Fine Jewelry

The 3 Coolest Sustainable Jewelers To Invest In This Summer

Precious Details: our fortnightly edit of trending fine jewelry and timepieces, plus expert styling advice

In order of appearance: ‘Unity’ necklace, Kimaï; ‘Magnetic Recto-Verso’ necklace, Viltier; ‘Initial’ necklace, Foundrae

“I believe education and knowledge are the most important tools to change the standards of how jewelry should be created,” explains Thomas Montier Leboucher, co-founder and CEO of fine-jewelry maison Viltier. Proud to make 100 percent of their jewels within their Paris atelier, thus supporting local craftsmanship and reducing carbon emissions, Leboucher and his co-founding partner Iris de la Villardière launched their brand in 2020, just before the pandemic hit. “We love to see experienced artisans in our atelier training the younger generation – it feels great to know that the legacy of a beautiful craft is protected a little bit, thanks to us,” he adds.

Viltier’s distinctive magnet motifs aptly symbolize togetherness, and they’re crafted exclusively using Fairmined gold from small, artisanal mines. Leboucher explains how Viltier pays a premium of 20 percent on top of the actual gold price, which is then invested back into the mine to finance a regular audit, ensuring that Fairmined standards are maintained. “From my perspective, we shouldn’t use the term ‘sustainable brand’; we are a luxury brand, hence we must be sustainable and aware,” he explains. “This is the luxury of today,” he adds. “It is very easy to get lost in the greenwashing and to hide behind so-called ‘ethical practices’, but you need to ask yourselves, is what I am doing truly sustainable?”

Kimaï’s co-founders, Jessica Warch and Sidney Neuhaus, who grew up surrounded by friends and family working in the fine-jewelry industry in the Belgian city of Antwerp, found themselves asking similar questions. The friends were inspired to launch Kimaï, adopting a fully traceable approach to fine jewelry designed for the modern woman, using lab-grown diamonds and recycled gold in all their collections. The brand shot to fame in 2019, when Megan, Duchess of Sussex was spotted wearing a pair of its lab-grown-diamond drop earrings, which in turn sparked a global conversation around lab-grown stones and encouraged customers to learn more about their sustainability credentials. “We design pieces to be worn and loved daily; think diamonds with your sneakers,” says Warch, who encourages jewelry lovers to select quality pieces that will stand the test of time and can be passed down from generation to generation.

Foundrae’s jewels are cast from 100 percent recycled gold certified by a third-party verification system, as re-refined metals can be recycled repeatedly without any degradation in quality. “We are committed to creating jewelry that is focused on intangible symbolism and tangible quality and craftsmanship, while protecting the human rights of all individuals in our supply chain,” says Beth Bugdaycay, founder of the bohemian brand that is a regular around the necks of Gwyneth Paltrow, Olivia Wilde and Emily Ratajkowski. Foundrae’s ‘Initial’ necklaces embody this philosophical duality – they’re efficiently crafted from recycled 18-karat gold, but their whimsical heart motif symbolically celebrates seven kinds of love – effortlessly marrying conscious choices with great design.

When it comes to making a difference, every little helps. “We are very aware that having a brand and creating products will always have an impact,” says Warch, “but if we can harness innovation and technology to create beautiful pieces that don’t cost the earth, and we can educate our customers and community along the way, then we have found our place and purpose.”