I admit it, what motivates me every day to make sustainable jewellery is not that it’s better for the planet. Yes I do think it’s important to do all we can to protect our ecosystems, cease exploiting workers, and prevent the world drowning in pollution and waste. But if I thought about that all the time I would get too angry and sad. Like a lot of people at the moment, I have reached peak bad news. At some point you have to turn the radio off and do the best you can with what you’ve got.
Luckily for me, since I’ve already made the decision to make sustainable jewellery, I don’t need to keep reminding myself of the very serious reasons why. Instead, I find pleasure in the extra challenges making sustainable jewellery brings. Having to put all that additional thought and care into creating something makes me and my jewellery feel so much more alive.
The feeling is like lighting a candle instead of switching on the light.
Sourcing: Sustainable jewellery style
I found a beautiful string of rose quartz in an antique shop near my home (for now in Brno in the Czech Republic) yesterday. They are beads you want to cradle in your hands and ponder, their colour a downy blush: a true child’s treasure. I chatted with the owner in my limited Czech and before I paid she looked round her shop for, ‘A gift, a gift,’ a little painted wooden box to pack it in instead of a bag.
Combing antique shops and vintage markets is not the most efficient gemstone sourcing method in the world, but while rose quartz mines are causing devastation in the forests of Madagascar, South Africa and Brazil, and stone cutting factories in India support poor working conditions and even child labour, it’s the best method I have. It’s also pretty joyful.
Beautiful inside and out
Making something sustainable is the antidote to thoughtless business as usual. It takes inventiveness and often means ‘doing without’ until you find the right supplier or material or process. And when you’ve thought about and taken the time to make something that is beautiful from beginning to end, inside and out, it takes on a new, living quality. It actually starts to mean something.
Our world is so full of dead things. Things that are easy to come by and easy to get rid of. We have so much but we feel disconnected, tired, left out of the flow or carried along too fast. The sustainable movement is one way I find I can reconnect. When I buy other sustainable products, I’m glad that their impact on the world is kept to a minimum, but what gives me real pleasure is that someone somewhere put a lot of thought and care into how they were made. They carry that energy and they make me feel more alive whenever I use them.
I wonder what it is that persuades you to shop sustainably, or make sustainable things if you have a business? I’d love to know your thoughts.