• 09.29.11

Wearing Altruism On Your Sleeve, And Around Your Neck

Altruette sells necklaces and charms that tell the stories of the nonprofits that get cash from the company’s sales.

Inspired by the power of stories, two former journalists have enlisted high fashion for a higher cause. A new jewelry company called Altruette sells charm bracelets representing different nonprofits that receive 50% of profits from every purchase–typically between $155 to $175 per charm. Each gold or silver pendant (there are about 30) has a unique design and a unique story.


“For decades, women have worn charms to tell their personal stories,” said cofounder Lee Clifford, a former reporter at Fortune, in an interview with Solutions Journal. Altruette redefines its fashion statement as one that has “the power to tell the stories of the causes they represent.”

Altruette is not the only company of its kind. The Human Rights Campaign has also launched its own jewelry line to support its mission, and Brillant Earth specializes in designing “ethical origin fine jewelry.” But as a for-profit company, Altruette appears to be among the few with a business model based on partnering with selected causes.

Which ones are best sellers? Check out the laptop pendant supporting Inveneo’s campaign for Internet access in the developing world, or the life preserver benefiting the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic, a 200-foot-long vessel serving neglected populations in Congo, Tanzania, Burundi, and Zambia. It’s a chance to wear altruism–in the form of a gold laptop or silver chalkboard charm–on your proverbial sleeve.

[Images: Altruette]

Reach Michael J. Coren via Twitter or email.

About the author

Michael is a science journalist and co-founder of Publet: a platform to build digital publications that work on every device with analytics that drive the bottom line. He writes for FastCompany, The Economist, Foreign Policy and others on science, economics, and the environment.