Journal: Emma Grace
Sustainable Jewellery: My Approach
There are many possible paths one could follow towards developing a more sustainable jewellery practice: working with found objects, using old jewellery, recycled metals, ‘Green Gold’, or natural materials.
Another way we could make this shift would be to think more broadly about our practice – adding ‘ideas’ and ‘services’ to the catalogue of ‘products’ that we sell. This was my thinking behind The Treasury. This initiative excited me from a sustainability point of view as it was a ‘service’ not a ‘product’, used the skills and materials I already had, and directly involved the broader community.
Ultimately, we aren’t going to be able to make significant change without the right conversations and action. I think we need to have a conversation about what ‘sustainable jewellery’ is, how this would look in stores and, more importantly, how we could help people form a true picture of what sustainability actually means.
As a next step, I’m currently working with an intern from the Monash Sustainability Institute to find out the best way to make my jewellery and business more sustainable. I’m undertaking a thorough exploration of my energy usage, my studio set-up and habits, and the materials, chemicals, tools and other things I use to make my jewellery.
Armed with this information, I aim to continuously improve my practice and reduce the impact of my business. An important step I will be taking next involves talking to my suppliers in order to find out more about what they’re selling and where it comes from. If other jewellers are interested in adding their names to this information request, please get in touch here as I’d be very happy to hear from you.
As contemporary jewellers I feel we are starting on good footing: our production is small scale and mostly local; pieces are made to last; care is taken to save and reuse off-cuts and filings of precious metals; and there is good public awareness of the worth of the labour and quality of materials that go into our craft.
But I am interested in exploring the potential for a bigger shift. It is important to me to show that jewellery can be sustainable—with minimal environmental impacts and positive social outcomes—without compromising creative integrity; that it can be sustainable and also beautiful.