Buy a Necklace, Support an Earthquake-Ravaged Orphanage in Nepal

All proceeds from the sale of Jessica Ricci Jewelry’s rudraksh seed necklaces will help rebuild a Nepalese orphanage.

Six years ago, on her way to Tibet, Providence-based jeweler Jessica Ricci stopped in Nepal and volunteered at an impoverished orphanage for two weeks.

“I got really close to these kids and kept in touch over the years and helped out financially, when I could,” says Ricci, who creates jewelry out of talismans from her worldwide travels.

Now, she’s using her stock of Nepalese rudraksh seeds to help rebuild that orphanage in Nepal, which was brought to rubble in the April 25 earthquake that killed an estimated 7,000 people and injured thousands more. When Ricci learned of the widespread devastation, she recalled a collection of rudraksh seeds she bought at a Nepalese market during her stay at the orphanage.

The seeds, from Rudraksha trees, are used as prayer beads in Nepal and shield the wearer against negative energy — an all-natural evil eye. Ricci strung her ninety-six seeds onto silver and gold-plated chains and she’s selling them for $55 each, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the orphanage.

After Ricci wired the first batch of money to her contact via Western Union — about $1,000 so far — she received an email update about the condition of the kids, who are currently in a camp in Kathmandu.

 “They’re alive, but some are very sick,” Ricci says. “Their entire orphanage was demolished. They’re homeless right now.”

Fortunately, the orphanage owns its own plot of land. When the dust settles, they can get some builders on the ground to construct a new home, thanks to funds raised a world away.

“I’m excited because it takes such little money to build there; Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world,” she says. “It’s a doable project, if I can continue this fundraiser. And it’s only a small group of people, just twenty-four kids.”

Ricci says she’s sold about thirty of the ninety-six rudraksh seed necklaces so far. She hopes the remaining necklaces will sell, too, then she’ll make seeds casted in metal and continue fundraising.


The rudraksh seed necklaces are available for purchase at online at, at Ricci’s new showroom, 76 Weybosset St., Suite 200, Providence (Mon.–Fri., noon5 p.m.) or at Shoppe Pioneer, 253 South Main St., Providence.