Three enduring fine jewelry brands that should be on your radar

For things to be called “sustainable” specific criteria must be met and this is no different when it comes to the jewelry we wear. Sustainable jewelry may be labeled as such based on responsible sourcing of raw materials, use of recycled metals or other recycled materials, production deemed “clean”, whether the brand uses offsets carbon or if the company guarantees ethical working conditions for its supplier partners.

With more and more consumers looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I’ve rounded up three fine jewelry brands that should definitely be on your radar.

New York aura

Founded in 2015 by Bouchra Ezzahraoui and Sophie Kahn, Aurate New York is on a mission to democratize fine jewelry and cut out the middleman through its online business model, accessible pricing and social impact strategy.

“Our jewelry is designed to be worthy of the women who wear it, whether it’s her everyday classic pieces or something she might save for a special occasion,” Ezzahraoui tells me when I ask her how she would describe the brand. to those who don’t know her. “We love the versatility so you can wear our pieces alone or layered and stacked for a bolder statement. All of our designs are made from ethically sourced materials and to the highest standards to ensure our pieces hold up. time-tested through everyday wear.Not only do they look good, but you can really feel that high quality when you put them on.

When I ask the couple where they get inspiration for their collections, Kahn tells me, “We’re constantly inspired by our surroundings, whether it’s the Brooklyn Bridge, an ornate doorknob or a family heirloom. Especially being founded and based in New York, we find that the daily life of this city is not lacking in inspiration.

Sustainability is a cornerstone for Aurate. “There are a lot of ugly practices in jewelry, so from the start we decided to change that by making sustainability a core part of Aurate,” says Ezzahraoui. “We only use 100% recycled gold and source our diamonds, gemstones and pearls ethically to ensure the well-being of our suppliers and the environment.”

The duo are fortunate that unlike many other businesses, Aurate has been profitable so far during the pandemic. “Although it’s a bit crazy, the pandemic has done Aurate more good than harm,” Kahn shares. “COVID has essentially propelled the forces we have always believed in: the power of e-commerce/online, the power of being sustainable, and the power of being direct to consumer and maintaining a close line of communication with your community. The result for 2020 is that we have been able to grow enormously and we are also achieving profitability. »

Ezzahraoui adds: “In the new year, we will certainly push hard on the digital front, but we are also excited to get our outlets back into the usual rhythm of things. We have big plans for 2021, but knowing how this year has gone, we’re ready to change direction with any missteps that may come along the way.

Indira New York

Launched last fall, Indira offers consumers a sustainable and affordable option for traditionally mined diamonds with the brand’s lab-grown diamonds. Founded by Mohit Mehta, who came from several generations of family involved in the diamond trade (including designer Carolina Cordón-Bouzáng who founded Montserrat NYC), Indira is a tribute to Mehta’s grandmother, Indira Rameshchandra Mehta.

“Having grown up in Mumbai, India in a Gujarati family with years of diamond experience around me, family, friends and community conversations over the past five years have fluctuated around lab-grown diamonds.” Mehta tells me when I ask her what inspired the jump to lab-grown diamonds. “By researching the jewelry and diamond industry directly to the consumer and doing user research, we have found a niche for a high quality, affordable diamond jewelry brand. The time has come for a brand that can meet the needs of modern, diverse and socially conscious consumers who are excluded from the traditional diamond jewelry equation.

Mehta believes lab-grown diamonds are the future because of their affordability, chemical purity, and not being made at the expense of a mine. Mehta explains, “They are not exclusively the future, as natural diamonds will always have a place in the market, where that final resting place will ultimately be determined by a number of different factors, including the future consumer. Natural diamonds will always have a place in the luxury market. The lab-grown diamond industry is nascent and still has a long way to go in terms of sustainability, but it is the future consumer’s benchmark. In addition to using lab-grown diamonds, the brand is currently implementing carbon offsets for its entire supply chain.

Currently, Indira offers a range of earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets and plans to expand its offering this year. “We will continue to grow our collection over the next year, releasing floating studs among other minimalist designs,” Mehta shares. “Besides that, our main focus is going to be to find our sweet spot as an Indo-Western brand bringing Indian-inspired designs to our New York-based brand for the everyday bustle. All fine jewelry has a point common, the nostalgia of being passed down from generation to generation, Indira wants to strive to create jewelry that my grandmother would be proud to pass on to future generations.

SENIA

Sisters Christina, a mechanical engineer, and Gina Senia, a finance student, have teamed up to launch SENIA, a brand focused on designing modern, modular heirloom jewelry with a focus on sustainability. Launched last fall, the brand offers customizable stacking rings with a variety of conflict-free gemstones, hoop earrings that can be worn in over 50 combinations, a chain ring that can be worn three ways and custom design options for unique pieces. —all made from 100% recycled gold and silver.

The idea for the brand was born while Christina was looking for a graduation ring in 2016, during her senior year at Vanderbilt. “I researched the history and found that the tradition was created in the 1800s by men and for men, before women could even go to college,” Christina tells me. . “Times have definitely changed, so why haven’t our rings changed? This inspired me to start designing our first Halo collection of customizable Roman numeral rings to commemorate special dates and numbers.

Christina used the same design software she used in her mechanical engineering classes to build automotive parts and medical devices to design the brand’s first parts. “When I founded SENIA, I began to approach jewelry design from an engineer’s perspective and created one of the most versatile modular earring sets on the market, our earrings. Infinity Earbuds, which are patent pending and can be worn over 50 ways.”

After years of conceiving, the pair launched their brand in the spring of 2020 at the height of the pandemic — a move they say was prompted by family and friends looking for ways to celebrate missed events. Christina continues, “In the fall of 2020, we launched to the public and sold out our Infinity Earrings within 24 hours. In the first month, we launched a charitable fund for various founders, the Student Innovation Fund, and hired over 20 interns who had lost opportunities due to the pandemic.

When I ask what modular jewelry is, Christina explains, “Modular jewelry design transcends time, age, and gender, allowing the wearer to create multiple custom looks without the cost and impact environmental. Transformability is the remedy for meeting society’s inherent need for novelty without the environmental and financial repercussions of fast fashion. Modular fashion allows for versatility in style, size inclusiveness with fewer SKUs, environmental sustainability, and most importantly, allows the consumer to become the designer.

Gina adds, “Our pieces are more transformable than just modular in a sense. We have just launched a line of modular chains with bracelets and anklets that can be combined to form necklaces. Our chain rings can be worn three ways on the hand and used to create a lariat or span the Infinity Earring Set. This year we are releasing a ton of new products, which will be our most multi-functional yet. One piece in particular can be worn on the ear, neck and hand. We are also in the process of designing our first release of modular clothing, which will cross over with jewelry. Currently, SENIA caters directly to consumers, but the founders plan to partner with select retailers in the future.