We’ve been running a campaign on ethical jewellery and how sustainability is implemented in the creation process. This is the third and final part of our blog series that highlights a few of the incredible jewellery makers in our community that prioritize sustainability in their creative process.

If you missed out on our first two parts, you can catch up here:

Nancy Shafee – Flights of Fantasy

Nancy Shafee makes beautiful handmade felt products, ranging from urns to stunning brooches. She loves playing with colour and texture, always keeping a focus on the use of sustainable or recycled materials. You can shop Nancy’s gorgeous felt jewellery at our online shop.

“All my work is, by its nature, sustainable and ethical – wool, silk, cotton and bamboo fibres being renewable materials and any designs (currently not jewellery) that incorporate fabrics are made with upcycled/recycled materials.

I work entirely in natural textiles (mostly upcycled) and handmade felt using wool from non-mulesed sheep. In my case, ethical jewellery design incorporates pre-used or sustainable materials

All my felt is handmade, incorporating wool, silk and bamboo fibres – all natural fibres – and any other materials are recycled, from textiles to buttons, jewellery parts etc.

I think buyers are becoming more aware of the source and sustainability of their purchases. Therefore, it is probably something I mention now more than in the past

Ethical design and sustainability is the ONLY way I work!”

Paula Cala – Paula Cala Designs

Paula Cala spent four years studying silversmithing at college in Glasgow. She is inspired by the concept of re-creation and re-construction, always striving to create something new through transformation. You can shop Paula Cala’s unique jewellery at our online shop.

“I create jewellery inspired by the concept of RE-CREATION and RE-CONSTRUCTION. To recreate this, I chose organic forms and shapes taking elements from nature. I like to use circles as they represent the purity, a harmonic base where I place organic shapes.

All my jewellery is designed and made by myself from a workshop in Edinburgh. I mainly use 92.5 silver that has been recycled in the UK. So, I give it a second or third life. Those actions also meet with my beliefs regarding the carbon footprint that we leave on the planet. There is no mass production in my business. Every single piece is made one by one.

Being ethical in jewellery design means that the process of designing and making considers how processes impact people and the environment. Choosing materials and using methods that will reduce the footprint on the planet.

Ethical jewellery uses materials which have a traceable origin and a warranty that they have been obtained, treated and produced in a responsible way that supports local communities.

Ethical making goes beyond how raw materials are sourced. It is also important to consider the entire making process. From the chemical resources, we use in the workshop until the packaging and cards that we deliver to our customers.

I implement this being within a workshop that already implements environmentally friendly practices. I also use recycled materials as long as I can. From the silver till the tiny boxes for the jewellery.

I would like to add a paragraph extracted from www.ethicalmaking.org :

‘There is no such thing as ethical perfection. Rather than focusing on the concept of ‘going ethical’ all in one go, give yourself time to create a realistic plan. Think about what changes you can implement now and create a time frame for how your ethical making practice can develop in the future. Taking small steps and adding what you can as you go is the way to grow an ethical practice sustainably.’”

paula cala designs

Sarah-Jane Kelly – Tom Kat Creation

Sarah-Jane Kelly creates personal jewellery and accessories such as charms and trinkets. She’s another maker in the Artisanry Co. community that chooses to prioritize sustainability in her creative process. You can shop Tom Kat Creation at our online shop.

“I have always made jewellery but I needed to find out more about silver clay after getting my older children’s fingerprint charms made for me. So, I went on a course, got myself a kiln and practised A LOT. Now I can make handprints, footprints, paws and kisses as well as handwriting on to silver.

Each piece of silver jewellery is handmade by me. You, the customer, get to choose the shape and have a hand in the design process – but I make everything myself at my home. I even do the final polish by hand so that I know each piece is as perfect as it can be.  Every single piece is as unique as your fingerprint! Even if you get two charms made from the same print, they will be slightly different due to the nature of handmade.

Art Clay Silver was actually invented as part of a process to reuse and recycle the tiny pieces of silver that are used in electronic equipment, the silver (and gold).

To quote the art clay silver site:

‘Metal clay is a crafting medium consisting of very small particles of metal such as silver, gold, bronze, or copper mixed with an organic binder and water for use in making jewellery, beads and small sculptures. Originating in Japan in 1990, metal clay can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using moulds.

After drying, the clay can be fired in a variety of ways such as in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove, depending on the type of clay and the metal in it. The binder burns away, leaving the pure sintered metal. Shrinkage of between 8% and 30% occurs (depending on the product used). Alloys such as bronze, sterling silver, and steel also are available.’”

tom kat creations

Natalie Ifill – Jewellery by Eilatan

Natalie Ifill creates bespoke, made to order, and one of kind jewellery made from precious and semi-precious materials. Her brand is eco-conscious and inspired by many facets of Mother Nature.

“Being ethical, to me, mostly means having a positive effect in every link of the chain from raw materials to the end product. Whether this is socially, environmentally, or making sure workers are safe in their working environment.

Being ethical in jewellery for me takes many forms. Making sure my suppliers are ethical and eco-friendly is something very important to me. Therefore I do a lot of research into the companies I use, making sure they are reputable or can trace where they source their products from. I only want to work with companies who aren’t exploitative and have good quality products.

Once I’ve got my supplies, it’s much easier to ensure that I am sustainable and ethical in my practice as I have all the control being a one-woman business. I save all my scraps and recycle this for new projects. Many of my pieces include recycled pieces of silver. I save everything including the silver dust from file shavings and use this in my work too.

Getting high-quality materials ensures things will last a lifetime, which is my ultimate goal in minimizing throw-away culture. And lastly, all my packaging is re-used or made from recyclable materials. I use biodegradable hessian bags for jewellery storage, recycled paper for my stickers/business cards/thank you cards and recyclable tape on all packages. I want to try and eradicate as much plastic as possible

It is vital to me that my brand is ethical. The world is beautiful and I don’t want to ruin it. How can I be inspired by something, take from it and ruin it in my process?

I believe being sustainable has a big impact on consumer behaviour and buys support, especially within small businesses. I hope my brand makes people think about investing in pieces they’ll want forever or even pass down to other family members/friends instead of throwing them away because they get bored, or if it gets broken/ruined due to poor quality.

I don’t feel like I was inspired to prioritise ethical design and sustainability within my brand, it was something that came naturally to me that I didn’t even think about. If I was to have a brand, it would be ethical and it would be sustainable as those are my core values.”

jewellery by eilatan

Jane Tinker Jewellery

Tinker Jewellery creates unique and quirky handmade jewellery that is upcycled from vintage tins, reclaimed beads and copper wire.

“Here at Tinker Jewellery, I create pieces of jewellery from vintage or pre-loved decorative storage tins and reclaimed beads.

To me, being ethical in jewellery design means you’re predominantly thinking about what impact the materials you are using have had or will have on the planet and whether they’ve been created fairly.

I source my tins from charity shops, second-hand sellers or from family and friends that pass on their used tins. I never buy newly made tins to make my jewellery from, as I prefer the worn nature of vintage tins. There’s so much nostalgia in them and they have such varied designs.

My aim is to use pretty much every scrap of the tin in order to create minimal waste. I buy the beads that I add to my jewellery from charity shops, so again they are second hand and saved from the bin and I also use sustainable packaging when sending out customer orders.

Sustainability is very important. This is a critical time for our planet and we all need to play our part in securing a sustainable future.

I believe that knowing a product is sustainable makes the consumer think more about where the materials have come from, how it has been made, who has made it and the impact it has on the planet.

The whole life cycle of the product is considered and hopefully, it means consumers buy less and keep for longer. Products from sustainable designers also tend to be more distinctive as they’re generally not mass-produced. All of my jewellery items are one-offs, so you know you’re getting something unique.

I initially went down the route of precious metals when I first started making jewellery, but there are so many materials already in existence and circulation, I believe we should be reusing them instead of producing more. ‘Reduce Reuse Recycle’ is my mantra. It’s shocking to think about how much is thrown “away” every day.”

I initially went down the route of precious metals when I first started making jewellery, but there are so many materials already in existence and circulation, I believe we should be reusing them instead of producing more. ‘Reduce Reuse Recycle’ is my mantra. It’s shocking to think about how much is thrown “away” every day.”

jane tinker jewellery

Browse our sustainable jewellers

As a potential buyer, we encourage you to keep sustainability front-of-mind when you make a purchase. The makers in our community prioritise sustainability, and you can browse these stunning pieces at our online shop.