The jewellery industry has garnered a reputation for not being the most sustainable of business categories. However, improvements such as how gems are sourced, the use of recycled metals, and the adoption of fair labour practices are all slowly reimagining that reputation.
Australian jewellery brand The Prestwick Place aims to bring sustainable and more ethical options to eco-conscious consumers by offering high-end jewellery made from lab-grown diamonds, moissanite, and recycled gold.
Rebecca Klodinsky and Lachie Henderson co-founded the brand after discovering the conflict with mined natural stones, the 300 per cent base markup on natural diamonds, and the negative impact the jewellery has on the environment – some 150 million tonnes of toxic waste is dumped from mines each year, and 20 tonnes of waste is produced to create a gold ring.
A lab-grown diamond, says The Prestwick Place, offers the same brilliance, sparkle, and hardness of 10/10 of a natural, mined diamond. It should be treated as a natural diamond since it has the same properties.
In addition, lab-grown diamonds are conflict-free, created with fewer hands, and less damaging than their more expensive natural counterpart.
Viable.Earth had the privilege of talking with The Prestwick Place co-founder, Rebecca Klodinsky, to discuss how the business operates as an eco-friendlier jewellery company.
Klodinsky shared that all the label’s designs are created mainly by her or in collaboration with the team, with each design handmade and only brought to life once ordered.
“We are not a typical jewellery store where stock is ready and on hand,” she explains. “As a company, we only use recycled precious metals.”
Recycled gold produces up to 99.8 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than mined gold, continued Klodinsky, and recycling platinum produces only around .05 per cent emissions than mining for platinum. Furthermore, traditional gold mines use mercury and cyanide to extract the precious metal, contaminating the environment.
“As a company and a united team in changing the approach to how fine jewellery is crafted, we do not support these environmentally devastating practices and we do not buy any newly-mined precious metals,” said the co-founder.
Klodinsky shared that one hurdle she had to overcome was the growth of the business when it became “the most overwhelming thing” to manage, and she had to resign from her previous position.
“I am the director of another large company and didn’t anticipate the growth, feedback and demand to be so high,” she continued. “It forced me into immediately decisive action, and though it was tricky, I loved it!”
Klodinsky said it forced her to decide immediately, and though it was “tricky,” she loved being able to focus on fostering the brand.
“If there’s one constant thing in life, it’s change”, said Klodinsky. “For centuries, we’ve been told one thing about jewellery; the diamond is it. However, the world as we know it has evolved.”
In years past, lab-grown diamonds may not have been the consumer’s first choice when shopping for fine jewellery like an engagement ring, she continued. However, the industry has been vastly “shaken up” as more consumers become aware of the controversial history of mined diamonds and their negative environmental and social impacts.
“Times are changing rapidly, and it would be naive – to say the least – to close your mind to the idea that an alternate option to the diamond does now well and truly exist,” she concluded.
The Prestwick Place recently opened its flagship store in Byron Bay and plans nationwide expansion.