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Guest Contributor

Make that gift for yourself or a loved one really count at Akola.

The innovative jewelry venture has a pop-up boutique located directly across from Nike.

Open through New Year’s Day, Akola is a non-profit Dallas company that presents colorful beaded necklaces, earrings and bracelets made by marginalized women.

The ladies – about 100 in Dallas and 400 in Uganda – are paid a living wage for their work, and all profits are reinvested in their education, careers and communities.

The shop stocks Akola’s entire collection, highlighted by colored paper beads hand-rolled in Uganda and strung with horn, bone, glass, leather and metal elements. Most styles are priced from $18 to $124.

The $76 Collar necklace is a signature look – three strands of paper beads in one of a dozen hues sporting a metal hexagon pendant.

“It’s guilt-free jewelry,” says Akola store manager Becky Stephens. “You can feel good about buying it and wearing it because it’s for such a good cause, and it has meaning.”

Hot items include the $10 One Bead One Hope leather cord bracelet, which comes with a card on which to write a wish or prayer for the recipient.

“They’re great for teacher gifts, stocking stuffers and friends,” Stephens notes. “We’ve had mother-daughter pairs buy them, too.”

The on-trend Stephanie necklace is a long strand of paper, horn and glass beads dangling a leather tassel for $57.

And there are boxed Christmas ornaments in silver and gold for $8 and $10.

“I like to say we are women helping women,” Stephens said. “It’s the most fun retail experience I’ve ever had.”

There’s also higher-end jewelry by Akola at NorthPark.

Visit Neiman Marcus’ designer jewelry salon to shop Akola styles made with pearls and such semiprecious stones as labradorite, moonstone and garnet.