conscious fashionTuesday, June 15, 2021

Get to Know Our Top Five Sustainable Jewellery Brands


Here at FARFETCH, we’re committed to sourcing the world’s finest pieces, including the crème de la crème of jewellery. And over the years, we’ve come to the realisation that precious stones and metals shine brighter when they’re ethically sourced and sustainably made – hence, we stock a slew of sustainable jewellery brands on our platform, some of which you will already be familiar with.


To help you get genned up on the most ethically sourced bijouterie about, we spoke to five of our favourite sustainable jewellery brands about their process, pieces and outlook. Prepare to learn all about Fairmined gold, lab-grown diamonds, recycled metals and more. 


Pippa Small


Why is sustainability important to your brand?


I studied anthropology, so I spent many years working with small traditional societies, understanding human rights, land rights, biodiversity and the link between cultural diversity and the environment. I found it all so fascinating, but I was also alarmed by the impact of our consumerist society. 


When I started designing, I decided to work alongside these small communities – including the San Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert, Batwa Pygmies in Rwanda, the Mapuche Indians in Chile and the Kuna in Panama. I wanted to create jobs that would help affirm their cultural identity and commitment to heritage. 


Additionally, it’s been great to provide refugees from conflict areas such as Afghanistan and Myanmar with jobs. Not only does this give the refugees better quality of life and standard of living, but it also helps us secure the cleanest, rawest materials – in essence, it’s a win-win situation.


What steps do you take to ensure your brand is sustainable?


We know every step that’s taken to source our gems in Myanmar and Fairmined gold in Bolivia, and we try our best to make it a fair process for all. We want to make sure that the story of each person involved in the process is encapsulated in each piece – that's the secret to the beauty of our jewellery.


Additionally, we are cutting down our use of plastic packaging as we move towards using reusable fabric pouches, and we're constantly raising money for causes such as Survival International who work to protect the land of vulnerable tribal people and for Afghanistan to help its people survive the ongoing COVID crisis.



Please talk us through one of your Positively Conscious pieces available on FARFETCH.


Speaking of charities, I’m so thrilled that FARFETCH is supporting our work with Turquoise Mountain, an arts foundation that aids people in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. In case you’re not familiar with Turquoise Mountain, it's a charity that promotes and protects the traditional crafts industry. 


For our latest collaboration with the charity, we’ve used ethically sourced gold and spinel from Mogok, Myanmar. I particularly love the shell pendants we’ve created out of 18kt yellow gold which, in our opinion, is best worn as a necklace.


Stephen Webster


Why is sustainability important to your brand?

Sustainability is at the core of Stephen Webster as we believe that fine jewellery should be impeccably crafted and always stand for something. 


Our brand philosophy is to build a business that’s led by a mission to operate sustainably, that supports both our environment and the wellbeing and safety of our communities – from our internal team members to our suppliers and beyond.


As a father of two daughters, it’s a priority that we measure what we do today to build a more sustainable world for future generations. 


What steps do you take to ensure your brand is sustainable? 

We understand that sustainability is a journey, not a destination – there are always improvements to be made, but it’s paramount to embrace these challenges. We take conscious steps to ensure our brand remains sustainable; we even have an in-house green team who voluntarily come together to identify and implement sustainable solutions. 


To begin, we only work with suppliers with the highest standards – each commits to our environmental and ethical codes of conducts. We make sure that all of our gold and silver is 100% recycled and all of our diamonds are certified suppliers of the Kimberley Process Scheme.


We seek to avoid, reduce, recycle and reuse wherever possible. In 2019, we launched RESET: a recycling design service that transforms unworn jewellery into new pieces to avoid extracting more precious materials from mines. We are conscious about our waste management and have been recognised with Gold Status from First Mile.


Internally, our brand’s sustainable goals align with the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals – a universal call to action to protect the planet and the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.


And, finally, our marketing materials and packaging are FSC certified as we solely use materials that are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Recently, we pledged to lower our overall company emissions to be net-zero by 2023.  


Please talk us through one of your Positively Conscious pieces available on FARFETCH.

Stephen Webster’s Dynamite Shattered Earrings are crafted using 100% recycled 18kt yellow Gold with Kimberley Process certified, tapered baguette-cut and trilliant cut white diamonds (1.80ct). Each piece is created with respect for the environment and the people involved – aforementioned, we believe that fine jewellery should not only be impeccably crafted, but it should also stand for something. 




Why is sustainability important to your brand?


Sustainability has always been at the heart of our vision – ever since Dorothée Contour co-founded JEM 10 years ago with an eagerness to create meaningful pieces and display beauty through powerful design and forward-thinking values. 


JEM was born after we met Columbia’s small mining communities who were re-organising the way they work to meet the strictest standards of eco-responsible artisanal gold mining. During this encounter, we realised the reality of the social and environmental issues that come with gold mining. The gold mining industry is made up of 60 million people worldwide, many of which live in harsh conditions, put themselves at risk and do not receive decent pay. 


It was inspiring to see people fighting against inequality and finding ways to make a change in the world; so much so, it inspired us to share their beautiful story through collections of fine jewellery. Using our brand and products, we continuously seek new ways to improve the industry and the world. 


What steps do you take to ensure your brand is sustainable? 


Precious jewels will always retain their value to us humans, especially those that are passed down through generations. We’re always looking for new ways to improve our procedures to ensure they’re as sustainable and ethical as possible. 


We have four sustainable commitments directly linked to the production of our jewellery – the first two being our commitment to exclusively using fairmined gold and lab-grown diamonds, the third being our commitment to traceability and the fourth being our commitment to craftsmanship. To expand on the latter, our French workshop is dedicated to crafting jewellery that will appear perennially beautiful to encourage our customers to invest in forever pieces. 


Additionally, our packaging is eco-friendly (it’s free of plastic and entirely recyclable) and our boutique incorporates a myriad of ethically sourced interior design choices.



Please talk us through one of your Positively Conscious pieces available on FARFETCH.


For our most recent collection, Étreintes, our designer Pauline Deltour drew inspiration from the architectural work of Imi Knoebel, Oscar Niemeyer and Richard Serra. In particular, The pure lines of the Étreintes pieces are inspired by Richard Serra's metal sculptures and minimalist outlines that challenge people to think about its purpose. 


Focusing on this Étreintes ring in particular, we use Fairmined Gold and lab-grown diamonds. The lab-grown diamonds offer a beautiful, positive alternative to supporting the out-of-control practice of diamond mining. The new generation diamond combines the best of nature and science to create an eternal stone that shines just as bright as mined diamonds.




Why is sustainability important to your brand?

True luxury comes when you know the handprint of your supply chain, and we’re particularly proud of our gold sourcing programme. Being in a profitable business and practising good stewardship of environmental and social justice is essential. 


In 2013, we launched our in-house multi-year program: The Journey to Sustainable Luxury. As we're committed to responsible sourcing and helping the overlooked members of the supply chain, we started by forging a philanthropic relationship with The Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM). This partnership aims to directly help gold mining communities to achieve Fairmined certification and provide training, social welfare and environmental support. 


From then on, we created several watches and jewellery lines crafted from responsibly sourced materials – the first being the High Jewellery Green Carpet Collection that we unveiled during the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.


In 2018, we reached a special milestone by becoming the first watch and jewellery maison to commit to using 100% ethical gold for the production of all of our watch and jewellery pieces. It’s a bold commitment, but one that we must pursue if we’re to make a difference in the lives of people who make our business possible. 


What steps do you take to ensure your brand is sustainable? 

In 2018, we announced that 100% of our gold supply would be ethical from that point forward. Ever since, we’ve lived up to our promise and solely relied on responsible artisanal gold from Barqueros – a community of gold miners in El Chocó, Colombia’s second-largest gold producing region – and recycled gold sources from RJC Chain of Custody suppliers.


I'm proud to say that we’ve been able to achieve this significant milestone because my father, more than 40 years ago, had the right idea to develop a vertically integrated in-house production system in order to master all crafts internally. Today, thanks to our state-of-the-art gold foundry – first set up in 1978 – we’re able to increase the control and traceability of our recycled gold. 


Regarding our steel, our wish for innovative materials and techniques led to a four-year research programme to develop the new Lucent Steel A223 – made from 70% recycled materials in a state-of-the-art workshop located in Austria. One major pro is that the process minimises the carbon footprint of shipping materials to Chopard's Swiss workshops. 


To contribute to the numerous challenges associated with the responsible sourcing of coloured gemstones, we joined the Coloured Gemstones Working Group (CGWG) in 2019 – a unique alliance between the world's leading luxury jewellery brands and gemstone mining companies. 


In collaboration with the CGWG, we recently announced the launch of the Gemstones and Jewellery Community Platform: an open resource centre for the gemstone and jewellery industry created to catalyse positive change. We still have a long way to go to improve sustainable practises in the field of coloured stones, but the work being undertaken is making real progress.


Finally, within our production process, we aim to minimise our environmental impact by managing energy usage and water resources efficiently, ensuring that our packaging is recyclable and recycling pre-consumer waste materials. 


Please talk us through one of your Positively Conscious pieces available on FARFETCH.

The Happy Hearts Golden Hearts collection is a special collaboration between Chopard and the new James Bond movie, No Time To Die. We used this opportunity to share my vision of the determined and courageous James Bond woman – she is a symbol of love and luck who is reflected through light, easy-to-wear rose-gold jewellery pieces. 


Yoko London


Why is sustainability important to your brand?

We feel a duty to take responsibility for our actions and our ancestor’s actions, and take steps to protect and safeguard our planet. As a third-generation family-run business, this is extremely important to us – we want to tell our children and grandchildren that our brand is aware of its social responsibility and strives to improve our sustainable practice wherever possible. This is particularly true for our pearl harvesting regime which relies on pearl farms that allow oysters to thrive in the clean, beautiful water. 


What steps do you take to ensure your brand is sustainable?

Our sustainability journey is ever-evolving. In 2021, we made some bold steps forward in terms of our commitment to sustainability. In April 2021, we guaranteed that a minimum of 50% of the gold used in all our future jewellery production would be recycled, and 100% of our unused gold will be recycled. 


Also, we source all of our precious metals from responsible suppliers who have been audited by organisations such as the Responsible Mining Initiative and the London Bullion Market Association. This commitment minimises waste and reduces our CO2 emissions. Plus, we guarantee that every diamond used in our pieces is conflict-free and adheres to the requirements outlined by the Kimberley Process. 


Please talk us through one of your Positively Conscious pieces available on FARFETCH.

The earrings from our Sleek collection are crafted using at least 75% recycled 18kt gold. The Japanese akoya pearls featured in the earrings have been matched, graded and mounted by hand in Yoko London’s UK workshop, which minimises our carbon footprint and ensures we maintain total control over our manufacturing process. Designed to be worn anytime, anywhere, these striking earrings hold the power to elevate any outfit.


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