I guess the first thing you need to know is ethical jewellers don’t necessarily wear hemp trousers and have incense burning. There’s this thing that happens when you mention the word ‘ethical’ – there is sometimes still a lingering assumption that somehow anything to do with ethical products is a bit, well, hippie…. crafty… new age… you know what I mean. So, that’s the first thing you need to know.
Now, on a more serious note, approaching any service where you feel out of your depth is no fun. I don’t enjoy talking to engineers for that very reason. It’s always better to feel prepared, to know what’s coming, to ask the right questions. So here’s a list you can take with you, if you ever have the need to visit a jeweller, and even better an ethical jeweller.
1. Know your budget. Do a bit of research online first, make sure your ideas are in line with the dollar figure you have in mind. Don’t be afraid to say what your top limit is. This makes it much easier for a jeweller to design the right ring for you.
2. Have an idea of the style you’d like. This doesn’t have to be a fully formed design, just some vague ideas; gold colour (yellow, rose or white); gem colour and shape, vintage / modern / art deco. That kind of thing. Images from Google / Pinterest / Instagram are always helpful.
Photo Credit: Zoe Pook Jewellery
3. Have an idea of where your priorities lie in terms of the sourcing of the materials. Do you want Australian gems? Is it vital that the diamond is of known origin or is conflict-free ok? Would you prefer recycled metals or Fair Trade / Fair Mined? Just an idea, as you can discuss the pros and cons with your jeweller.
4. Ask what kind of documentation (if any) will come with the jewellery piece. There are a few things you can ask about; a hallmark – which denotes the purity of the gold or platinum; a diamond certificate – could be GIA or IGL; a certificate of origin for the gems – these could be an informal certificate from your jeweller or a formal, certified document from a gem studies laboratory, but something to say where the gem was sourced.
5. Ask about the processes that will be involved in the making of your jewellery. Will it be fully hand-made? Are any pieces going to be 3D printed (CAD/CAM)? Is the piece going to be made on the premises or by someone else?
6. Keep in mind that the sourcing of ethical, traceable materials is not in every jewellers area of expertise. Some will not be able to answer your questions about sourcing, or will be unwilling to disclose their sources.
7. Ethical sourcing can also take some time, especially where gems are concerned, it may take a little while to find the perfect, traceable gem for you, so be prepared to either wait a little or be flexible in the colour / shape / size of the gem you are after.
Photo Credits: Zoe Pook Jewellery
Ms Zebra Says: These are great tips to keep in mind when looking to find a jeweller and diamond/ring that is ethically sourced and produced. Thanks Zoe for sharing this great list with us!
About Zoe Pook Jewellery: As a classically trained jeweller, attention to detail is first and foremost. She uses traditional tools alongside modern techniques to create beautiful and durable pieces. She finds that working with clients during the design process adds something special and more personal to the jewellery that she produces.