We are all more aware of the way our planet is in need of protection from industry and how we as business owners and consumers can help. Many of you have asked me over the years, what exactly do I do as a jewelry designer to make sure I do the least amount of damage in my everyday operations. So I thought why not write a blog about it so you can understand how I try to do my best for our planet in my studio.
Firstly I want to address the metals that I use in my jewelry. I purchase all my metal from a US wholesaler who gets their material from refiners, or recycled from previously mined silver and scrap. It isn't a perfect system, but they try to use as much reclaimed and recycled materials as possible in their products. I also do my best to use every piece of metal I can and keeping the smaller pieces in a container to be used or melted into something usable later. Any scrap I have left at the end of a year or two that I cannot use gets sold back to my wholesaler to be recycled.
I also use gemstones in my work. The gemstone industry is tricky as not every country has laws in place for ethical mining when it comes to the workers and the environment, but that is changing slowly as the outcry has gotten louder for such requirements. I try very hard to purchase my gemstones from ethical sources. I buy from countries where they have ethical practices for mining, as well as US lapidary artisans that I know also get their raw materials from ethical sources whenever I can.
Is it easy to be sure all the materials are ethically sourced, no that is impossible. However I do my best to not purchase from sources that I do not know. I also try to keep up on which countries don't have good mining practices or laws protecting workers. The beautiful thing is that even in some of those countries smaller owned mines are taking it on themselves to protect the people and planet. They are leading the way for larger ones to follow their example.
I hope this helps you understand more about my jewelry business and the industry as a whole.
As a side note good practices come at a monetary cost, which means if you can get it for cheap, there is a high probability that it was not sourced by ethical or eco-friendly sources.