The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust, the charitable arm of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths, held its first ethical jewellery symposium and plans to set up an online ethical jewellery resource for sustainable designers.
The ethical jewellery symposium, held in partnership with the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, looked at the future of ethical jewellery making in Scotland.
The event included a workshop on sustainable jewellery practices as well as talks by leading industry figures, who considered the issues of ethics in the jewellery industry.
A panel of renowned industry jewellery makers and professionals, including ethical jewellery designer and activist Greg Valerio, ethical jeweller and researcher Ute Decker and silversmith Karen Westland, offered advice on how to set up a sustainable fine jewellery business.
Dr Peter Oakley from the Royal College of Art provided a broader history of precious materials sourcing and its environmental and socioeconomic impact. Other leading industry figures, including ethical consultant Vivien Johnston and founder of Ostrero Marian Brown, discussed the opportunities in Scotland for companies adopting a Circular Economy model.
Tim Ingle, from green high street independent retailer Ingle & Rhode, presented the business case for brands to turn to ecological jewellery designs and Mary Michel, director of the Incorporation, concluded by discussing the components of the jewellery-making chain of custody and the importance of provenance when creating unique pieces.
The organisation now plans to establish an online ethical jewellery resource. Since the start of 2017, the Incorporation of Goldsmiths in Scotland has gathered practical information from jewellers, activists and researchers on work techniques, material sources and suppliers, and provided networking opportunities. The Incorporation of Goldsmiths’ aim is to bring together the fragmented information surrounding ethical jewellery-making and present it in an easily understandable and accessible format. This information will soon form the basis of an online living document and meeting place for makers to share information about techniques, suppliers and materials, challenges and tips.
Ethical jewellery designer Greg Valerio said: “In the many years across multiple countries I have been addressing ethics in jewellery, Scotland has been the most receptive and fertile country of them all. Scotland has a real chance to become the world’s leading ethical designer-maker nation. The ethical practices directory being created by the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust will be a world first. So glad to have been a part of what you are all doing.”
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