Under ethics, we understand the provenance of our materials and the impact of their extraction, manufacture and transport on the environment, on communities and the planet in general. It also includes our working practices, our behaviours and the tools we choose.
As we experience in our own everyday lives, 100% sustainability is not easily achieved. It is therefore very much a question of what we do, how much and how consistently to become increasingly MORE sustainable.
All VON W FINE JEWELLERY gold and silver is recycled. We also aim to be sustainable in all our practices and favour suppliers who do the same, starting with FSC certified packaging to energy efficient heating and insulation in our workshop, recycling and repurposing second hand tools, sourcing vegan alternatives for mallets and cutting compounds, using public transport or bikes for most of our travel and minimising the impact of chemicals by extending their use and finally disposing of them responsibly.
Please talk to us during the design process, so we can endeavour to source materials and gems together that will meet the highest standards for your pieces.
Our gemstones stem from dealers with distinct ethics policies, some of our stones are recycled and others are manmade. Dealers who follow an ethics code ensure that factories have been inspected by them and many are community based, providing local workers with jobs and income. Modern working practices are adhered to and modern machines improve working conditions, there is no child labour and a fair treatment of workers.
The provenance of stones, whether precious or semiprecious, is harder to navigate: They are either collected or mined by local, artisanal miners, keeping the proceeds in the community but not necessarily adhering to working or environmental standards, or by huge conglomerates, who are now obliged by law to be more sustainable. However, there is still a long way to go and the loopholes are manifold; even the Kimberley process does not guarantee fair conditions, and stones from a country of conflict can easily be brought across a border and traded from there.
Recycled gemstones can therefore be one alternative, as you are not entering the cycle of demand and supply. However, this also means less income for workers in the communities, so the choice is again not a simple one.
Manmade gemstones such as diamonds or moissanite can be another alternative. They can take much energy to produce, however, and it is important to ask how this energy is generated, and where it comes from.
Like with any inequality in the world, it is important to continue to build lasting relationships with dealers you can trust, continue to research, exert pressure on countries and dealers, as well as making your own informed choices, especially when you have a piece of jewellery made for you during which you have the most influence on the choice of the materials and processes.
At VON W JEWELLERY, we welcome your input into the process and are looking forward to creating sustainable heirlooms with you.