Ethical operations are vital to us here at Apache Rose London, and we strive to partner with global designers who source their materials responsibly, ensuring both compliance with local laws, and the wellbeing and safety of the labourers, artisans and craftsmen who all play an important role in the end product. However, sustainability of materials is also of great importance to us, and we’re always looking at how the jewellery design industry can manufacture sustainably, reducing environmental impact.
The Sustainability Challenge
The biggest obstacle standing in the way of sustainability in jewellery design is that the materials that have become synonymous with high end luxury and beauty are all limited materials sourced from the ground; metals, gemstones, diamonds, and so on.
So, does that mean that jewellery materials can’t ever be sustainable? Absolutely not. The term ‘sustainable’ is different from ‘renewable’. There’s no need to resort to renewable materials such as paper or card. In fact, any material can be sustainable as long as it minimises the negative impact on the environment and supports the development of happy, healthy, and comfortable conditions for all living things.
Here are just a few ways that materials can be used sustainably in jewellery design:
- Many jewellery designers today are partnering with international mining organisations to ensure that any materials that are sourced from the ground are giving something back to the environment from which they came. This may include designers investing in local mining communities to help generate clean water for families. Or perhaps finding other ways to assist the local communities. A great example is jewellery design brand Azuni which drives profits into the Pueblo project, who sponsor Guatemalan children and support them through their education.
- Upcycling materials is yet another great way to design sustainably in the jewellery industry, making use of existing materials and fabrics to minimise the need for mining. We instantly fell in love with the Warrior Tribal Bracelet from Sidai Designs which uses a range of pre-loved, upcycled materials that have been transformed into stunning and highly creative pieces through traditional Maasai artistry and workmanship. Each bracelet is handcrafted, and totally unique. Upcycling is a term that we are hearing more and more and it’s one that it very exciting. The premise of giving something that has run its course a new lease of life, invented as a brand new product, or given a totally new use is intriguing and gives designers an almost unlimited capacity for creativity.
- As well as upcycling, some jewellery designers today are also recycling pre-mined gemstones and diamonds from older pieces, transferring them to new designs so that they can be re-used. Using recovered gems is yet another way to minimise mining and, subsequently, reduce the impact of the jewellery industry on the environment. These pieces are becoming increasingly popular amongst consumers, who are showing growing interest in purchasing jewellery that comes with its own rich history but displayed in a different way.
‘Sustainability’; It can be a worrying word for those looking for unbeatable quality and jaw dropping artistry, but as we can clearly see from the above examples, the use of sustainable materials doesn’t have to interfere with aesthetics, beauty, or functionality. At Apache Rose London, we believe in zero compromise; we believe in partnering with amazing designers that use sustainability to enhance their art, rather than restrict it.