"Since we live in this world,
We have to do our best for this world"
Aung San Suu Kyi
Sustainability is at the heart of my practice, not only in my business but also in the way I live. I deeply care about the Earth, the environment, people, plants and animals of our beautiful blue Planet.
One of my main values in life is honesty and when it comes to Jewellery businesses this is a quality that many Jewellery brands are lacking at the moment.
1. What is Sustainable mean?
A sustainable product provides environmental, social and economic benefits while protecting public health and environment over their whole life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials until the final disposal.
Let's face it, today every single Jewellery brand is claiming to be "Sustainable" and this is not necessarily the case.
I use only 100% recycled precious metals in my studio in West London to make a piece of jewellery which will have a long life span. However, if in the future you want to have something else handcrafted then I can reuse the same material and gemstones to create a new piece of jewellery. Equally, if you have an heirloom jewel which you want to transform into a new piece of jewellery I can do this for you.
More so, I am able to prove this as I get a card of certification from my recycled precious metals provider.
2. Where is the Jewellery Produce?
A Jewellery brand has to disclose where they produce their pieces, if the company is based in London and their jewellery is produce in Thailand, India, China, Torquay etc then it is not sustainable to start with for their carbon footprint. These countries are not very ethical in terms of materials, quality and looking after the people working in the factories, often machine made, hand finished items.
My advice is always check this, if it is not visible in their website ask before you buy!
3. How is the Jewellery Made?
Another term widely used in the last decade is 'Handcrafted".
The term crafted is not Handcrafted
The term hand finished is not Handcrafted
The term made is not Handcrafted
Always check where the Jewellery is made and check for all these confusing terms which make you believe it is handcrafted.
4. What are the Materials?
Always check the materials used before you buy a piece of Jewellery.
Many brands use confusing terms in their initial description, so read the full description before you purchase a based metal piece whether gold plated or silver plated. These are made very poorly, they won't last long and it will break and be a waste. If you contact their customer service they will offer you a gift card so you can keep on purchasing from them. What does that tell you about their business model?
5. Is the Jewellery Hallmarked?
In the UK we have to comply to hallmark any piece of jewellery handcrafted with precious metals. There are a set of rules and regulations to follow for the minimum weight.
By law, we have to Hallmarked pieces of gold over 1g, pieces in sterling silver over 7.78g, platinum over 0.5g and Palladium over 1 g.
For more information visit the London Assay Office
The hallmarking looks like this
This is the quality assurance for the customer in the UK. Look out for the Hallmark in your piece of Jewellery. It it doesn't have one, it is either under the minimum weight or is not handcrafted in the UK.
6. What is the Price Point?
This is very important, it used to be the case that the price point was a clear sign of a product being unethical made. This is still true for some Jewellery brands, which are just too cheap to be produce in the UK.
The precious metals in the UK are far better quality that those of other countries. Therefore the prices for materials are much higher and if we add on the recycled aspect, even more so.
There are plenty of Jewellery brands now producing abroad in countries such as India and Thailand, where the quality is so low and still charging prices as if they were producing in the UK. Be really careful about this! Check the materials, if they are hallmarked and where are produce as indicated above.
7. Is the Jewellery Brand able to adjust, repurpose or repair your Jewellery?
This is also a clear point, if you ask the brand for a specific colour of gemstone, length, resizing, maybe a bespoke project or repairing and they are unable to do it then the products are not handcrafted in the UK and therefore not sustainable.
There are brands with a small workshop in the UK to do the repairs while they are producing abroad in an unethical way. Again check where the products are made, handcrafted, hand finished, etc
8. What terms do they use in their marketing and website?
Look out for the terms and claims in the previous points and realise how those terms are used on their marketing strategy and website. A new one is Caboon Footprint delivery Options, I mean what does this mean?
9. What feeling do you get from their Website?
Do you feel it is commercial, there are lots of pieces, many collections, changing with fashion, more of a small batch production, more calm and natural crafting feeling?
Can you visit the Jewellery studio to order a piece, is there a workshop where pieces are handcrafted or is it just a consultation room?
Often with independent jewellery designer/makers you can get to meet them in their studios where they work. if this is something that interest you, ask for an appointment.
10. Does the brand align with your values?
We all have values in life, I know I only like to work and buy products from independent, honest businesses just like mine.
Think about if the brand you are buying from is true to your own personal values before you buy.
I hope this blog has given you a clear view on how to spot a sustainable Jewellery business. Last but not least, check Google and TrustPilot Reviews!
I would love to hear your comments and for you to share your experiences with me! and if you have any questions please ask! I always love to hear from you.
With much love, peace and light!
Very informative. Thanks for taking the time to explain all of these. Your passion for sustainability is inspiring. And your work is truly beautiful! Keep shining, you’re a precious gem. Love, Luciano xxx