Interview with Jemima Hargreaves
1. When did you first came across ethical jewellery? Who introduced you to this idea/movement?
When I was an apprentice, I learned about the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), and what it was safeguarding against. My master at the time told me that it was an easy way for the industry to look transparent. He said it was a way to pretend being responsible, even though you did not care. It always made me uncomfortable. A store could absolve themselves of any responsibility for the materials they use just by relying on the KPCS. That is not to say that the KPCS is not important, because it is, but I just feel we need to also make sure that we as individuals are also held accountable for our choices. So, then it was always at the back of my mind. I then did my DGA and learned about diamond mining, where the gold comes from, and what these processed involve. I am now very aware of what it took to get these amazing materials to my bench, as well as all the hands and lives it passed along the way.
2. How is your jewellery ethical?
When I first started the brand, I focused on using lab grown diamonds and Fairmined or Fairtrade gold. Not everyone is ready for that though, so I now use responsibly sourced mined diamonds along with reusing antique diamonds. I also offer metals that are recycled or certified as responsibly sourced. It is all about taking the hard work from clients and providing them with good options. It is important to me that our working environment is positive. We focus a lot on sharing skills and knowledge. Everyone that works in the studio is female, so helping those women rise in the industry is another factor when I discuss ethics.
3. Tell us about your cooperation with Diamond Foundry? What does Diamond Foundry do?
Diamond Foundry is an amazing organisation. They utilise solar technology in creating high quality diamonds in a laboratory environment. It is so poetic to use the sun in creating diamonds. When I launched the brand, I was first working with their materials. Even though due to my clientele my focus has shifted, and I now use lab grown stones on request only, I still strongly believe that they are an amazing organization and there is definitely a place for them in the market.
4. Are there many ethical jewellers in Sweden or is it a new concept?
We were the first to be certified to use Fairmined in Sweden, but now I think more and more and more people are starting to use responsible metals, as well as reconsidering their choices. I do however think that sometimes brands can appear more responsible than they really are. It is always worth it to have a conversation with a brand on what the options are, as long as you are looking for an ethical product.
5. Could you name a few ethical jewellers that you admire?
I think Cred from the UK are amazing for the pioneering work they have done to consistently talk about the issues. They continue to be a strong voice in the industry, and their work has made it easier for all of us to have a better access to responsibly sourced gold. Arabel Labrusan is also another strong, inspiring voice for change.
6. Your brand launched at Stockholm Fashion Week in 2017. Why is that? Did you present a special collection in this event?
I chose Stockholm Fashion Week because fashion weeks as such have always held a level of prestige. It also made sense with the press contacts I had that. It was just a natural step for me. To showcase the skills in the brand and the pieces I create, I came with a significant breadth of work. Since then I have worked on more focused collections.
While it is not so relevant for fine jewellery, but I have taken a lot from the Fashion Week and shows I have exhibited at.
7. What kind of materials do you use in your work?
Most of my pieces are in 18ct gold with diamonds or sapphires. Everything is made in house, so if a client wants a custom piece in silver or platinum with any other specific gemstones, that can be accommodated too.