Why have a Green Mission?
Hello, I am Charlotte Robinson creator of Husk Jewellery. I have a deep connection to nature and respect for the materials I have the honour of crafting from. The qualities of these precious materials are in themselves a source of inspiration, from their appearance to the process in which they are worked. The downside to this, like most man made products is the impact which it has on the environment, and the people who can be exploited along the supply chain. Since all jewellery is made by me in my London studio there is at least one link in the supply chain I have complete control of and I intend to keep it this way. Aside from that I need to rely on the integrity of my suppliers as I do not have the resources to visit factories or mines myself. On this page I will go into detail about how I came to select my suppliers and other actions I am taking towards responsible sourcing and studio practice. I have no secrets and happy to share tips with other jewellers as well as welcome suggestions as it is so important we all be part of the conversation. I will keep this page regularly updated as I continue to educate myself so do check back.
Mining metals by nature is not a sustainable process and chemicals used can be extremely harmful for the environment as well as people if not used correctly. I therefore ensure all jewellery is made from recycled sterling silver which is sourced from Bellore Rashbel in Hatton Garden, exception of some findings and pre-made chains. When working in gold I can source Fairtrade or recycled gold on request; I mainly gold plate silver, and am currently looking for a plater who uses Fairtrade or recycled gold. I collect and recycle all scrap metal and dust.
You may have noticed me mention 'traceable gemstones' so what exactly does this mean and why is it important? Mining for gemstones is not a sustainable process, these natural beauties take millions of years to form before they are extracted from the ground. Having said that, for many mining communities across the globe it is an important source of income that can be a route out of poverty. It is not so simple as to divest money away from the gemstone industry but instead we can make a change by paying miners and gem cutters a fair wage. With this support they will have the resources to follow green initiates, look after the safety of their staff and invest in an alternative income once the mines have dried up. Many wholesale dealers selling cheap gemstones have been able to do so by exploiting people along the supply chain. They have often passed through so many hands there are no assurances about the conditions in which they were mined or cut, not to mention the huge carbon footprint that would have accumulated. Those who trade traceable gemstones know the provenance of each stone and only source from those with responsible practices. Sadly there is no clear certification to guarantee this so we need to rely on trusted sources. Please see links below to some I use:
The 'Solstice Collection' and 'Elements Collection' features stones sourced entirely from Gemstones Brazil. They were mined in Veredinha Mine in Vale do Jequitinhonha and cut nearby in Tefilo Otoni. Gemstones Brazil trade stones from their family owned mines in Minas Gerais so they can guarantee the health and wellbeing of their staff. They also source a variety of gemstones from other mining cooperatives in the region that they have longstanding relationships with. When it comes to bespoke pieces, I have a number of other gemstone suppliers both locally and around the globe who are making a very positive impact in this area so I will always encourage clients to pay that little bit extra for a traceable stone.
Print & Packaging
All packaging is sourced from The Tiny Box Company who create packaging from 40% recycled boxboard and are themselves recyclable. The company also make every effort to reduce their carbon footprint and have won numerous green business awards. I keep packaging to a minimum and ensure everything can either be kept or recycled. This also goes for my printed goods too and I use Moo Cards cotton business cards made from 100% recycled T-Shirt scraps.
Tools and Consumables
Some chemical compounds used the in the jewellery making process to solder, clean and polish metals can be harmful to the environment and to humans. Since everything is made by me in my London studio I make sure to wear protective clothing, goggles, gloves and air filtration masks when needed and dispose of any chemical waste using the correct guidelines. After recently discovering the Ethical Making resource website for The Incorporation of Goldsmiths I have found eco-friendly alternatives to some chemicals which I will use going forward. I would love to share with any jewellers out there a natural Pickle recipe I found.
Materials to make jewellery are shipped from all over the world, creating a carbon footprint before the making has even begun. In the studio electricity is needed for lights, heating and some tools but since I am a small operation working from home this reduces the impact somewhat. I offset my carbon footprint is by donating 5% of my sales to TreeSisters, a global network of women who donate monthly to fund the restoration of our tropical forests.
TreeSisters is a non-profit organisation aiming to radically accelerate tropical reforestation by engaging the unique feminine consciousness, gifts and leadership of women everywhere and focusing it towards global action. TreeSisters are planting over a million trees a year, and they are now calling for women to plant a billion trees a year, by becoming a Treesister and contributing monthly to tropical reforestation. You can read all about the tree-planting projects below: