We are constantly striving to find ways to create our jewellery with consideration for the environmental impact and the livelihoods of the artists who work with us to celebrate creativity in the safest and most transparent way we can.
We are very conscious in the world today one of the reasons for forced migration is lack of job opportunity. We feel it is very important to ensure job security, this we do by creating two collections a year and selling both through our shops in London and the US, we also wholesale around the world and continually look for collaboration opportunities to ensure the workshops have year round work.
The less tangible side of our work is the importance we place in our collections that are made in Bolivia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Jordan and India is that we ensure the artisans heritage is recognised through the design inspiration coming from the region in which we are working. so there is a sense of pride in ones culture and heritage and design history as well as personal satisfaction in creating. One Syrain women training in Jordan with Turquoise Mountain summed up the feeling she got from the workshop by saying it was the first time she had been happy in 10 years.
The act of making is one of creativity, of concentration, almost meditation, it can take you deep in yourself or out of yourself, a moment to relinquish and be fully involved in an action that can be deeply therapeutic. It is also financial independence and security. Something the Turquoise Mountain project in Jordan is helping by training young Syrian women who in time will be able to return home but have the means to start their own business and workshops making jewellery.
When I have worked in small communities such as with the Kuna Indians of the San Bushman there was a keen sense that everyone in the community was creative and a part of the process, all were involved with their opinion of how the jewellery sounded when one danced, what colours were perceived as harmonious together and what the meanings were of particular designs and shapes which made it is a totally inclusive experience for us all.
How we work with our artisans
We work with artisans all over the world, from The high Andes of Bolivia to the plains of north west India, with peoples who have been forced to flee conflict to those living under challenging political regimes, from those who are new to learning the craft and those who are part of a long line of goldsmiths.
In all the areas we work poverty and lack of opportunity are a challenge, we seek to support small businesses, workshops where artisans can work independently creating and participating on the design process, providing sustainable livelihoods.
Each artisan we work with supports their extended families and the job is a vital source of income. We have created partnerships rather than create a dependency, the people we work with are highly skilled and we are proud to work with them and honoured to showcase their talent.
We feel the act of creating is an act of hope, an action for and a belief in the future.
I have visited gold mines in Africa as well as South America and Asia and have seen first hand how dangerous and destructive places they can be and the importance of putting safe guards for both the miners, the land and the communities around the mines.
We worked with the first Fair trade certified gold mine in the world in 2011 in Bolivia. The cooperative run mine Cotopata was a fascinating journey having started working with the mine a few years before they reached certification we witnessed first hand the changes and structures put in place to protect both humans and the environment.
Later we worked with Yani also in Bolivia which was a certified Fair mined gold mine. Sadly since cover Yani has not re-applied due to hardships in the country but we are waiting to start working with the next mine in Bolivia that starts to produce cleaner gold Our source of gems tend to be local where can source materials locally we do.
In Myanmar where we work with Turquoise Mountain the famous Mogul gem mines are mostly government and Chinese owned but there are smaller mines that are family owned where there have been considerable improvements in the way the stones are mined and the impacts on the environment.
There were improvements in Afghanistan up until 2021 to create safer environments for miners - we are unclear at present about the situation of these mines.
Bringing women into the workshops is revolutionary in many parts of the world - goldsmithing and stone cutting has traditionally been a man's domain.
Turquoise Mountain has been a great supporter for young women to learn a skill and guide them in starting their own businesses in different parts of the world.
It has opened new horizons for a generation of girls who dream to make and design and sell their own collections and allow them independence and self-sufficient lives, contributing to their families incomes and allow them to make choices they have not had in the past. It allows them to express themselves and be seen and heard through their work.
We work with women where and when it is safe to do so. The project managers in some projects are women liaising with London on orders and quality and shipping.