Myself and my brand have been on a journey throughout my jewellery career and building my brand to where it is today. I have at points felt huge guilt around what I do, for the damage it can have on the environment but this has only driven me to create the brand and jewellery I have today. I knew that there could be a better way of doing things, that there is a better way of doing things and that there is always room for growth, for learning, for listening and for doing.
You may have heard me talk about why I won't refer to my jewellery, brand or how I make my jewellery as ethical, because truly ethical can be, and is subjective. For instance I read somewhere that using recycled golds is unethical as its not supporting the mining community and not supporting Fairtrade mines. But my ethics on this one is pointing to recycling and reusing the resources we already have rather than finding more and damaging the environment more in the process. Its the same with gems. I buy stones from some suppliers that refer to the stones as ethically sourced but because I'm not on every part of the journey with that stone, I do not feeling comfortable using the word ethical. Therefore instead you will hear me use Eco aware and responsibly sourced instead.
Just because a brand or individual says they are ethical doesn't mean it meets your ethical standards. Ethical has become a bit of a buzz word with some people not truly understanding that they maybe unintentionally misleading their customers. So my advice is do your research. Simply using the word isn't enough to tell you what makes them ethical.
Things that I do to be eco aware and a responsible jeweller:
- Planting trees with Ecologi.com each month to compact and offset my CO2 emissions.
- Only using packing that is made from 100% recycled materials and that can be reused, recycled and/or composted. This includes all aspects including business cards, stickers and tape.
- Removing all nasty chemicals from the making process and switching to natural alternatives. This includes polishing compounds, pickling solutions etc I don't offer oxidised jewellery or plated and gold vermeil as a finish due to the lose of material and chemicals used. I also don't offer high shine as a finish due to the polishing compounds and the effects it can have on my lungs.
- Only using recycled golds and silver to make my jewellery. This also means that the jewellery can be remodelled time and time again for generations to come.
- Using responsible sourced gem stones.
- Working with trusted and reputable suppliers that I have worked with between 16 and 6 years.
- Everything is made to order, Apart from the few one off items I make, everything else is made to order meaning valuable resourced as not just sat in stock boxes waiting to be purchased. It means your new items takes longer to be with you but you know that its only ever come into being because you have ordered it and is true slow, small scale, sustainable style.
- I also make sure that I pay myself a living wage. Lots of people do not price their work correctly and under pay themselves and/or staff and under value their work and undervalue the industry.
There's lots more for me to do and I will be doing as I continue to grow and welcome any suggestions you may have. As with everything this is a process and there will always be room for improvement but I'm confident and happy with the direction my ECO aware business is going and thankful that you lovelies make it possible and support what I'm trying to achieve.
Love and great big virtual hugs to you all.
PS. Did you see my last blog about building a sustainable staple jewellery collection? If you, why not check it out.