In order for things to qualify as “durable” specific criteria must be met and it is no different when it comes to the jewelry we wear. Sustainable jewelry can be labeled as such based on responsible sourcing of raw materials, use of recycled metals or other recycled materials, production deemed ‘clean’, brand using offsets of carbon or if the company guarantees ethical working conditions for its supplier partners.
With more and more consumers looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I’ve rounded up three fine jewelry brands that should definitely be on your radar.
Aurate New York
Founded in 2015 by Bouchra Ezzahraoui and Sophie Kahn, Aurate New York’s mission is to democratize fine jewelry and eliminate intermediaries through its online business model, accessible prices and social impact strategy.
“Our jewelry is designed to be fit for the women who wear it, whether it’s her everyday classics or something she might reserve for a special occasion,” Ezzahraoui tells me when I ask her. how she would describe the brand to those who don’t know. “We love versatility, so you can wear our pieces alone or layered and stacked for a bolder statement. All of our designs are made from ethically sourced materials and to the highest standards to ensure our parts stand the test of time through daily wear and tear. Not only are they beautiful, but you can really feel that high quality when you put them on.
When I ask the couple where they find their inspiration for their collections, Kahn tells me, “We are constantly inspired by our surroundings, whether it’s the Brooklyn Bridge, an ornate doorknob or an object. of family. Especially being founded and based in New York City, we find there is no shortage of inspiration in the daily life of this city.
Sustainability is a cornerstone for Aurate. “There are a lot of ugly practices in jewelry, so from the start we decided to change that by making sustainability a core part of Aurate,” says Ezzahraoui. “We only use 100% recycled gold and buy our diamonds, gemstones and pearls ethically to ensure the well-being of our suppliers and the environment. “
The duo feel lucky because, unlike many other companies, Aurate has so far been profitable during the pandemic. “Even if it’s a bit crazy, the pandemic has done more good than harm to Aurate,” Kahn shares. “COVID has essentially propelled the forces we have always believed in: the power of e-commerce / online, the power to be sustainable, and the power to be directly with the consumer and maintain close communication with your community. The result for 2020 is that we have been able to grow tremendously and we are also achieving profitability. “
Ezzahraoui adds, “In the new year we will certainly be pushing hard on the digital front, but we are also excited to get our retail outlets back to normal. We have big plans for 2021, but knowing how this year has unfolded we are poised to change direction with any missteps that could happen along the way. “
Indira New York
Launched last fall, Indira offers consumers a sustainable and affordable option to diamonds traditionally mined with the brand’s lab-grown diamonds. Founded by Mohit Mehta, from several generations of families involved in the diamond trade (including designer Carolina Cordón-Bouzáng who founded Montserrat NYC), Indira is a tribute to Mehta’s grandmother, Indira Rameshchandra Mehta
“Growing up in Mumbai, India, in a Gujarati family with years of diamond experience around me, family, friends and community conversations over the past five years have fluctuated around lab-grown diamonds. ” Mehta tells me when I ask her what inspired the jump to lab-grown diamonds. “By researching the direct-to-consumer diamond and jewelry industry and researching users, we have found a niche for a brand of high quality, affordable diamond jewelry. Now is the time for a brand that can respond to the modern, diverse and socially conscious consumer who is left out of the traditional diamond jewelry equation.
Mehta believes lab-grown diamonds are the future because of their affordability, chemical purity, and they don’t come at the expense of a mine. Mehta explains, “They are not exclusively the future, because natural diamonds will always have a place in the market, where that final resting place will be determined by a number of different factors, including the future consumer. Natural diamonds will always have their place in the luxury market. The lab-grown diamond industry is nascent and still has a long way to go in terms of sustainability, but it is the basis of the future consumer. In addition to using lab-grown diamonds, the brand is currently implementing carbon offsets for its entire supply chain.
Currently, Indira offers a range of earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets with the intention of expanding their offering this year. “We will continue to develop our collection over the next year, launching floating nails among other minimalist designs,” Mehta shares. “On top of that, our main focus will be on finding our sweet spot as an Indo-Western brand bringing Indian inspired designs to our New York-based brand for the daily hustle and bustle. All high jewelry jewelry has one thing in common, the nostalgia to be passed down from generation to generation. Indira wants to strive to create jewelry that my grandmother would be proud to pass on to her future generations.
Sisters Christina, mechanical engineer, and Gina Senia, major in finance, have teamed up to launch SENIA, a brand focused on designing modern, modular heirloom jewelry with a focus on sustainability. Launched last fall, the brand offers customizable stackable rings with a variety of conflict-free gemstones, hoops that can be worn in over 50 combinations, a chain that can be worn in three ways, and custom design options for pieces. unique. —All made from 100% recycled gold and silver.
The idea for the brand was born while Christina was looking for a graduation ring in 2016, during her senior year at Vanderbilt. “I researched history and found that the tradition was created in the 1800s by men and for men, before women could even go to college,” Christina tells me. “Times have definitely changed, so why haven’t our rings changed? This inspired me to start designing our first Halo collection of customizable Roman numeral rings to commemorate special dates and numbers.
Christina used the same design software that she used in her mechanical engineering classes to manufacture auto parts and medical devices to design the brand’s first parts. “When I founded SENIA, I started to approach jewelry design from an engineering perspective and created one of the most versatile modular earring sets on the market, our earrings patent pending Infinity earrings that can be worn over 50 ways. “
After years of design, the pair smoothly launched their brand in the spring of 2020 at the height of the pandemic – a move they say was prompted by family and friends looking for ways to celebrate missed events. . Christina continues, “In the fall of 2020, we launched to the public and sold our Infinity earrings in 24 hours. In the first month, we launched a charity fund for various founders, the Student Innovation Fund, and hired over 20 interns who had lost opportunities due to the pandemic. ”
When I ask what modular jewelry is, Christina explains, “Modular jewelry design transcends time, age and gender, allowing the wearer to create multiple personalized looks without the cost and environmental impact. . Transformability is the cure for meeting society’s inherent need for novelty without the environmental and financial repercussions of fast fashion. Modular fashion allows for versatility when it comes to style, inclusivity of size with less SKUs, environmental sustainability and, most importantly, allows the consumer to become the designer.
Gina adds: “Our pieces are more transformable than just modular in a way. We have just launched a line of modular chains with bracelets and anklets that can be combined to form necklaces. Our chain rings can be worn in three ways on the hand and used to create a lariat or extend the Infinity earring set. This year we’re launching a ton of new products, which will be our most multifunctional yet. A particular piece can be worn on the ear, neck and hand. We are also in the process of designing our first version of modular clothing, which will intersect with jewelry. Currently, SENIA is aimed directly at consumers, but the founders plan to partner with a selected retailer in the future.