Ethical Practices

Custom Designed Emerald and Diamond 18K Gold Ring | Harmony Metals | Re-purposed gemstones

When you visit me at my studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, you’ll notice right away that we’re surrounded by natural beauty in all directions. It’s no accident; this is where I choose to design, create and make a life with my family.
With an appreciation and respect for our community and our land, we are committed to keeping our little slice of earth healthy and protected with the guidance of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy.
So, it’s no surprise that ethical sourcing of stones and materials is a significant core value for my business and resonates deep within personally as well. 
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Studio 12 Design Blog I Sarah EK Muse l Jewelry Designer l Ethical Sourcing I Roanoke, VA
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What does Ethical Sourcing Mean for a Jewelry Designer?
Ethical Sourcing means ensuring that the products we purchase are obtained responsibly, using sustainable practices, with a focus on:
  • Limiting the environmental impact
  • Promoting human rights 
  • Ensuring that industry employees have safe and clean working conditions and they are paid a fair wage 
  • Protecting the surrounding communities that are being mined 

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Studio 12 Design Blog I Sarah EK Muse l Jewelry Designer l Ethical Sourcing I Roanoke, VA

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When my clients choose to work with me, they can feel confident that I purchase ethically sourced materials, whenever possible, from my reputable partners who have made responsible, sustainable sourcing a priority in their businesses as well.


The jewelry industry has made deep inroads in educating jewelers on ethical sourcing and creating educational standards and guidelines throughout the entire supply chain. One of the industry leaders supporting the ongoing efforts to promote safe and sustainable practices is the Responsible Jewelry Council. The RJC was founded in 2005 to promote standards that build trust throughout the industry and our communities. By developing these standards and education, ethical sourcing practices have become the goal for many vendors in all aspects of the jewelry community. The primary outcome is to protect our people and our planet.

And, there are many other organizations supporting and educating the industry and the public in ethical practices in varying ways. A few examples are Ethical Metalsmiths, The Women's Jewelry Council, the Amazon Aid Foundation, Pure Earth and Gem Legacy. Their efforts are starting to make a difference and we should all applaud them as they are working to save our planet and our people..

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Studio 12 Design Blog I Sarah EK Muse l Jewelry Designer l Ethical Sourcing I Roanoke, VA
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Working with Trusted Vendors
When asked to procure gemstones and diamonds to add to a bespoke piece of jewelry, I rely on my network of respected, knowledgeable partners who share the same values as I do... responsible, safe, and ethical sourcing of materials. 
I work with several diamond and gemstone cutters/vendors who can source post-consumer stones (such as diamonds from an old setting) or trace new stones back to the mines where they are sourced to ensure they’re using ethical practices. This can sometimes be challenging because certain stones have complex supply chains where they’re mined, cut, and sold in multiple countries. To the best of our abilities, we make intentional and responsible choices for diamonds and gemstones.
Among my trusted partners for purchased metals is Hoover & Strong, which institutes processes to conserve energy and re-use materials. Based in Richmond, VA, they ensure zero-discharge wastewater, that nothing goes into the sewers, and the air is always clean. Their “Harmony” metals are made from non-mined, recycled sources, including reclaimed jewelry, silverware, coins, precious metal, and dental scrap.  They also offer their “Harmony Artisanal Metals” gold, which is fully traceable, conflict-free, fair-mined and fair traded.
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Studio 12 Design Blog I Sarah EK Muse l Jewelry Designer l Ethical Sourcing I Roanoke, VA
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Repurposing is also Integral to my Process
In my design process, I strive to repurpose as much as I can, re-envisioning inherited pieces, refining unused metal, and reusing gemstones and diamonds. This means that whenever possible, I use existing gems and repurpose gold from your pieces, not only because it’s better for the environment but also because it gives your new piece so much more meaning. If we decide to trade the metal for its value, then it’s sent back to the refinery to be recycled.
My commitment to my clients is that I will always be fully transparent and will share what I know about the materials I source for your piece, and I will use sentimental materials from your jewelry box as often as possible. 
Do you have a dream stone in mind or a new custom jewelry design idea that you’ve wanted to create but don’t know where to begin? Or, do you have unworn or outdated jewelry you want to breathe new life into? I’m here for you and have an amazing family of partners to procure and create exactly what you desire.
Let’s discuss the possibilities! 
Give me a call: 540-524-2764 or Email me   to get started.

 


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