I thought I would take this Earth Day to begin discussing what sustainability in jewelry means in general as well as what it means to me. This issue is vast, so I'll start with what it means to me and how Elizabeth Crandall jewelry implements sustainability practices everyday.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a beautiful, all-encompassing definition that really puts things into perspective. “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations. Sustainability is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have, the water, materials, and resources to protect human health and our environment.”
In the absence of universal jewelry industry standards and definitions, business owners/designers must take it upon themselves to seek out and implement sustainability within their jewelry businesses. This is how I do it:
Because mining precious metals is so wildly unregulated and can be permanently destructive to the environment as well as the miners, I use recycled gold & sterling silver - sourced from a Green Certified refinery with the highest environmental standards. This drastically reduces the carbon footprint as well as preventing any further unnecessary destruction of the Earth.
Ethically Sourced Stones
Gemstone mining can be a dangerous and devastating process and transparency in this field is almost non-existent. However, tracing the origins of many stones is not unheard of. Most of my stones come directly from a stone-cutter in the U.S. who, via his long-term relationships, sources his materials directly from mine owners internationally & domestically to ensure best practices are upheld.
Every piece of jewelry is lovingly handmade in Austin, Texas by skilled artisans who love what they do! By not utilizing overseas labor & importing jewelry, we are reducing costs & energy related expenditures associated with long distance sourcing as well. Furthermore, most pieces are hand-fabricated as opposed to casted in an effort to further reduce our carbon footprint.
Behind the Scenes
From manufacturing processes such as proper waste disposal & minimal energy usage to interoffice practices such as recycling paper products, using recycled packaging materials & energy efficient lighting, protecting the environment plays a major part of every process, everyday in the studio. :)
I sincerely hope that my efforts will raise awareness & inspire change.
Happy Earth Day!