Environmental sustainability and ethical sourcing are priorities. My suppliers are committed to ethical sourcing, and strong environmental and labor practices. Most of the precious metals I use are recycled, and all diamonds are Canadian-mined. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions.
Sterling Silver & Gold
I source my sterling silver and gold for most of my jewellery, such as the OneFooter series, from Umicore and Stuller Inc. Cast materials for rings like those in the MapleLeaf series are from recycled materials from Montreal-based SR2 Technologies.
The white gold I use is unusual. It is called ‘palladium white gold’. It is a much more superior alloy, as palladium is a highly pure metal; alloyed with pure gold, it creates a gorgeous dark (looks a bit more like platinum than white gold), highly valuable metal, which does not have to be rhodium plated again and again like commercial white gold. I only work in 18k. Palladium white gold lends itself to the forging technique. I appreciate its colour very much – it is very contemporary. Best of all, it is hypo-alleregenic, as it does not contain nickel.
Umicore has the highest standards for environmental, business, and social sustainability and responsibility. They are an active member of the jewellers Vigilance Canada (http://www.jewellersvigilance.ca). In addition, their manufacturing site is also a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council. Much of their materials are recycled, and they have a ban on materials from the Republic of Congo and adjoining countries.
From their site: “Gold and other precious metals should be mined and refined in a sustainable and responsible manner that respects both the needs of humanity and our environment.
Our position on responsible mining procedures goes much further than the gold mining process itself. It encompasses all aspects of gold: appropriate mining methods on conservation, remediation and fair labor practices. It also includes proper refining; correct handling of aqua regia acid, scrubbing fumes and clean emissions.
Only specific, branded gold bars or grain are acceptable in our production operations and up to 98% of raw materials used in production are recycled internally.
We require that our vendors maintain policies and procedures, which mandate social and environmental responsibility for both themselves and their suppliers.
As proof of our commitment to sustainability, Stuller has earned a recycled content certification in an SCS audit. SCS is a global leader in verification of environmental and sustainability claims with internationally recognized standards, and their certification ensures that all of Stuller’s manufactured metals – gold, silver, platinum, and palladium product is certified 100% recycled content.”
Canada’s diamond mines yield a higher ratio of pristine, gem-quality diamonds in comparison to the output of other countries. They are noted for exceptional colour, clarity, and lustre, as well as low levels of fluorescence. Some come with certification papers and a laser inscription in the girdle of the diamond. Others, are simply sourced through extremely reputable suppliers, and are:
- Responsibly mined in Canada’s Northwest Territories
- Natural and untreated
- Tracked through audited processes at every stage from country of
origin to polished stone
- Polished to meet specific quality standards
- Guaranteed to come from conflict-free sources
Most of the diamonds I use originate from the Ekati and Diavik mines in the Northwest Territories, a remote and barren region near the Arctic Circle. Since the discovery of diamonds in this area in the 1990s, these mines have undergone intensive environmental assessments linked to rigorous permitting processes. Working with local Aboriginal groups, special care is given to ensure the long-term integrity of the land, water, and wildlife. The mines are signatories to environmental agreements involving local Aboriginal groups, the federal governments, and the territorial governments. In addition, the mines have an established history of developing technologies and processes to help conserve the environment.
Sapphire and other Gemstones
Most of my gemstones come from Pierres de Charme, while some stones are cut and polished by a gem cutter right here in Nova Scotia.
From their website: “For centuries, sapphire has been prominently featured in jewellery. It’s hardness, stability, and toughness makes it suitable for all types of jewellery. Sapphire’s endless shades of blue have made it one of the most popular gems around the world.
Sapphire, along with ruby, emerald, and diamond has always been one of the most important precious gemstones. Sapphire is a variety of the corundum gem species whose members also include ruby and fancy coloured sapphires.
Many people don’t know that sapphire comes in all the colours of the rainbow.
All members of the corundum species share a common chemical composition and crystal structure while trace amounts of different chemical elements are responsible for the various colours of the different varieties. Sapphire, when blue, is coloured by small amounts of iron (Fe) or a combination of iron and titanium (Ti). These elements absorb portions of the visible light spectrum producing the blue colour we perceive.
All shades of blue corundum are referred to as simply sapphire and red corundum is called ruby. All other colours are considered fancy coloured sapphires and are named for their particular hues for example: pink sapphire, yellow sapphire, green sapphire etc. The most sought after fancy coloured sapphire is the orangey pink variety known as Padparadscha, which means ‘lotus flower’ in Sinhalese.
The most important sapphire deposits are found in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. Other producing countries include Australia, Cambodia, and the Unites States.
Sapphires are routinely treated to improve their appearance. Different heating temperatures and conditions can produce a vast array of results: dark stones can be lightened, light stones can be darkened, inclusions can be dissolved to improve the clarity, and inclusions can be introduced creating star effects. These treatments are stable and many can also be used to improve the appearance of fancy coloured sapphires.