Traditionally the creation of jewellery has never been too concerned with the environment or its social responsibly. Here, at my studio it's a step-by-step process of becoming fully eco.
The mining of Gold and Silver is one of the most environmentally destructive types of mining today. I'm happy to say that I'm able to sources 100% of my metal needs from recycled jewellery here in Austria.
In fact, there is enough gold above ground (already mined) to satisfy all demands of the jewelry industry for the next 50 years. Much of it sits in bank vaults and in the form of old and unused jewelry. Time to re-use and recycle!
In my studio most hazardous chemicals have been replaced by salts (Also hazardous, but they can be easily neutralised by simply adding baking soda). Gold Plating is unfortunately still chemical based.
By next year all office material and packaging will be sourced from recycled materials.
Every year I travel to India to personally source each and every stone that I work with. The stone cutting trade in India is usually carried out by low caste (but highly skilled) Hindu and Muslim families. Normally they are badly paid and they would never have contact to the end customer. I speak conversational Hindi which helps me work directly.
In 2003 Dan, Jess and I founded a social project for street kids in Varanasi. It is our belief that everyone is entitled to basic needs such as food, love, healthcare and education and this is what the project stands for. Separate to the project it is also my belief that everyone is entitled to fair pay for a fair job (even if you don't have a fairtrade sticker). I work with some of the best stone cutters in India and always insist on the highest quality of material and workmanship. When a stone cutter provides me with a perfect gem he can name his price, hands are shaken, chai is drunk and the discussion as always moves from business to lunch.
Reducing our footprint is a process. If you have any ideas on how we can go further please feel free to contact me.