raw diamond surrounded by small white diamonds.

RANNKA NYC Double Silver Scarf with Sequins, $60; New York-based designer Anabela Jevtovic handcrafts one-of-a-kind scarves made from salvaged vintage fabric. She only uses natural and salvaged fabrics and eco-centric, chemical-free, water-based color systems.

AUDUBON—Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Home to 42 mammal species and more than 160 bird species, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one Earth’s most intact and untouched biologically diverse ecosystems. Birds from six continents and all 50 United States migrate to and from the region to feed and mate. Your gift helps protect snowy owls, who live in colder regions of the United States and Canada and depend on threatened habitat to survive. Audubon works to prevent gas and oil drilling in this priceless world treasure. PHOTO: Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)

RUFF & CUT Gold and Diamond Medallion Solitaire, $5,970; This medallion made from texture-enhanced, recycled 18-karat gold is set with a brilliant, responsibly sourced rough diamond. Founder Wade Watson is a leader in ethical sourcing of fine materials, and 10 percent of his company’s proceeds support better living conditions—particularly for women and children—in mining communities.

FRENCH ANTIQUE 19th Century Ormolu Tiara, $450; This bejeweled gold-tone ormolu tiara dating from the mid-1800s would have been used to adorn a Madonna statue or a saint in a French church. Embellished with simulated diamonds and faux precious stones, the tiara is in very good vintage condition.

SHERWIN ART GLASS Polar Bears, Adult $90; Cub $70; Chris Sherwin’s motto “Create Happiness!” is reflected in these art glass polar bears. The artist describes his work as “painting with glass” and he lovingly shapes each piece by hand in a hydro-electric-powered studio.

BODAI JEWELS Stacking Bangles, $145; The metal and gemstones for these fun, modern bangles are sourced from conflict-free countries. Bodai supports ethical work conditions for artisans and adheres to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standards. The company uses replenishable material such as jute, cotton and bamboo and outsources packaging through NGO organizations that promote better living in rural craft villages.

GREENPEACE Save the Arctic; Support Greenpeace USA’s Arctic 30, Captain Peter Willcox and the cosmopolitan crew of the Arctic Sunrise, who risked their freedom to defend the Arctic region, a vital and endangered eco-system that is extremely vulnerable to oil spills. The Russian Coast Guard illegally boarded the Arctic Sunrise following a peaceful protest against giant oil company partners Shell and Gazprom, the first companies to drill for oil in the Arctic region. The activists remain behind bars in Russia. Stay tuned for an upcoming interview discussion with Philip D. Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA on Huffington Post.

Arcitc Harp seal pup populations are declining as they are commercially hunted for oil and fur and global warming causes the ice where pups are born to break up and melt. Now these sweet and adorable pups face yet another human threat: oil spills. PHOTO: Harp Seal Pup (Pagophilus groenlandicus) by Keren Su

SARAH KING Snowball Bangle; Sarah King uses Bioresin, a nontoxic resin made from plant cellulose, to create hollow forms that are hand drilled and inlaid with sterling silver. King has been experimenting with the eco-plastic since 2000.

WAPA STUDIO Porcelain Globe Candle Holder, $40; These sweet, simple, contemporary spherical vessels are handcrafted by ceramic designer Ady Shapira, who carves the casual, flowing thin lines by hand then fills them with black porcelain slip, which compliments the warm white spheres.

SPROUT Luminous Snow White Watch, $65; This stylish yet casual, white-on-white timepiece is mercury-free and constructed from sustainable elements. It has a biodegradable corn resin case, a mineral crystal lens and a natural mother-of-pearl dial with day, date and 24-hour sub-dials.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation The Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus), also known as the White Fox, Polar Fox, or Snow Fox, must be one of the most beautiful species we share the planet with. Native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, it has adapted to survive some of earth’s most extreme cold weather. Its thick, deep fur shifts with the seasons, turning white to appear to disappear in the snow, and mottled brown in the summer. PHOTO: Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) by Alain Turgeon.

O'NEIL'S ARTS Hand Blown Glass Art Marbled Platter, $295; Stan O'Neil has been working with his hands since he was 14 years old. He likes the combination of metal and glass, both formed from the heat of fire, so he created this hand blown glass marbled platter with a custom metal bracket to match, for hanging it on the wall. Glass is one of the most eco-friendly materials. It comes from the earth and returns to the Earth, and can be shaped and reshaped for pretty much ever.

ARABELLE BRUSAN Filigree Links Rings, $250 -$290; Arabel Lebrusan's exquisite ethical filigree collection is classically feminine and versatile. Master craftspeople in Spain handcraft the filigree rosettes, decorated with tiny caramullos (Spanish for filigree silver) from recycled sterling. In Black, Yellow Gold, White, and Rose Gold.

KEIM ARTWORKS Coolibah Burl Bowl, $250; Woodturner Matt Keim created this beautiful bowl from a salvaged burl with deep, rich tones. The bowl has a natural burl edge wing all the way around, showcasing the natural beauty of the wood. Keim believes that woodturning “gives a piece of wood a second life” for future generations to enjoy. I agree.

Special Thanks to wildlife photographers Jim Cumming, and Alain Turgeon for their permission to publish such exquisite and moving wildlife photographs in support of this work. If you love these images, please consider ordering prints from their websites. Prints make excellent gifts too!

December 2013