When it comes to gifts, jewellery is always top of the list. And as the conversation around sustainable fashion ramps up, the focus is starting to shift away from the usual machine-made, mass-produced pieces. Instead, jewellery designers like Lilian von Trapp—whose Berlin-based brand financially backs an environmental and humanitarian campaign in Uganda—are finding ways to do more than just accessorise. She’s among a band of small international jewellers that are raising the bar with ethically-sourced gold, traceable diamonds, female employment collectives and local artists—just a few of their ethically-sound initiatives. Here, Vogue presents six conscious jewellery brands, carving their own unique path in the industry.
After art school in London, and a brief stint in New York, jewellery designer Suzzan Atala decided to open her workshop in Mexico City—she says that she was keen to be “part of the social change” in her home country, creating jobs and supporting the local economy. Designing for “empowered women”—Adwoa Aboah is a fan—Atala sources materials for her trinkets from artisan suppliers in Mexico, including Taxco, a town southwest of Mexico City famed for its jewellery and silverwork. Star pieces are the gold vagina necklaces and milagro earrings (flaming heart votives).
Instagram: @tuzajewelry; Website: Tuzajewelry.com
Lebanese sisters Dima and Tania Nawbar are fourth generation jewellers. Their family’s Beirut-based business was founded by their great-great-grandfather in a gold souk in 1881. Establishing their own brand, L’atelier Nawbar, in 2011, the sisters have modernised, both in design—with symbolic rings and Petit Bling (a line of charms for children)—and in policy—increasing the company’s female quota to equal that of the male, and training socially disadvantaged and displaced women in handmade techniques, such as intricate beading and stone carving. Although 90 per cent of this work is attainable by machines today, the Nawbars insist on keeping the, often elderly, women artisans in work.