What does “sustainable fashion” mean to you?
Sustainable fashion, in regard to sustainable jewelry, means promoting responsible mining and supply chain transparency. It is of utmost importance for jewelry designers and companies to transform the mining and jewelry industries for the protection of the earth, its peoples, and cultures.
What inspired you to start an ethical jewelry company?
In 2008, I received a BFA in New Media and Metalsmithing from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. I studied Metalsmithing under Christina Miller, Co-Founder of Ethical Metalsmiths, a non-profit organization leading jewelers and consumers in becoming informed activists for responsible mining, sustainable economic development and verified, ethical sources of materials used in making jewelry. Therefore, I have chosen to only work with ethically sourced materials. All of my jewelry is made with recycled metals, reclaimed wood, and ethically sourced diamonds.
What is your company’s mission?
Sarah Zentz Jewelry’s mission is to be an advocate for responsible mining, sustainable and ethical sources for gold, silver, diamonds and all materials in the production of jewelry.
Who is your customer?
I design contemporary pieces of adornment that are minimal, geometric, and ethically made. My handmade ethical jewelry is inspired by and created for the nature-loving adventurer and traveler. Although I consider many of my wood jewelry designs unisex, my main customer base is 25-34 year-old women.
What is something you wish people knew about sustainable jewelry?
The mining industry has a devastating impact on ecosystems from poisoned waters to solid toxic waste. According to No Dirty Gold, “producing gold for one wedding ring alone generates 20 tons of waste.” Most people probably don’t know this but metal mining was the number one toxic polluter in the United States in 2010 releasing arsenic, mercury, and lead into the environment. According to Ethical Metalsmiths, “Large open-pit mines operated by multi-national corporations consume wilderness areas, destroy ecosystems and violate human rights. Artisanal mining in impoverished nations exploit labor, poison communities and ravage environments.” Ethical jewelers can help reduce the ecological and human footprint of mining by using sustainable materials and recycled metals. Furthermore, people can purchase ethical jewelry instead of “blood diamonds” and “dirty gold.”
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