Why sustainable jewelry?
Julia, May 2020
Why sustainable jewelry?
Let’s be honest, I had no clue as well.
Before my education as a goldsmith, I had never heard anything bad about jewels and their resources. Only in the middle of my education, I was confronted with the truth.
Gemstone and Gold Mining (silver is usually a byproduct of gold mining) are causing:
-Deforestation of the rain forests
-Contamination of water and
-Huge stone deserts after mining, where NOTHING AT ALL will ever grow again, not even the tiniest plant.
Just imagine that for a second. How much do you have to damage the soil to make it so dead?
Massive parts of the rainforest and its inhabitants murdered, for some luxury on our hands?
Here https://sciencing.com/facts-5218981-effects-gold-mining-environment.html you find an article with some more details about the effects of gold mining, or you simply search for „gold mining environmental impact“ and you’ll find lots of further information.
The topic is well known meanwhile. But is it reaching the customers? That's my aim with this article and I hope once you found out the truth, you’ll spread the word about it as well. It’s the responsibility of all of us to change our consuming behavior if we don't want to see deforestation of the rain forest, water contamination and child labor in this field anymore.
Me personally, when I heard about these things, I couldn’t believe it. And to be honest, I was even considering to quit my education.
How could anyone close their eyes to such a nightmare behind shining, beautiful things? How could I work like that and still look in the mirror?
Fortunately, I had a woman like an angel coming along my way. She told me that especially me, I will not quit, it is not an option, because the trade needs people like me. Desperately. How right she was back then.
Still it took me many years including a long break from jewelry to rewire and sort things out. And it actually then just happened like a miracle. The Universe was again jumping in and brought me to the perfect material to work with.
I was meanwhile teaching Yoga in the South of Morocco, a small Surfers' village at the Atlantic coast. And on those beaches, for the first time ever, I found special pieces of sea glass -old broken glass of humans which found their way into the Sea and came back out again silky and smooth- in the most beautiful bright turquoise color.
Of course I had seen blue and white sea glass before, but this turquoise was something special for me. It got me hooked. I wanted to make something out of it. My head started creating pictures of rings with this turquoise sea glass inside and my phantasy was going wild. Such a beautiful color. Treasures of the Sea. Jewels by Ocean!
Like this, I came to my personally best matching material. It is sustainable, eco friendly, I even do something good when I collect it away from the beach, it is connected to the Sea, which I LOVE more than anything and even though people told me in the beginning, it wouldn’t be possible, I learned by myself how to cut it, grind it and shape it into any form I want to.
No child labor. No contamination of drinking water nor deforestation.
That is how it all begun. I matched the other materials to my sustainable principles and started to make jewelry again.
I still had lots of old silver which I recycled into new wire and sheet and created the first rings. Back then under the name „Jewels by Ocean“, a name which came up with some Surfergirls after a beautiful Surf session in Morocco. Pure imagination came alive.
Later on I also wanted to have some jewelry in my collection which is casted in silver. Like, I found a little snail and wanted to have this form lasting on a necklace forever. Sustainable, never breaking. The company that I work with, is unfortunately still using new silver, because one goldsmith alone doesn't change a whole company yet, but they always get recycled silver back from me, so the whole amount which they use, I upweight in old fine silver coins to bring in more and more recycled silver. If every goldsmith did so, probably no one at all would have to use any fresh silver any more. So I’m here as well doing my part to make the whole thing more sustainable and eco friendly as good as I can.
Gold is not yet in my collection. But one thing is for sure. I know one of the most friendly local Eco-Gold suppliers and he’s gonna be the One for me, when I’m starting to do golden jewelry as well. Fair mined, eco friendly mined and fair-trade. It’s all there.
Rest assured, I will never give up on my principles. They are the base of my work and I have had them long before it became a trend and some other people were realizing how important these things are. Which a lot of us nowadays fortunately do.
When I had these issues in my education, almost 18 years ago, things were different to what they are now. No one wanted to listen. Now finally more and more people are aware, of how important it is for ALL of us, to take care of nature. It’s the planet we all live on. No nature, no humans either. It is that simple.
So I want to encourage you, whenever you can, in a peaceful way, spread the word about alternatives which are harming nature less. Our world needs that. Beautiful things which are harming nature as less as anyhow possible.
Spread the word about things you have discovered. If you see something unfair, don’t give up because you feel alone.
Humans will eventually understand. More and more. We are so many meanwhile, who care in our businesses and everyday lives about our environment.
Are you already one of us?
It’s never to late to start. And the journey is truly wonderful and full of miracles along the way.
Meanwhile, there are even fair-trade gemstones by the way. But I prefer remaining with the sea glass. I just love it so much and it's fascinating me every time a piece is readily cut and shaped. How it's capturing the light, its color, its silky surface. It has been like this from the beginning and it's still the same. Magic. Turquoise sea glass pieces here and here.