Devi Chand is the founder and passionate artist behind Papermelon, a jewelry company with sustainability and beauty as its primary missions. Papermelon jewelry is constructed from upcycled paper, which is collected from friends, neighbors and well-wishers. The paper types vary wildly but include newspapers, magazines, storybooks, paper bags, gift wraps, calendars and pamphlets.

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leaf-shaped necklace made of paper beads

Chand decided on paper as a result of her love for crafting. Although she’d completed a college degree in design and even worked in the corporate world for a while, she found her passion at her dining room table while winding a piece of paper around a toothpick, thus forming her first jewelry bead. She said, “Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products as it is made from wood. It’s also one of the most recycled products on the planet.” 

Related: Nonprofit Washed Ashore crafts art and jewelry from ocean plastic

bracelet made of old magazines
earrings in the shape of cottages

That important bit of knowledge was just the beginning in her efforts to keep her business environmentally friendly. Once she hammered out the basic technique of turning paper into jewelry, Chand sourced supplemental beads, cords and silver from other local businesses. Papermelon jewelry is handcrafted in a home studio and, because there are no machines involved in the process, manufacturing is exceptionally energy-efficient. The company is dedicated to a zero-waste policy, which Devi admits was easy to achieve because the product is the result of upcycling. 

colorful necklace and earrings made of recycled paper
paper bead bracelet

“We started as an ordinary business in 2009. Thankfully, we had an eye for ‘upcycling.’” Chand said. “The brand naturally evolved by making sustainable choices in every step and detail — in life and business. We’re not perfect, but we’re determined to make this an extra-ordinarily ecologically committed business.”

black and white rectangular earrings made of recycled newspapers
green, blue, yellow, orange, and pink statement necklace

All jewelry is packed in reusable and recyclable cardboard boxes that are also handcrafted by a local artisan. Inside each box, recycled paper is used for filler. Because beauty is at the heart of the business, packages are adorned with fabric ribbons that are sourced from tailoring waste, and each envelope is addressed by hand. Papermelon also makes use of other everyday items, turning pens and bottles into molds and using the natural light on a balcony for a photography space.

+ Papermelon

Images via Papermelon