Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Can Jewelry Be Green?


Ever since the Kimberley Process came into being, jewelers have had the option of purchasing conflict free diamonds. This particular certification scheme has kept rebel movement from using rough diamonds to finance violence against legitimate governments. It is also been instrumental in reducing the violence against citizens of these countries. These humanitarian movements seem to have had an influence on jewelry manufacturers’ methods.


John Hardy crafts new pieces from old jewelry
This begs the questions on whether or not consumers give consideration to jewelry that has been produced more ethically minded. Most consumers are familiar with diamonds that are sourced from validated mines but how far should a manufacturer go to ensure that the jewelry they produce and distribute meets the consciousness of the general market? Does using recycled material make the jewelry piece more desirable to consumers?


While large companies tout their searches for sustainable material, validated mines and recycled material, there are small designers who also work directly with the silversmiths. These small designers, such as Michael Schofield, work with families of silversmith who produce his jewelry. They use traditional methods and handcraft beautiful pieces. To me this is just as important as what the large companies are doing because Michael is preserving a lost art.

Melissa Joy Manning uses ecologically mined stones
Large companies work hard at making themselves look good. Catchphrases such as ethical mining practices and sustainability grab consumers’ attention. Michael Schofield is doing something just as important. He works with silversmiths who use ancient techniques to product his pieces. Few craftsmen are able to product jewelry using these methods and without Michael bringing these pieces to market; these methods could die out due to a lack of buyers. So while jewelry can be green or sustainable or even ethical it can also preserve art and look beautiful doing it.
Michael Schofield & Company works with silversmiths who utilize old world techniques to product brilliantly intricate cuffs, Gold Vermeil Filigree Cuff

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