If you've ever seen the movie Blood Diamond then you'll realise the importance of ethical diamonds. The industry is notoriously corrupt so it's refreshing to know that jewellery designers Ingle & Rhode are working hard to bring you ethical diamonds. We caught up with them to find out why it is so important to know where your jewels have come from.
- Why are ethically sourced diamonds so important? People give diamond engagement rings as a symbol of their love, and nobody wants to worry that their romance might be tarnished by war or exploitation. People are becoming increasingly aware of how much damage diamonds have done.
- What does ethically sourced actually mean? It means that nobody was harmed or exploited in the production of the raw materials, or in the manufacture of the jewellery. It means no conflict diamonds, no child labour, proper pay and conditions for workers, and minimal environmental impact.
- Which countries do you source from? We source gold from Argentina, diamonds from Canada and Lesotho, Rubies from Madagascar, and Sapphires from Tanzania.
- Why did you decide to launch Ingle & Rhode? Co-founder David Rhode got engaged a couple of years ago, and couldn’t find a London jeweller whose ethical credentials satisfied him. Having experience the problem from the consumer’s perspective, he and Tim Ingle realised that there was a need for a jewellery brand that offered total transparency, while not compromising on quality.
- What inspires you? Working with organisations that make a real difference to people’s lives in the developing world.
- I realise this is a relatively new project but so far how well has the idea been received? We’ve had a really positive response, far more so than we expected at this stage. It seems that people are becoming more ethical in their spending habits across different areas, and jewellery is no exception.
- What is your favourite piece from your collection? We don’t have a favourite piece as such, but we enjoy doing bespoke engagement rings. Each one offers a different design challenge, and is an opportunity to do something really special. About three quarters of the engagement rings that we do are bespoke commissions.
- What kind of person wears your pieces? We have clients from a wide range of backgrounds, it’s difficult to draw any generalisations. The only thing they all have in common is that they care about the impact they have on other people – and that applies to a lot of consumers these days.
- Has awareness of the importance of ethical diamonds grown due to references in the entertainment industry, for example in Blood Diamond? There’s no question that ‘Blood Diamond’ did us a big favour by raising awareness of one particular issue. It looks like our job is to help publicise some of the other ethical problems facing the jewellery industry, such as the environmental damage done by gold mining. The media is already beginning to get a hold of that one.
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