GENTLEMEN’S JEWELLERY: HOW TO MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE
Sustainability in fashion has been the buzzword for the avant garde of the fashion world for quite a while. Environmental protection is an issue that effects everybody. Carus Jewellery, an online antique and vintage jewellery store was founded with this very much in mind. First world people are the greatest contributors to environmental damage. As such we have a responsibility to find ways to reduce our impact on it. As a movement it has become mainstream to be conscious of the global impact of our daily actions. The choices are not black and white, they are different shades of grey, as with most ethical choices we have to make, sustainability is an ideal, we have to make incremental changes and choices, with an eye to being more conscious. During the recession, particularly in the fashion schools, as the students were struggling to find materials for their projects, they found that there was an abundance of material in charity shops and markets. This experience has changed the perspective of the younger generation to the acceptability of using vintage materials in their art and work.
The future is sustainable, there is a new altruism in the world, people have decided to exercise their control over the environmental problems and make choices to that effect. Altruism is the new political movement, but it is rooted in reality. The green movement if it is to be successful has to be politically aware, as well as environmentally aware.
Initially jewellery and sustainability were seen as strange bedfellows, but when you take a closer look, the industry has always recycled its products in order to repurpose for new designs, by breaking it down and reusing the elements in new Jewellery. Recently, reusing materials have become more visible and acceptable, if not a lauded approach to sustainability. The artistic flair of a jewellery designer or the integrity of the jewellery is not affected by repurposing materials. Jewellery designers have their fingers on the pulse of public sentiment. They have a holistic approach to business - they see beyond the financial - the focus is on the art form as the bottom line. During the recession, materials and finances were hard to find. New jewellery designers looked to recycle materials while maintaining their artistic flair. The frugal use of resources morphed into an ability to develop cutting edge jewellery in a sustainable way. Jewellery designers are in touch with the vanguard of art and self expression. The public is highly educated and aware of the environmental impact of jewellery material production and labour issues. The next generation is highly motivated by a good cause and are the future consumer. A recent study has shown that 34% of young people are more persuaded by sustainability than by price.
Fine jewellery can be recycled in its entirety, it is of high value and it is profitable to break it down, making it very amenable to repurposing. The ultimate sustainable position for jewellery is to maintain the current form and reuse the item as is. Antique and vintage jewellery has the benefit of being made by the best of craftspeople, with the best of materials, and of such a classic design as to make them highly wearable and desirable. It maintains its beauty and refinement. Reusing fine antique and vintage jewellery is the ultimate means of reducing both environmental and labour impact of production on the planet. Reusing the product expands very little energy and does not effect indigenous people. An example of a company who extols these virtues is carusjewellery.com, an online antique and vintage jewellery retailer, which deals mainly with fine jewellery, with a large collection for gentlemen. They pride themselves on their small carbon footprint. All their materials are maintained in their own form, eliminating the production process, and curated as to make sure products are beautiful, wearable and of excellent condition. This is true sustainability, the circular system is a progressive idea. It is the idea of ethics matching aesthetics.