“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process, heal our own – indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder.” ~ Wangari Maathai
As the world becomes more in tuned with the planet’s plight, more industries have chosen to make the commitment to Going green. The jewellery industry is no different. Interestingly, the designers have taken different approaches to help create a culture of sustainability. While they are making a conscientious effort to either embracing or saving nature, they also place high emphasis on the aesthetics and design of the jewellery. Today, we’ll look at three ways designers have incorporated nature into their design:
After a mad rush to establish the concrete jungle, we’ve started to realise just how much of an impact nature has on our physical and emotional wellbeing. Being in nature, or viewing scenes of it, can lift your mood and even reduce stress, muscle tension and blood pressure. Thus, these designers were inspired by nature and incorporated real foliage and flowers into their design.
Ocean Petals Art Studio by Jasenka created a collection of botanical pieces that are rustic and feminine. Being an avid gardener, Jasenka grows and collects all the tiny elements that she works with – such as bark and foliage fragments – from her family garden in a sustainable way. Whilst in university she studied Botany, Forestry and Horticulture, where she learnt the art of drying and pressing flowers. To create her jewellery, she preserves them in eco resin to create the intricate pieces. By using this form of resin, she keeps the jewellery eco-friendly while achieving the visual result.
Erin LaRocque chose to get her materials through foraging for foliage and wood in Michigan’s Hiawatha National Forest. Because she isn’t manipulating the vegetation, there isn’t an identical pendant within the collection. Just like Jasenka, she also works with resin to preserve her unique findings. She showcases her handmade creations under her online shop her shop BuildWithWood.
Then there are the designers who want their customers to interact with living, growing plants. Passion Flower Made created botanical jewellery by incorporating succulents into the jewellery design. Designer, Susan McLeary, models succulents taken from her garden and creates statement pieces which can stay fresh for up to three weeks. Of course, you’ll need to take care of the creation in the same way you would with your house plants. After that, the client can gently peel them off the jewellery and repot them so that they can continue to thrive. The jewellery underneath is also designed to be a strong stand-alone; giving the client two for the price of one.
Icelandic designer Hafsteinn Juliusson had a similar idea and created the Growing Jewellery. This limited-edition collection incorporated moss into handmade pieces fashioned from silver. When well maintained, which includes watering and trimming the moss, the plant can stay green for up to 12 weeks. The clash between organism and couture was in an effort to bring people in metropolitan cities closer to nature.
Recycling & Upcycling
Our need for instant gratification means we’re going through products faster than ever before. But what happens to your discarded TVs, mobile phone, or computer. Most likely, it ends up in a landfill further contributing to the waste management problem. However, what if it could be broken down and given a second life in jewellery?
Recycled Beautifully was started by Celina Ortiz and her husband to create wire jewellery from spare TV parts. The ‘Tree of Life’ necklaces use cooper and aluminium wires that are found in older versions of TV sets. They are then wrapped around a variety of stones such as agate, opal and turquoise to fashion pendants.
Gulnur Ozdagar turned to the most readily available waste-material to create jewellery; PET bottles. Their stellar range of luminous pieces features everything from crowns and earrings to hairpins and necklaces that are all made from upcycling these bottles.
Designed by Amanda Preske, the jewellery pieces are made from recycled circuit boards from calculators, mobile phones, monitors, office telephones and computers. Through her company, Circuit Breaker Labs, she makes cufflinks, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings that show intricate circuit board details. It’s then housed in a vintage-inspired or recycled silver casing and finished with domed epoxy resin to magnify the circuit board.
Done with your novel? Why not make a necklace out of it? Statement Paper shop makes statement piece such as monochromatic chokers out of recycled book pages. By layering precisely cut circular paper elements they can craft the adjustable string necklace that’s available with different colour accents.
Jewellery artist, Dana Hakim Bercovich, gets her inspiration from the metal mesh of speakers. This mesh, which is designed to protect the internal components of the speaker, is moulded to create brooches, necklaces, earrings and bracelets of beautiful geometric shapes.
You’re design process can already be green, but some designers decide to take it a step further. They either contribute money or resources towards environmental initiatives or try they literally get their hands dirty for more greenery.
Brilliant Earth specialises in engagement rings that are ethically and sustainably made. Apart from using conflict-free diamonds, which are sourced from only ethical mines that observe strict environmental and labour standards, they also work with recycled diamonds and lab created ones too. In addition, they’ve partnered with the environmental non-profit One Sky and the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone to restore land that was ravaged by unregulated mining to organic agriculture practices. You can see the full extent to their values and commitments here.
Pame Designs is a fan-favourite among Hollywood celebrities. Its collection of bracelets, rings, earrings and necklaces are designed by Pam Sweeny from sustainable materials that carry meaning and invite conversation. With the aim of preserving and protecting oceans and rivers, she donates a portion of all sales to organisations such as Surfrider and Waterkeeper Alliance.
Nueva in the Spanish language means new. Thus, Anueva Jewellery works with recycled gemstone, gold and silver to create their eco-friendly product. In addition, with each purchase made, designer Jennifer Vinje donates to Plant-It 2020. This organisation plants trees in no-logging zones.
While we’re still talking about reforestation, One Happy Leaf is a jewellery brand that follows the one piece = one tree planted philosophy. In fact, the brand is on a mission to plant one million trees by 2023. designed & created by Anna Anagno, who is a trained environmental scientist, the collection is made from quality eco-friendly bamboo.This list of designers is not at all exhaustive of the initiatives on the ground. Nonetheless, they are all doing their part to make a difference. How will you make your design greener today? “It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference.” ~ Wangari Maathai Click To Tweet