'Jewellery is an incredibly beautiful art form due mainly to the materials that are used to create it being formed in nature - and there is nothing more beautiful or important than nature.
From the beginning of history, humans have adorned themselves with jewel like objects and in recent history, have used precious materials to convey love, worth and sentiment.
So why then is the sourcing of these materials so often riddled with pain, danger and destruction?
To create something of beauty, I believe that it must be crafted from materials that have a beneficial supply chain – making it beautiful for all involved and therefore sharing a journey of knowledge and empowerment.
While there are no simple solutions or black and white answers to any of the issues surrounding ethics in the jewellery industry please find below a brief explanation of the policies I implement within my business'
video courtesy of Fairtrade Foundation
Anna personally selects each diamond from trusted suppliers in order to ensure traceability, provenance and Kimberly Certification.
The Kimberly Process was first founded in 2000 in an attempt to stem the trafficking of so called ‘blood diamonds’ from war-torn areas of the diamond producing nations of Africa.
The agreement currently has 54 members and has achieved success in highlighting the issue and bringing it into the public domain.
As the Kimberly Process does not directly address the environmental or social issues surrounding the diamond trade and there is currently no independent industry certification such as Fairtrade for any gemstone, Anna does seek further reassurance by endeavouring to purchase each of her diamonds as directly from the mine of origin as possible.
To achieve this, larger stones are sourced either from the Canada and will come with a Canada Mark certificate or from smaller mining co-operatives in Namibia, Botswana or South Africa.
Smaller stones will come from a De Beers owned mine in one of the previously mentioned countries and whilst it isn’t always possible to guarantee the specific mine of origin for all smaller diamonds, they do still retain a conflict free guarantee, a trusted route to market, are free from child labour and other human rights violations with minimum impact on environment
Details on individual stones will be supplied on a stone by stone basis
Details on old cut and rough / rose cut diamonds are also available on request
see inside Anna's studio and gain an insight into the fascinating world of gem trading
video courtesy of National Geographic
Anna sources all coloured stones from independent, reputable suppliers with whom she has established a trusted professional relationship. She works with numerous ‘direct from source’ gemstone dealers and together they aim to supply fully traceable precious and semi-precious gems which Anna uses in her work where possible.
At the time of writing, Anna has access to traceable suppliers of precious ruby, sapphire and emerald and can guarantee the origin of some but not all of the semi-precious gems she uses. This is an area of constant research.
Anna continues to search for more traceable gemstone supply chains and campaign for further transparency in this area – more details to follow!
Why Fairtrade and Fairmined?
Anna believes that using Fairtrade or Fairmined metal is preferable to using recycled metals because, whilst recycling is a better option than taking no action, it is at best a neutral action.
Supporting the work of the Fairtrade and Fairmined supports positive changes for artisanal miners and has a beneficial effect on the environment. Across the globe more than 100 million people are involved in precious metal mining – people whom without such certification would be left with little alternative but to continue with unsafe and environmentally polluting mining practices.
Choosing Fairtrade or Fairmined ensures that no contamination of local waterways takes place, all mines are operated in a sustainable way and the health and safety of the miners and their families is paramount.
All Fairtrade and Fairmined pieces will bear the appropriate stamp next to their hallmark.
Anna uses certified Fairtrade gold as standard in all of her stock pieces – although some speculative bespoke pieces may be created from 100% recycled metals due to the nature of workshop practice.
Anna uses certified Fairmined sterling silver as standard in all of her stock pieces however she will occasionally use 100% recycled sterling silver due to the nature of workshop practice.
Platinum and palladium
As there is currently no independent certification available for either platinum or palladium Anna uses 100% recycled metals as standard
Chains and findings
Likewise, there is currently no independent certification standard available for chain and findings however progress is being made so watch this space!
Customers’ own materials
Anna is always happy to recycle and remodel materials from customers’ own heirloom pieces, with the exception of ivory and coral. Do get in touch directly should you wish to discuss such a project.
Presentation boxes and stationery
Anna sources her leather packaging from a group of artisan craftspeople in Bangladesh. Each box is handmade in small workshops creating employment opportunities which enable the workers to support and educate their families.
Anna’s cardboard packaging is sourced from FSC regulated forests.
All business cards and communication / promotional stationary is comprised of either recycled material or FSC regulated material.
Recyclable or biodegradable postage and packaging materials are still an area of development
Anna is also a founding member of jewellery action group Fair Luxury - an independent group of change makers within the UK jewellery industry. Fair Luxury’s main objective is to bring together pioneering figures from both the jewellery and fashion worlds and question the ways in which they approach provenance and sustainability by examining the journey from original source to end consumer.
Anna welcomes any discussion and questions on her ethical polices and is committed to best practice both as a jeweller and as a human being. As such Anna offers full disclosure on materials and sources, even when the ‘best-case scenario’ materials aren’t available.
LAST UPDATED JULY 2018