I’ve always been fascinated by small sparkly objects. As a child when I would visit my grandma, I would run to give her a big hug hello and then b-line it directly to her bedroom and open her magical red velvet jewelry box. I would try on all her rings and necklaces and come out one by one and ask if one day I could have them. My fascination probably began with all my moms blingy 80’s jewels that initially caught my eye. To which I also ransacked her jewelry box all the time… oh wait I still do!
Today I love to mix and match my precious pieces with costume jewelry, very much the same way as I do with my clothing. Many of my pieces are mixes of precious and semi precious metals and stones. I love to stack rings, bracelets and necklaces, while wearing yellow gold, brass and silver all together.
I never gave too much thought on the origin or efficacy of my pieces until recent years. Hollywood movies like, Blood Diamond, ignited those questions brewing in my mind, while in the last few years there has been a growth in small independent jewelers abroad. Whole waves of unique pieces, pendants, and styles have emerged, creating pieces far more interesting then your mass-market jewelry retail chain. Naturally, I like many are attracted to the variety of designs out there. It has also become interesting to watch the innovators who crafted individual styles and those who are mass marketing them in cheaper variations.
The jewelry industry is a very complicated one that proves challenging to trace the origins of its sources. The majority of precious metals and stones are mined in 3rd world and developing nations where ethical and sustainable regulations are not strictly enforced. Efforts to have universal certifications are making progress but still far from globalized.
Recently the BoF discussed the complications and delicacy of the industry behind the precious metals and gemstones used in the jewelry market. Needless to say the environmental and human efficacy is among the largest concerns the industry is faced with.
Never-the-less there are a number of progressive jewellers out there producing beautiful pieces at all price rangers.
Here are a few of my favs!
Her name itself sparks interest. Even if you’ve never heard of her before now, you’re probably thinking you have, the name is just to familiar and has that star like quality. That’s not far off, as her gemstones have the luster and sparkle like the night skies. Pamella’s carefully crafted collection is committed to sustainability and local production. As stated on her website, “all gemstones and semiprecious stones are ethically sourced and almost all metal used is recycled. The entire jewelry-making process, from design to sampling to full-scale production, is completed domestically with the majority of it done in-house at Pamela Love’s Manhattan studio.”
Her designs are rooted with spiritual and intuitive influence from all areas of interest: astronomy, astrology, alchemy, botany, the American Southwest, architecture, North Africa, Mexican folk art, and medieval European iconography. The result is signature pieces, easily identifiable with the Pamella aesthetic.
Pamella’s collaborated with a number of designers, which include some of my favorites as well: Suno, Mara Hoffman, Monique Péan, as well as Zadig & Voltaire, Zac Posen, JCrew and Opening Ceremony… to name a few.
Her price point varies depending on the metals and gems used ($200-1000+) but you are guaranteed to have a timeless piece in your jewelry collection.
Now that’s beautiful!
Prices range from $150-$1000+
A New York based fine jewelry brand known for its unqiue designs, avant-garde style and unconventional materials, including sustainable fossilized walrus ivory, woolly mammoth ivory and dinosaur bone. Monique Péan is committed to partnering with artisans around the world to support traditional craftsmanship and cultural heritage. Through her company, she strives to raise awareness of art, culture and global environmental issues through design. Proceeds from her jewelry sales contribute to global philanthropic organizations such as charity: water, which provides clean drinking water and basic sanitation to people in developing nations.
Second to that, Monique Péan’s ensures all materials using environmentally responsible procedures. As shared on her website in great detail, she “combines 18 carat recycles gold and platinum with conflict and devastation free precious stones, diamonds and fossils. Fossilized woolly mammoth, fossilized walrus ivory and fossilized dinosaur bones are sustainably gathered with no mining involved. The company is also a member of the No Dirty Gold campaign and a supporter of the Too Precious to Wear campaign”.
For more detail about her initiatives, please visit her website! You wont be disappointed.
Where to buy? Check out her website for full stocklist. Prices go up from $1000
A fashion conscious luxury love of mine, Maiyet produces more then just inspiring ethical and sustainable clothing designs and leather goods; they also create one of a kind jewelry pieces ethical sourced and produced. Although they come with luxury prices, they are timeless investment pieces in your jewelry collection.
Prices range from from $300-$1000+
Primarily focused on clothing, EDUN’s recent collaborations with jewelry designer, Penny Winter has brought locally sourced and African made pieces to the global market, utilizing raw stones and training local craftsman’s the art and trade.
EDUN collaborations with URU Diamonds, guarantees a 100% conflict free gem stone jeweler, focusing on rough diamonds and precious gems. They actively work in cooperation with SOS Childrens villages, which support education for children in the rural areas where the stones are sourced.
Although EDUN’s jewelry collection may be small, the conscious effort is there to work sustainably with these artisans. Creative Director Danielle Sherman, traveled to Africa to meet with both local artists before collaborating.
Prices range from $400+
A fairly recent discovery of this jeweler, I adore their unique style. Within the website they clearly outline the origins of their metals, diamonds and gemstones, which includes Canadian certified ethical diamonds from the Northern Territories, recycled and fair-minded metals, diamonds and gemstones with partnership with Tanzania Women Miner’s Association.
Helpful note: As noted on the website, “Fairmined certified miners are held to strict environmental, labor, and social and economic development standards. They are paid fair wages, work in safe environments, and mine on a small, environmentally conscious scale.”
Reasonably priced from $96- $1000+
Another recent find, Alkemie is a 100% reclaimed metal jeweler, reusing metals to create hand carved and crafted manifestations of all sorts. They use a gold and silver patina on lead and nickel free metals.
I would love to know who are your favourite socially conscious jewelry designers? Please share!!
all photos sourced from company website and photoshopped by me