Who Needs "ethical" Emeralds And What Does It Mean

Who Needs "ethical" Emeralds And What Does It Mean
Who Needs "ethical" Emeralds And What Does It Mean

Video: Who Needs "ethical" Emeralds And What Does It Mean

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What Chopard and Eco-Age (and now also Gemfields) are doing is, first of all, the path to environmentally and ethically responsible mining of stones and metals for jewelry, promoting the most open supply, caring for local communities in the places of extraction and production. It is surprising that the owner of the Fabergé Gemfields brand decided to become a Chopard partner and did not take his jewelry brand with him on the Journey, - the head of Gemfields, Ian Harebottle, chose not to comment on this issue. He and Chopard co-president Caroline Scheufele gave comprehensive answers to other questions.

Ian Harebottle, head of Gemfields
Ian Harebottle, head of Gemfields

Ian Harebottle, Head of Gemfields © Chopard Press Office

Why did you decide to partner with Chopard on their The Journey to Sustainable Luxury?

“We at Gemfields pride ourselves on being among the leaders in responsible mining of colored gemstones, and we strive to make the journey of stones from the mine to the stalls as transparent as possible. Our partnership with Chopard is a very logical step, and its results can show what happens when those who think the same and who have a common goal - effective change.

- In what similar projects did Gemfields participate before partnering with Chopard?

- We have had joint projects with several brands related to philanthropy or professional ethics. For example, we worked with activist Mary Fisher to help produce amethyst bracelets for her 100 Good Deeds campaign.

The most recent project is with Chelsea Davy (AYA brand). She created a new jewelry collection, the proceeds of which went to the development of a public school near our Kagem emerald mine. And these are just two of a large number of examples, not counting the collaboration with CSR - working with local communities in the areas where our production is located.

"We are always ready to improve production."

- What does joining a new project technically mean for you? What will change?

“We admitted independent auditors to our Kagem fields in Zambia, who audited us on behalf of Chopard. After that we received comments on what Chopard thinks about the conditions in our production facilities and where we could improve them. We are always ready to improve production. In my opinion, what we are doing with Chopard is also a strong motivation for other market players, a reason to start moving in the same direction.

- Did you have to change a lot at the fields to meet the project standards?

- We already had very high standards! We have made great strides in the direction of environmentally and ethically responsible production, but we always believe that even more can be done. For example, we continue to develop technologies to provide better protection for nature. We have a plan for the development of the field, which includes, for example, the regeneration of territories that are no longer mined - we plant them with trees and bushes. We engage outside experts to assess the long-term prospects of our projects for the conservation of natural diversity. We also have an extensive community development plan, which includes new social projects, and each new project has been influenced by the success of the previous one.

Photo: Chopard Press Office
Photo: Chopard Press Office

© Chopard Press Office

- Why do you think there are so many emeralds in high jewelry this year?

- Emeralds were valued even by the ancient Egyptians and Incas. The first emerald deposit in Egypt was named after Cleopatra - she loved them so much! Now discerning customers have begun to appreciate something that has timeless value and personal taste, and therefore began to purchase stones such as emeralds. Well, from a marketing standpoint, projects like ours with Chopard are returning colored stones, including emeralds, to their rightful place.

- Your main specialization is emeralds and amethysts from Zambia and rubies from Mozambique, what other stones are the key stones for Gemfields?

“We are also involved in early-stage development of fields around the world, including Ethiopia, Colombia and Madagascar.

Caroline Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard
Caroline Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard

Caroline Scheufele, Chopard Co-President © Chopard Press Office

- Who is currently involved in the ethically and environmentally responsible mining of metals and stones for jewelry The Journey to Sustainable Luxury and who else is planning to join in the near future?

- It all started with gold, but we are constantly looking for new partners in the project. At the moment, these are deposits in Latin America that have received the Fairmined certification directly with the support of Chopard, and the Gemfields emerald deposits. But the project is worth following. As they say, Rome was not built in one day. It’s not an easy path, but I’m sure it’s the right one.

“I realized that I had no idea where the gold for our jewelry and watches came from.”

- Why does the project seem so important to you? What would you say to other suppliers or jewelry company representatives convincing them to join the project?

- The company was founded more than a century ago, it has been owned by our family for many years. And as an old family business, we are aware of our responsibility, which is why we launched The Journey to Sustainable Luxury. It all started when I realized that I had no idea where the gold for our jewelry and watches came from. And I decided to find out. I started working with Livia Firth and Eco-Age, and we were able to significantly improve the working conditions of people who are at the very beginning of the production chain - in the fields. We bought all the gold mined by a particular deposit, which gave him a stable income. And that was the beginning of a program planned for many years. Her goal is to achieve 100% environmentally and ethically responsible jewelry.

- Have you personally visited the Gemfields?

- Unfortunately, not yet, but I would very much like to. Our partnership is a precedent for the ethical mining of colored gemstones, a notable alliance in our industry that supports local communities in remote regions where these rare stones are mined.

Photo: Chopard Press Office
Photo: Chopard Press Office

© Chopard Press Office

- How important do you think such projects are for the end client? Someone, choosing between two rings with emeralds, will really prefer what is obtained ethically - can this be decisive in the choice?

- From the very beginning of the project, the reaction was fantastic! From our clients and celebrities who have chosen ethical haute joaillerie jewelry for their red carpet exits. This is why we decided to launch the Palme Verte collection, which uses exclusively Fairmined gold. I think such projects should be especially interesting for the younger generation. People now want to know more and more about who sewed their clothes, what foods they eat … and I think this is a positive development. I believe the ethical prey argument can be decisive when choosing a piece of jewelry or a watch. And we are going to increase the number of jewelry made from Fairmined gold and ethically mined gems.

- The project has been going on for several years. What do you consider to be your main achievements during the period of its existence?

Chopard has undoubtedly been a pioneer in these kinds of initiatives, and it makes me proud that other big brands are now launching similar projects.>

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