Sustainability: designer jewellery also has a say

02/06/23

May 26th 2023

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Ecologist and landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx in Ecuador - 1974, Luis Knud Correia de Araujo
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« Because like most of us have realized, we need to move through life with intention. We need to make mindfully. We need to build for the long-term. Nothing that we do—from the jobs we provide people to the objects we craft—should be disposable or looked-over. »

- Polly Wales

The role of designer jewellery: taking stock of sustainable jewellery today

 What is the Beautiful without the Good? This is the big question that challenges contemporary luxury and shows its true colours. Change is in the air: traceable stones, fairmined gold, recycled metals and diamonds, social commitments, short circuits... There are as many paths as there are debates on the subject. Traditional jewellery is now catching up with designer jewellery, which was always a forerunner in this field.

 WHITEbIRD was born from a deep desire to put people back at the heart of creativity. By putting forward creators who work in an artisanal way, either in their own studio or in partnership with small workshops, we want to promote jewellery on a human scale that is respectful of those hands and materials that make it beautiful.

 In sync with major changes in society itself, our creators are committed to more ethical, ecological and socially responsible jewellery. WHITEbIRD, holding true to its values, highlights their contribution and guides those who wish to buy jewellery that is both unique and committed.

We are committed to “Preserving the best of tradition, feeling the hand of the craftsman, touching the rough edges, admiring the marks of know-how.” - Stéphanie Roger, founder of WHITEbIRD

 Find out what we do : About us

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@pollywales
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Kuna woman from Panama - @pippasmall
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WHITEbIRD: treat yourself to a unique and ethical jewel.

 Our in-store teams are there to give you all the information you need to guide you in your choices and more particularly to direct you towards our committed creators.

 To personalize your search on our website, we have also created an "Ethical" section, accessible via the Products menu. In this section, each jewel is categorized according to the following attributes:

  •  Locally produced

  • Recycled metal

  • Socially conscious

It’s also possible to apply the "Sustainability" filter at any point during your online search.

 For example, if you want to buy an ethical engagement ring, you just need to go to our Wedding selection, then choose the sustainability filter, available in the tab at the top right under “Filter and Sort”. There are many ways to get involved in more responsible jewellery. As a multi-brand house, WHITEbIRD brings together a wide variety of ethical jewellery all in one place - both in our stores and online. Let us be your guide!

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What does Socially Conscious mean?

 All jewellery that displays the Socially Conscious tag has been designed by designers who put social and human commitment at the heart of their creation.

 For Pippa Small, Polly Wales, Alighieri and Bibi Van der Velden, jewellery is a means of supporting causes that are dear to them and to give a voice to those who have none. WHITEbIRD is proud to represent these inspiring designers.

Here are some examples of engaging humanitarian projects:

 - Pippa Small x Turquoise Mountain: Pippa Small is a born philanthropist. She’s a pioneer inthe creation of ethical jewellery, holding a master's degree in medical anthropology and having worked for many NGOs. Her humanitarian commitment earned her an appointment to the Order of the British Empire in 2013, and in 2016 she was awarded the prize of Ethical Jeweller of the Year. Fun fact: She's also Meghan Markle's favourite jeweller!

Since 2008, she has collaborated with the "Turquoise Mountain" organization, created by King

Charles III, which works in Afghanistan to protect traditional crafts. In this way Pippa regularly creates collections in collaboration with communities of men and women in Kabul, whom she trains and alongside whom she works.

 In 2022 she created Pippa Small for Afghanistan, a project that aims to train 100 Afghan women in jewellery making and writing; they are also fed and housed throughout their training. A hundred vermeil and aquamarine necklaces were created and sold (including at WHITEbIRD) to help fund this program.

 Pippa has also developed this type of partnership in many other countries, like Burma and Bolivia, where she employs and "overpays" communities of gold extractors whose artisanal practices respect the environment (zero mercury or cyanide) and workers' rights. Some of her jewels are stamped with the Fairtrade or Fairmined labels.

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"Jewellery has a long and often controversial history. There are alternatives that can empower communities and provide safe, sustainable employment alongside the movements to provide safer and cleaner mining practices.” 

- Pippa Small
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Projet Pippa Small for Afghanistan

-    Bibi Van der Velden x The Ukrainian Alligator:

 In 2022, faced with the war that is devastating Ukraine, Bibi provided support through her creations. She designed an unlimited edition of alligator earrings in topaz and citrine, in the colours of the Ukrainian flag. 100% from the sale of these earrings are donated to UNICEF, which works to protect children on the ground.

- Alighieri x Refuge:

Since 2021, Rosh Mahtani has been collaborating through Aligheri withthe British organization Refuge, which welcomes and supports women and children who experience domestic violence. To date, this collaboration has raised £93,000.

Find out more about her commitment against domestical abuses by reading the British Voque article

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Bibi's Ukrainian gold Alligator with topaze and citrine
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Recycled diamonds and recycled metals at WHITEbIRD

 “The diamond is eternal and gold can be recycled endlessly. In jewellery, nothing is lost, everything is transmitted.” - Héloïse Shapiro

 It's a practice as old as jewellery itself: gold, silver and diamonds never die, all the raw materials used in jewellery can be recycled without ever losing their value. In other words, jewellery could be king in up-cycling and the circular economy!

 Recycled diamonds are diamonds that have already been used on antique jewellery. They are cleaned and mounted on new jewellery. Héloïse & Abélard is the first Parisian House to create all of its jewellery from recycled diamonds.

"Accompanied by a team of diamond dealers, I select diamonds of excellent quality in France to be recycled; mounted on second-hand jewellery bought at auctions, or abandoned by individuals or antique dealers. Our second hand diamonds are G/H colour, and of VS/SI purity”, says Héloïse Shapiro, founder of Héloïse & Abelard.

Discover the full interview with Héloïse Shapiro

Recycled gold and silver come from different sources: scrap from jewellery production, the recycling of old jewellery, dental gold and electronic devices (telephones, computers). Both metals can be remelted endlessly without losing their value. 80% of the Earth's gold reserves have already been extracted, and the environmental impact of mining is no longer a secret. This is why we have also decided to favour the circular economy of recycled metals for our in-house collection, We by WHITEbIRD, now made from 100% recycled gold.

 Our creators who use recycled metals (gold, silver, bronze, platinum…) are numerous and

often pioneers in the field: Alice Waese, Alighieri, Wwake, Bibi VDV, Brooke Gregson, Cathy Waterman, Christina Magdolna, Elhanati, Heloise & Abelard, Jo Hayes Ward, Pippa Small, Polly Wales, Ruth Tomlinson, Sia Taylor, Sofia Zakia, Sarah Appleton, SBB, Sophie Buhai, Viltier, We by WHITEbIRD, Wwake…

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Cathy Waterman recycled gold earrings with emeralds - Glass from the eco-responsible Q de bouteille brand
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Locally produced: the essence of designer jewellery

 Small-batch, local creation that is artisanal is the very essence of WHITEbIRD, where local production means that the different stages of of jewel manufacture are carried out in a very restricted geographical area, as close as possible to where their creator is based.

 As short circuits are at the heart of excellent craftsmanship and designer jewellery, many designers present at WHITEbIRD have chosen local production. This excludes raw materials, though (metals and stones), which, even when traceable, generally come from other countries.

 Rosh Mahtani, founder of Alighieri, tells us about her manufacturing process in the heart of the Hatton Garden district, London, where she set up her business.

“Since day one, every piece of jewellery has been made in Hatton Garden, London.

With my team of 35 extraordinary women, we make everything by hand. Knowing the people behind every piece is amazing. We also work with a family foundry located three blocks from our studio and each piece is cast in recycled gold and silver. We are thus able to keep our carbon footprint very low.”

- Rosh Mahtani

 Check out the full interview with Rosh Mahtani

 Our creators who produce locally are numerous: Alighieri, Noguchi, Yasuko Azuma, Anaconda, and more …

Local production falls under the "Socially Conscious" concept, insofar as an ultra-close location allows creators to provide the best working conditions for their employees and to ensure that the same is true in their partner workshops.

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Rosh Mahtani, founder of Alighieri, in her workshop
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The notion of ethics is a commitment and a daily journey at WHITEbIRD. So we operate with a limited inventory and offer a make-to-order service (special orders), to avoid over-production.

Finally, the short circuits and the close proximity that we maintain with each designer give you full confidence about the ethical jewellery that we offer in-store and online.

WHITEbIRD is proud to offer you jewellery that is both unique and ethical.

What could be more precious than a piece of jewellery that represents both your values ​​and your personality?

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Designer Brooke Gregson and Stéphanie Roger at her trunkshow in our Mont Thabor shop, 2023
Whitebird

38, rue du Mont Thabor Paris 1
+33 (0)1 58 62 25 86

boutique@whitebirdjewellery.com

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+33 (0)1 40 24 27 17

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