True Gems: Luxury Jewelry with a Purpose
Organic Spa Magazine STYLE
by Zoe Helene

Celebrate the Harvest season in rich fire and wine tones, earthy olive greens and cocoa browns—each one more luscious than the next—a sensual feast for the spirit.

Yes, your jewelry choices make a difference. When you invest in ethical, heirloom-quality jewelry, you’re also investing in the future. Your purchase supports a creative community of like-minded humanitarians, out there doing important work. These fine-jewelry designers are working toward a more ethical and eco-friendly industry.


Artist anthropologist PIPPA SMALL created these heavenly earrings in partnership with Turquoise Mountain, a humanitarian foundation based in Kabul. By employing Afghani women in her studio, Pippa promotes women’s independence in a country where they are overtly persecuted. Sixty percent of profits go to the charity; the rest go to the artisans. A full 2.5-inch drop showcases the beauty of local semi-precious stones with tourmaline, peridot, amethyst and garnet, with colors inspired by the natural-dyed silks of the nomadic Kuchi people. Shah Chandelier Earrings, $715,


San Francisco-based KIRSTEN MUENSTER feels a strong connection to the beautiful materials she works with. She uses only 100 percent recycled precious metals and stones that have a traceable "mine-to-market" custody chain. In this case, a third-party certified stone is set in recycled sterling silver and the chain is vintage gunmetal given a new life. Fossilized Coral Pendant, $395.


Colorado-based jewelry master TODD REED is a sought after expert in natural, uncut diamonds. His museum-quality contemporary jewelry features responsibly sourced raw diamonds, sublimely set in high-carat recycled gold and other precious metals through Hoover & Strong's Harmony Green Metals program. Raw Diamond and Recycled Gold Marquee Diamond Bracelet, $250,800, and Diamond Flower Cuff Bracelet, $31,680.


These sparkling beauties from the Comet Collection are by Oregon-based TOBY POMEROY, a pioneer in earth-friendly gold and silver who believes in jewelry that is “as equally ethical as it is elegant.” Toby’s pieces are poetic expressions of his values. Single Gem Comet Earrings in Amethyst, Citrine, Red Garnet, Green Quartz, and Smokey Quartz in 14k EcoGold, $640, or EcoSilver, $415; Multi-Stone Comet Earrings in 14k EcoGold, $2,095, or 18k EcoGold, $2,545.


Finding beauty in the unexpected, KIRSTEN MUENSTER incorporates spectacular fossils in her work. In some cases, they are hundreds of millions of years old. Set in recycled sterling silver, these rich, earthy stones are (from left to right) fossilized fern, botswana agate, pink tourmaline, quartz with inclusions and fossilized coral. Rings, $500.


Inspired by the natural shapes of nature, this luscious set is co-created by Matthew Moerman and Matthew Baxter. BAXTER MOERMAN takes pride in choosing heirloom-quality, ethically sourced gemstones. All pieces are created with recycled gold, “which means no newly mined metals”; diamonds and precious stones are conflict-free. Piedras Necklace, Ring and Earring Set, 18K yellow gold and quartz necklace, $3,665; 18K rose gold and whiskey quartz ring, $1,800; 18K yellow gold earrings green amethyst, smoky quartz and rose-cut diamonds, $2,050.


No new mining is supported in MIDORI FERRIS-WAYNE studio. She forged these charming rings out of reclaimed 14K rose gold and sterling silver bi-metal (front is gold, reverse is silver, fused together) and reclaimed 14K white gold. The tiny diamonds are resurrected from antique jewelry. Vineyard Stacking Rings with Vintage Diamond Accents in reclaimed 18K yellow, rose or white gold, $870, sold individually. Chocolate-brown Shakudo (a signature alloy of gold and copper, originally used in samurai sword fittings) lined with 18K, $815. Reclaimed sterling silver, $230.


This striking ring by ANNE SPORTUN is inspired by nature and the universal language of shapes and symbols. Anne selects only the finest of stones under the terms of the Kimberley Process, a system designed by the United Nations to certify conflict-free origins. Set in recycled and refined 14kt gold. Sapphire Sunburst Color Wheel Ring, $238,

This Afghani girl’s rights to independence and education are supported by proceeds made from fine locally crafted jewelry, through a charity called Turquoise Mountain. (


Want to learn more? Ready to unravel that ball of string? Open that Pandora’s box? Good for you! But expect more of the same: Man’s inhumanity toward man and nature; complex, deep-rooted global issues fueled by power and greed; and a great deal of dirty money. But, there's good news. Jewelry professionals around the world are working together to create systems that promote positive change. Check out these online resources:

Fair Trade Gems (
No Dirty Gold (
Fair Trade Federation (
Global Witness (
Ethical Metalsmiths (
Kimberley Process (
Turquoise Mountain (
Hoover & Strong's Harmony Green Metals (

October 2012