Ideas & Advice

Jewellery with a conscience: How getting wed can save the earth

Saving the earth isn’t just reserved for tree huggers and environmentalists. Amanda Tan finds out that opting for luxury in this instance can also contribute towards a more sustainable world today.
 

It is famous for many things, including the classic six-prong Tiffany Setting, arguably the most popular engagement ring in the world, its robin’s-egg blue box with a white ribbon, and its Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York, which became even more famous after the 1961 movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s that starred Audrey Hepburn.

Not as well known is the fact that Tiffany & Co. is committed to sustainability and ethically sourcing its raw materials.

It has long challenged both the mining and jewellery industries to prioritise environmental protection and human rights.

And for the past two decades, the American jeweller has integrated sustainability into its production processes – from the mining of raw or rough diamonds to creating the finished products, and supporting conservation projects to even using recyclable materials for its Blue Boxes.

Tiffany’s diamonds are mined in countries that participate in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which prevents “conflict diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough-diamond market.

The processing is done with the help of Laurelton Diamonds, Tiffany & Co.’s wholly owned subsidiary that was established in 2002.

Its task is to procure uncut rough diamonds and manage a worldwide supply chain that sources, cuts, polishes, and supplies finished stones to Tiffany & Co.

 

All about the journey

The process is rather like a journey that begins the minute raw diamonds are unearthed.

Once appraised worthy of Tiffany & Co.’s exacting standards, they are sent to the Laurelton Diamonds studio in Antwerp, Belgium, to be refined.

Then, they go to its other workshops around the world, including one in Mauritius, where local artisans cut and polish the diamonds.

When finished, the precious stones end up in New York where they are carefully inspected for defects and then placed in various settings before being eventually presented in the stores.

 

In the name of sustainability

For a luxury jewellery brand, this move to reveal its processes may be unprecedented, but it is now more necessary than ever as customers become more aware of why diamonds should be ethically sourced, and want more sustainable options.

It insists that the principles of sustainability are practised in every division of the company.

After all, consumers deserve to know that Tiffany & Co. makes every effort to ensure their jewellery is responsibly sourced and crafted.

The company has also formed direct relationships with many of the mines that supply its diamonds and precious metals, according to Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman, president and the first-ever chief sustainability officer of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation.

Other initiatives include supporting Earthworks’ No Dirty Gold campaign to change the way gold is mined, bought and sold.

The brand is also a founding member of the Initiative of Responsible Mining Assurance that is developing standards for responsible large-scale mining.

 

Sheer dedication

When it comes to knowing its craft and jewellery inside and out, no other luxury jeweller is able to say that it can trace every step each of its diamonds takes.

And it’s not just about being able to produce beautiful diamonds and jewellery. 

Ensuring the business doesn’t harm the planet, and especially the sources of its raw diamonds takes hard work, pride and dedication.

This is crucial because luxuy and sustainability are both about heritage, quality and preserving beauty for generations to come.

The Tiffany & Co. Blue Box is made with more than 85 per cent of recyclable materials.

Costa sums it up best:

“From taking bold action on climate change to supporting organisations working to protect biodiversity and precious land and seascapes, we will continue to use the full power of the Tiffany & Co. brand to challenge the status quo, drive meaningful change and set the standard for sustainable luxury."

 

For more information, check out www.tiffany.com/Sustainability.

This featured first appeared in Her World Brides Sept-Nov'17 issue  - now available at newsstands! 

​​