My Golden Grass story began in 2011. From my native Brazil to the world, the evolving resonance of creativity, nature and diverse humanity, moved me to launch The Golden Grass Company. My desire to collaborate with the communities that craft beauty from grass, and to share their story with others, inspired my business ideal: a real path to give them voice through their art.
For the past 9 years, I have been working with three cooperatives in Jalapão; all local artisans with a harvesting licence for the plant, and who specialise in its traditional weaving techniques. Most are women, working from home, which enables them to look after their young children at the same time. We support and empower our artists’ time-honoured crafts, whilst protecting their homeland and ancestral heritage.
Our pieces are fusions of their original tribal designs and my own, current ones. I also do the assemblage, which can involve finishing specific parts of the jewellery, often by attaching stones, hoops or special clasps. After that, I test them for size and quality control.
Craftsmanship is our heart, with intricacy that sparkles: its woven shine makes items artworks — and the perfect miniature eco-accessories.
THE PLANT GOLDEN GRASS
Golden Grass (Syngonanthus Nitens) - Capim Dourado - is a delicate flowering plant whose stem has an intrinsic metallic shine and a natural golden hue that resembles a gold wire. It is native to Jalapão, a savannah-like expanse within the northern state of Tocantins in Brazil, where the local population long ago learned to weave the unique fiber to produce utilitarian objects and it is currently one of the most important economic sources in this predominantly rural area.
Demand for the golden grass crafts increased the extraction of the plant. Worries about the golden grass’s sustainability have led the local government, non-governmental institutions and the communities of Jalapão to develop sustainable practices to help control the harvest while assuring the vital economic activity around golden grass. To empower the artisans, for instance, the sale of raw material is prohibited outside of Jalapão and golden grass can only be sold in the form of crafts and finished components for jewelry, personal and home accessories. In addition, to conserve the species the stems can only be harvested by licensed artisans from late September to November after seed maturation and dispersion have occurred.
This special plant, the Golden Grass , gets its color from a large number of different flavonoids compounds. Flavonoids are a class of yellow pigments with a chemical structure based on 15 carbon atoms and aromatic carbon rings and are commonly found in yellow plants, flowers and fruits like lemons or grapefruits. It also has high antioxidant properties with molecules able to prevent DNA damage from UV or diseases. Chemical studies using chromatography of extracts of the plants also revealed the presence of xanthone derivatives. These are also molecules rich in cyclic aromatic carbons. Xanthones are used in most insecticides and have pharmacological effects such as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activities.
The making of handicrafts from S. nitens began in Jalapão, in the Afro-Brazilian community of Mumbuca in the municipality of Mateiros. Indigenous people, from the Xerente ethnic group, taught the art to local inhabitants when passing through the region around the 1930s.
Jalapão is a semi-arid microregion in the state of Tocantins, Brazil — a place which contains a variety of dramatic landscapes including cerrado vegetation, sand dunes and flat-topped plateaus and is home for this unique plant - Golden Grass .
The landscape of the area transitions between the typical cerrado and the beautiful caatinga, there are also waterfalls, crystal clear rivers; rapids, large plateaus; and rock formations of various colors and shapes.
Within the area, one can find dunes of golden sands, with up to 30 meters high, which influenced its name of Jalapão desert. It would be a desert if Jalapão was not a paradise of water and a place where the presence of flowers and exotic animals are abundant.
In the midst of 34,000 square kilometers of arid landscape, the region is crossed by a vast network of rivers, creeks, and streams, all containing transparent and clean water. Jalapão is one of the few national landscapes that remains almost immune to the advancement of civilization, so much that you can run for miles and not find a single person.
The area of Jalapão has once been a sea. With the climate and atmospheric changes of the planet, the sea was drifting away and left a trail of biological richness that forced marine, wind sedimentation (winds), lacustrine (lake), and fluvial (river) to take shape over the millennia. As a result, the stone mountains took the form of old ruins - and gigantic - buildings.
Our mission is to promote beauty through responsible choices that contribute to economic and social development while conserving the environment, preserving local traditions and empowering communities.
We have a deep love for the materials, and the people we work with, to create our designs. The origins of our products are key to our concept. It’s where we draw on the expertise of local people, whose artisan skills are passed on from generation to generation. At The Golden Grass Company, it’s our deep desire to keep these ancient traditions alive.