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Ethical Jewellery | Little Book of Wonders



Little Book of Wonders | August 2013

Ethical jewellery

Sisters Nicole (L) and Kim Carosella of Sorellina. Photo by Christopher Gabello

Sisters Nicole (L) and Kim Carosella of Sorellina. Photo by Christopher Gabello

Conflict-free gems that blend beauty with principles. By Laura Ivill


When Florence Welch collected Best Solo Artist at the NME Awards in February, all eyes were on her funky, chunky cocktail rings. Maybe the fact that they were fairtrade and conflict free also brought her good luck. Created by the New York duo, sisters Nicole and Kim Carosella of Sorellina, they design “wearable art”. Their style is to combine vintage with contemporary gems, either mined and cut before the 1940s or modern brilliant-cut stones monitored under the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme. “We reuse and recycle precious metals, as well as using natural and sustainable materials,” they say. “Our company was actually started by melting down our mother's jewellery from the 1970s and 1980s. The gold and the stones were reused to make our first pieces.”

Emily H London

“Buying jewellery is a very personal process,” says Russian-born Yana Zaikin, creative director of her fine jewellery house Emily H London. “Our bespoke customers are investing in an item which will become part of their family history; they can be involved with every step of the process, from the design to choosing where the stone is sourced.” And it’s Zaikin’s resolve only to be a part of an ethical supply chain that has won her plaudits from the jewellery trade and royalty across the world, who love her nature-inspired pieces and classically elegant designs. This spring she launched three guilt-free collections, with a fourth, of cocktail rings, on the way, so you don’t have to wait for your own inspiration. 


For Paris-based Erwan Le Louêr, naming your company JEM isn’t just a catchy homonym, there’s meaning behind the label – Jewellery Ethically Minded. For Le Louêr: “Jewellery is a purchase of seduction. My ambition is to distil the dream by ethically making our creations.” To this end, JEM was founded in 2007 at a meeting at a gold mine in Colombia with the purpose of extracting the world’s first ethical gold, and giving back working conditions and support that exceeds the norm. It took two years to control the entire chain of production, but JEM customers buy its simple, wearable pieces from guest designers in the knowledge that their gold is never tainted.

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