Sustainable Jewelry with Anna Sheffield: From Sourcing to Creation

The journey of creating sustainable jewelry is a testament to the dedication and creativity of fine jewelry designers like Anna Sheffield. Her eponymous brand is driven by a deep commitment to artistry and ethical practices. From sourcing rare, eco-friendly gems such as Montana sapphires and Cortez pearls to collaborating with skilled artisans in New York City’s jewelry district, Anna Sheffield combines sustainability with exquisite design. Discover the intricate process behind her collection that include sustainable engagement rings, showcasing how creativity, sustainability, and craftsmanship come together to create meaningful and beautiful pieces of jewelry.

Anna Sheffield Sustainable Fine Jewellery La Maison Couture

LMC: What drives you as a jewelry designer, and what inspired you to create your eponymous brand, Anna Sheffield Jewelry?

Anna Sheffield: Well, foremost, I would say that I am an artist. Creativity is essential to my existence, from where and how I live to how it comes through in the brand. Creativity is the tether around which all efforts and aims are centered. I am at my happiest when I create. Also, when the things you create bring joy to others, that keeps a certain fire burning for the process.

LMC: Why is it so important to you to make sustainable jewelry?

Anna: At its core, jewelry materials are extractive while jewelry itself is deeply meaningful. So I feel for this industry, it’s of utmost importance to carve out a path of sustainability, keeping the value of the products we make in line with the values of ourselves and our clients. The aim is always to leave the world better than we found it, and I believe in time, and with combined efforts and shared resources and ideas, we can collectively shore up the jewelry industry to be more ethical and sustainable, as well as meaningful.

LMC: Your collection features some striking gemstones. Can you tell us about Montana sapphires and Cortez pearls and how you source them?

Anna: Montana sapphires are rare and beautiful gems from the Western United States. These mineral crystals are sifted from the earth rather than mined, which means less environmental impact. The stones themselves are truly wondrous with color variations unlike sapphires from other parts of the world, ranging from mint green to richly hued indigo to bright teal blue, and they have immense sparkle.

The Sea of Cortez pearls are wildly beautiful and have an incredible sustainability story. They have revitalized both a community and the sea from which they are harvested in, in Mexico. The farm began by gathering spores from a threatened population of Rainbow Lipped oysters, leading to new populations in the wild. Additionally, the farm provides alternative revenue for a community that depended on destructive fishing practices. The pearls range from pale lavender grey to gunmetal, even peacock, with a mix of shimmering green, purple, black, and blue.

With both of these products, we work with an amazing company that champions sustainable mining and ethical sourcing and cutting.



LMC: How are your new jewelry designs inspired and developed?

Anna: I am inspired by just about every form of beauty from poetry and antiquities to fine art to nature. I am also tremendously influenced by the gems themselves. I like to consider each and design for what will be best present or enhance the natural qualities of the gemstone. Each collection has its own design story and attributes. For example, the Bea collection has an Art Deco inspiration, often using inverted set trillions. Other designs might focus on innovation, like using different sized stones to add an all-over pavé look as seen on the All Seeing Signet, which reminds me of the milky way.


LMC: How does sustainability influence your design ideas?

Anna: The foundation of the brand has to be in keeping with my values, and that means the entire process from how the products are made to how they are marketed. I see sustainability and ethical manufacture from a holistic view, so the effort to source materials that are earth-friendly is only one layer. It’s equally important to work with sources that offset carbon in their practices. Another important element is ensuring gem cutters are well taken care of and that there is room for them to grow their knowledge and expertise.

LMC: Can you walk us through the process of sketching and visualising your jewelry designs?

Anna: I always start with pencil drawings, typically to scale, with the gemstones overlayed with the sketch. This way, I can see how the minute details will play out in the finished pieces. Sometimes, the drawing comes out fully formed the first time, including notes on engineering. Once I have the design fully formed, I evaluate what process will be best for its creation, which could be making a rendering in CAD or having it hand-carved in wax. I work with two highly accomplished tradespeople for these processes.

After the model is complete, we cast the pieces in recycled gold, platinum, or silver. The pieces and all the gems, including reclaimed diamonds, are then taken to our setters. These skilled artisans in NYC are masters of craft. Simpler pieces require less skill and time than something with a big stone and pavé. Once set, the pieces are polished, marked with our hallmark, and undergo quality control before reaching the store and, ultimately, their collectors.

LMC: What techniques do you use to ensure both responsible production and quality in the final creation of your sustainable jewelry?

Anna: Ensuring quality starts with working with the best people. The skills required to make jewelry take years to develop, and so do the aesthetics of how I like things to look and feel. The connection and communication with the artisans are paramount to achieving the envisioned result, so these are long-lasting alliances.

Sustainability starts at the source; from the mine to the dealers, every step needs to be transparent and considered. For example, I didn’t add turquoise to our Cosmic Tiara until I could secure a source with high-quality, sustainably U.S. mined cabochons.

LMC: What makes Anna Sheffield Jewelry unique?


Anna: We are driven by the power of human connection and believe in everyone’s right to make meaning on their own terms. Jewelry becomes part of who we are. The quality of materials and level of design must balance with the integrity and values we hold dear. I am a spiritual person, from a beautiful place steeped in nature and the significance of our collective ways of being. These considerations are addressed in the work, and hopefully, that thoughtfulness shows through in everything from the design to the imagery to the words we pair with the jewelry. I call the pieces Modern Day Talismans because it’s my aim to impart that deeper meaning to the jewelry and the people who love, collect, and wear it.

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