Cork eyewear frame

Cork glasses

Ballo has made a big move towards cork and recycled cork now makes up 80% of our frame materials. Here’s why…

Cork is a sustainable resource, both renewable and biodegradable. The cork oak tree is unique in that its thick bark can be stripped off every decade to extract the cork without damaging the trees.

Cork bark

The cork we use for our eyewear is offcuts from wine cork production and is grown in Portugal. Other benefits of cork? Cork is resilient, lightweight, natural, breathable material that is hypoallergenic and has a high friction resistance. It’s also 100% renewable, natural and vegan. And it floats.

We just love working with cork and wearing cork.

Below: Nomfundo wearing Cork Cosmo

Cork Sunglasses

Wooden glasses

Ballo launched in July 2013 after 6 months spent on research and development of our wooden eyewear frames. The idea that we could produce a more organic,  environmental material than the plastic and metal frames that are common in the eyewear market. 

We were looking for the most sustainable and durable combination of materials that could be sourced locally. After hundreds of prototypes, the combination we launched with was: wood veneer offcuts (sourced from FSC certified local furniture manufacturers), bio-resin (40% tree sap) and recycled paper. We then fitted the frames with spring loaded hinges and the highest quality CR39 lenses. These frames could also be fit with prescription lenses, which was another goal at the outset.

The production process for these wood frames has been refined over the years and involves 23 processes which are all done by hand in our Cape Town workshop. 


Below: Wearing Owl Walnut