Nikki Reed Dishes On Designing Eco-Conscious Engagement Rings With Daughter Bodhi Soleil Somerhalder In Mind

image003Photo Credit: Joe Perri

Galvanized by the desire to create harmonious moments between how we feel and what we wear, Nikki Reed and her socially conscious lifestyle company, BaYou with Love, are bringing their attainable, sustainable efforts to a capsule collection of eco-conscious engagement rings. The rings, made with 18 karat gold recycled from tech, are accented with cultivated diamonds grown in California and ethically mined sapphires. Not only are the materials sustainable, but the rings are made in DTLA at a manufacturing facility committed to minimizing its environmental impact and footprint.

In addition to her premiere engagement ring collection, the Twilight star has designed and created a second 14-18 karat gold jewelry collection, The One Earth Collection, in collaboration once again with Dell. Both The One Earth Collection and the previous Circular Collection—which was recently named as a finalist as part of Fast Company’s 2018 Innovation by Design Awards—were designed by Reed and made in Los Angeles from gold responsibly extracted from used technology recovered from Dell’s US recycling programs. We chatted with Reed about her sustainable sensibilities and her designer inspiration (hint: husband Ian Somerhalder and daughter Bodhi Soleil have something to do with it!).

image010Photo Credit: Joe Perri

How did you come to design a line of engagement rings?

I think Love is an unexplainable source of inspiration for everyone. It’s why we never get tired of telling love stories on screen or reading about them in novels. As I continue my journey with sustainable fashion and finding alternative ways to create, I found myself coming back to love, and engagement rings are a beautiful representation of that.

What was your inspiration?

The collection you’re seeing is just the first of many! The ideas in my head that we are already experimenting with at the factory are endless. I am inspired by vintage rings, because love is timeless, era-less, and familiar. This collection was all about simplicity, as it’s more about the stones than anything else. It’s about being inclusive of a new emerging industry of sustainable conflict free grown diamonds, but that doesn’t mean excluding mined diamonds. It’s about opening up the conversation to the future.

image002Photo Credit: Joe Perri

Was sustainability a factor for you in deciding to create Bayou With Love? 

Bayou With Love was originally created with the desire to find earth friendly alternatives for the conscious consumer. I was pregnant at the time when we launched and a huge source of motivation for me was finding options that felt safe, sustainable, and morally aligned with how I try to conduct my life. We were already operating for a few months when I got the call from Dell saying they had extracted a significant amount of gold from the motherboards of their recycled tech and wondered if I knew what to do with it. Immediately I hit the ground running creating our first jewelry line all made from recycled gold from tech. It was the perfect complement to what we were already focusing on.

Did designing a line of engagement rings take you back to when Ian proposed?

It is quite sweet trying on engagement rings again as I design. Women are often left out of the design process because so much of the engagement ring story is usually a surprise for them. I think it’s ok to encourage a shift here. If you want to be surprised, your partner will know that that is your desire, but it’s also ok to be involved! After all, you’re the one wearing the ring for the rest of your life so having some input is great if that works for you and your partner. Ian has always been so open and was very supportive of my involvement. He would literally come home with designs and ask me what I thought.

image005Photo Credit: Joe Perri
Is being natural and living naturally important to you? Why or why not?

I try to maintain a holistic and wholistic approach to everything I do but of course no one is perfect. With our Bayou audience, I am constantly reminding everyone to applaud progress not perfection as that is the area where us humans exist. I’m continually reminded by social media followers that it can be so scary for anyone to think about completely changing the way they consume, whether that’s food, clothing or information. Asking ourselves and each other to make a shift is all we can do. Wearing a sustainable piece of Bayou With Love Jewelry doesn’t mean you have to give up what you already have. In fact throwing stuff away just for the sake of it is the opposite of sustainable living! You’re simply adding to the story and consciously making different choices going forward. It’s a conversation piece.

Will you be passing these lessons along to your daughter? What else will you be teaching her?

I think children mirror what they see. They’re little sponges. The best thing you can do as parents is try to lead by example, and with love. If you love them and teach love, then our hope is they will carry that with them for the rest of their lives and make decisions out of love. Love goes beyond romance, there’s love for the planet, for animals, for yourself.

image003Photo Credit: Joe Perri