Here’s why! The Rock Hound’s striking jewellery collection goes beyond the tangible. Discover the positive influence their use of Fairtrade gold and recycled silver is having on both people and the environment.
This Christmas, discover the story behind your jewels.
When I started The Rock Hound, I set out to create the most ethical jewellery brand I could. Jewellery is a luxury that not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to be able to afford, so when you make that purchase it’s vital that the jeweller has done their utmost to create pieces which you’re proud to own and enjoy re-telling their story when you receive compliments on them.
I work with many natural resources such as precious metals and gemstones that are all extracted from our planet. These are intrinsic to my work, but the impact their extraction has cannot be ignored. By fostering traceable supply chains I’m able to ensure that not only do I use top quality materials, and that these impacts are mitigated, but on top of this my – and ultimately your – buying choices help support communities that need it most. When you choose to purchase a piece of The Rock Hound, as either a gift to yourself or a loved one, I want to make sure that your money goes to the right people and filters down through the supply chain helping everyone involved.
This is not something which happens overnight.
Firstly, I needed to establish how I was going to source my gold, which is notoriously labour intense and hazardous to mine. As a goldsmith I have a duty of care for those involved in the mining especially in an industry where artisanal and small-scale mining is the sole income for millions of families around the world so I choose to work with The Fairtrade Foundation. When I launched my brand back in 2015, I became a Fairtrade Licensee which allows me to buy traceable Fairtrade Gold from the artisanal and small-scale mines in Peru. Thanks to The Fairtrade Foundation’s high mining standards I know that these mines operate with upmost care to people and planet. On top of that, the miners are guaranteed a fair-price for their gold, meaning they aren’t open for exploitation by local brokers nor do their efforts go unrewarded. On top of this, they are paid a Fairtrade Premium which goes back directly to the mining community for them to invest however they choose. How do I guarantee this to you? Each piece of jewellery I make in Fairtrade Gold is hallmarked and, alongside the traditional marks from The Assay Office including my sponsors mark, you’ll find The Fairtrade Foundations’ logo giving assurance that it is traced every step of the way.
Moving forward I’m always striving to do better and the other metal I use in my work is silver. Mining of silver is often on a more industrial scale or a byproduct in extracting other resources, so I’ve stuck with recycled silver. However, the source of recycled metals is unregulated so when I discovered traceable recycled silver I immediately started moving my silver castings into the new source. Since August 2023 I now only cast in AgAIN silver which is salvaged from old NHS Medical X-rays. These x-rays are no longer needed so previously would have headed for landfill but now thanks to some forward-thinking refiners we are able to extract the silver and I can assure my clients that my silver is 100% recycled using waste from another industry.
I use this silver solely to create my HotRocks Collection which I’m proud to have highlighted this Christmas by La Maison Couture. I’m a self-confessed gem geek so I wanted to pay homage to one of the earth’s best known crystals – quartz. With this collection I take perfect examples of quartz specimens then using the lost wax casting method I am able to replicate this in the recycled AgAIN silver. Through this careful process I can retain all the details on the quartz and since the metal is opaque your eye hones in on the beautiful natural form of their growth marks, clusters, terminations and striations. I finish these unique pieces with a nano-ceramic outer layer to add a final flourish of colour creating bold and beguiling jewellery. Ready to be worn in fiery red this Christmas are The Rock Hound’s pendulous HotRocks wands pendant or our stud earrings which take the form of the tip of a quartz crystal giving flashes of colour to catch the eye. The perfect present for jewellery lovers and gem enthusiasts!
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Words: The Rock Hound