Get To Know These Conscious Jewellery Brands
With a little help from our friends at leading ethical-rating body Good On You, here’s our guide to the fine watch and jewellery brands that are as good to know as they are to wear.
Research by Caitlin McDonald
Words by McKay Gurney
Drawing inspiration from the brand’s Bali workshop, John Hardy’s designs are inspired by the traditions and environment they are a part of, with a distinctive flash of LA rock culture blended in. John Hardy aims to use 100% reclaimed silver in its designs, minimising the eco-impact of mining new materials. It also melts down scrap metal for reuse. Investing in its adopted community, John Hardy’s bamboo program has seen more than 1 million seedlings planted across Bali to offset its carbon emissions, with a seedling planted for every ‘Bamboo’ collection piece purchased. The studio itself has been constructed in the middle of a rice field from a low-impact bamboo compound material, while the grounds are being returned to edible agriculture use. Image courtesy of John Hardy.
At Natalie Marie’s Sydney studio, each delicately geometric piece is handmade to order and set with semi-precious stones in candyfloss tints. Natalie Marie’s silver and most of its gold is recycled, with new gold predominantly mined on its home turf in Australia. ‘Our business model reflects our intention to create consciously, mindfully and with integrity,’ says founder Natalie Fitch. ‘We have complete control over all sourcing and manufacturing processes, ensuring that we are a minimal waste company. We are continuously looking for ways to improve our practices and minimise our footprint.’ Because the brand makes its products by hand in-house by the owner and a small team, it scores a positive labour rating on Good On You. Image courtesy of Natalie Marie.
Born in Milan in 1967, the Italian heritage jeweller Pomellato is known for its bold gold designs – especially its distinctive, chunky chains and sizeable cocktail rings defined by juicy-hued stones in unconventional cuts. 100% of Pomellato’s gold is sourced sustainably through owner Kering’s Responsible Gold Framework, and the house has also increased its use of Fairmined gold. Pomellato continues to invest in the traceability of coloured stones and diamonds, while also exploring new materials and recycling solutions. Leadership and equality are also a focus, and its Sisterhood Initiative, fronted by Chiara Ferragni, champions female empowerment. Pomellato has a robust strategy in place to reduce waste across its entire supply chain and has made a public commitment to reduce its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 50% per unit of revenue by the year 2025. Image courtesy of Pomellato.
You can see the dedicated handiwork in Retrouvaí’s covetable contemporary heirlooms. Crafted by a team of master gold-workers in downtown LA, the brand’s instantly recognisable yellow-gold signet rings and talismanic bracelets are fast becoming a Farfetch favourite. The brand recycles as much gold as possible, and for non-recycled metal works exclusively with Fairtrade sources and Fairmined gold. Founder Kirsty Stone says, ‘Our jewellery is made with integrity. We work with extremely reputable gemstone dealers both locally and abroad, while our accent diamonds are conflict-free and sourced from a single supplier.’ Image courtesy of Retrouvaí.
The contemporary fine jeweller set up shop in London in 1989 and has since gained an international dedicated fan base for his punk-edged designs and equally rebellious spirit. Earrings set with an array of precious stones in vibrant tones can take the form of anything from an emerald-studded pheasant wing design to bold, elegantly spiky cuffs. An ambassador for Fairtrade practices, eponymous founder Stephen Webster visits mines in Peru and ensures all his jewellery is made using Fairtrade gold and conflict-free diamonds. In 2016 the house was awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury in recognition of its commitments to the cause. Stephen Webster also runs a sustainable upcycling service, RESET, where pre-owned jewellery can be reformed into new pieces. Image courtesy of Stephen Webster.
WWAKE founder Wing Yau’s background in sculpture is evident in her finely formed pieces set with milky opals and stacked emeralds. Designs are made in New York using responsibly sourced materials such as pearls grown in the Tennessee River. WWAKE’s uncut stones are faceted in an ethically positive facility in China with high health standards and fair wages. Where the house has to use new materials, WWAKE contributes to health and safety education for miners and fresh water supplies. Wing says, ‘If we can design around sources with transparent supply chains and development projects for mining communities, the simple purchase of one of our rings can change lives.’ Good On You singles out the brand’s wide use of eco-friendly materials, including recycled gold. Image courtesy of WWAKE.