I was lucky to start a jewelry business when recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds were the norm. Over the years increased transparency has brought even higher standards of accountability and better, greener business practices.
Which is great!! But it's not a perfect world. Not everything is traceable, not every gem-producing country has infrastructure to support a transparent supply chain and not every piece of metal is recycled. Here's what I can guarantee:
- My raw materials are 100% recycled precious metals. This is the sheet, wire, tubing etc. used for fabrication and castings from my casting partner. About 90% of my work.
- I do my best to find recycled versions of components I don't make - chains, clasps, earring backs - but not every component is 100% recycled.
- I seek out ethically sourced gems beyond "conflict-free." This includes fair-trade, sustainable mining, worker's rights, women's rights, buying from countries that support transparent mine-to-market supply chains, using lab-created gems and more. But everything's not traceable. I do:
- Ask questions & buy from trusted suppliers who know the origin of their material.
- Avoid untraceable materials mined or cut in regions known for abuse.
- Packaging, packing and shipping materials are recyclable and made from recycled materials whenever possible.
- Print media (business cards, jewelry care cards) is printed on recycled paper or cotton with vegetable-based inks whenever possible.
- I minimize the use toxic chemicals in my studio, using natural and old school products as much as possible. Nasty things are used sparingly and disposed of properly as hazardous waste.
- I seek out businesses that are SCS certified to promote sustainable development.
Check out these sites for more info:
Ethical Metalsmiths: http://www.ethicalmetalsmiths.org
Diamond Development Initiative: http:/www.ddiglobal.org