Sourcing & Values
In order to make sure that my materials sourcing and business practices decisions are aligned with my goal of helping create a jewelry industry that is beneficial to all people along the supply chain and prioritizes stewardship of the environment, I am very selective with the materials I choose to purchase. I’ve outlined the majority of my materials sourcing parameters below. My number one priority when it comes to all jewelry materials is to support responsible artisanal mining as directly as possible through the purchase of responsibly mined gold and gemstones. Secondarily, I employ guidelines based in circular design principles by reusing materials that clients may already have on hand or in the purchase of estate and pre-owned jewelry, both for resale and material sourcing.
Truss and Ore sourcing parameters are met or proven by third-party certification, photographic proof, written affidavit, or based on verbal assurances from my suppliers. My preference is for the highest level of proof and assurance, but in some instances, it does come down to trust as certification is still inaccessible or very challenging in certain areas or for certain materials/mines. I am always happy to defer to the client’s preference for the type of assurance they would like to have about their materials. Since my sourcing parameters have been instated (in 2019), I have declined to purchase gemstones and other materials which did not at the very least have some of the above assurance of origin and traceability. I have declined to purchase others which had assurances of origin but did not align with my values based on environmental or human rights concerns.
Fairmined gold is the default gold option at Truss and Ore. Pieces produced prior to Truss and Ore becoming a Fairmined licensed brand will be noted in the product description. As other responsible artisanal and small-scale gold sourcing options become available, I may consider including that material into my sourcing and will make note of that specifically. For custom projects, an exception may be made to include gold from a client’s heirloom piece in the creation of the new jewelry. I’m currently not making any other exceptions for this material, which means that certain design elements, such as specific styles of chain or other findings, may not be available.
Silver pieces currently in stock are all from previous production, prior to Truss and Ore sourcing parameters being instated (2019). Any one-of-a-kind newly made silver pieces will be fabricated with previously purchased silver as well, or with certified recycled silver. *Note that I believe recycled silver to be a more ethical choice than recycled gold, given that there is a higher amount of recycled silver from industrial sources and other items that may actually be diverted from a waste stream (whereas gold is never destined for a wastestream)
The availability of color gemstones from artisanal and small-scale mining sources is much greater than it is for diamonds. Therefore, I prioritize the use of color gemstones in Truss and Ore designs. My ideal source for a color gemstone is one where I have traceability to the mine (or even specific miner, as with Moyo Gems) but at minimum, it must be traceable to country of origin. The gemstones must also be cut and polished in a facility for which I have assurances of safe working conditions.
The diamond sector is dominated by large scale mining and multinational corporations. As of this writing, there are no readily available (meaning tracked and traced specifically as such, rather than being mixed in batches with assorted diamonds of various origins) artisanally mined diamond options available. My goal is to be able to prioritize purchasing traceable diamonds from artisanal and small-scale mine origins in the near future, as they become available. In the meantime, I do not purchase any newly mined diamonds. Heirloom diamonds may be used in client projects or estate, vintage, or antique diamonds may be sourced with assurance of post-consumer status. I do not purchase synthetic diamonds (aka lab-grown diamonds).
Truss and Ore Curated
Pieces in the Truss and Ore Curated collection are sourced primarily through estate sales and are primarily post-consumer pieces. In rare cases, I may include what is referred to as ”deadstock” pieces if older than 30 years as fitting into definitions of “vintage” in fashion.
Ethical Metalsmiths - I’ve been an active member of Ethical Metalsmiths (EM) since 2019 and became a co-chair of the Ethical Metalsmiths Action Coalition (EMAC) in 2021. The mission of EM is: “Inspiring responsible jewelry practices through education, connection, and action.” Through the EMAC, I work to help lead and support various initiatives with goals of increasing consumer awareness about responsible jewelry practices, gauging and increasing jewelry industry knowledge of such practices, gathering the most up to date information on responsible sourcing of materials, and more. We will soon be launching the Better Jewelry Project, an initiative providing open source and consumer-facing educational materials for free use by independent designers, brands, others in our industry, and the press.
Jewelry Glossary Project - I joined the definitions team for the Jewelry Glossary Project (JGP) after learning about it at the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference in 2019. A bit about JGP: “The goal of the Jewelry Glossary Project is to create shared definitions of key terms within the jewelry industry for use by the trade and the public. The project was launched to increase transparency throughout the supply chain, by building consensus on definitions for key terms and creating accountability for their usage.” The current team of contributors meets regularly to update the published definitions based on feedback from a public survey conducted in 2019.
In 2022, my direct donations (not including organization membership fees) equaled 11% of the total Truss and Ore sales amount. As this business is a small and part-time endeavor for me, this does not represent a large amount of money, but I do want to highlight that I prioritize supporting organizations in the jewelry industry that align with my values even at the modest amount that is possible for Truss and Ore. The organizations include: We Wield the Hammer, Black In Jewelry Coalition, Better Without Mercury, Ethical Metalsmiths, Marange Women’s Alliance (through Responsible Jewelry Transformative), Gem Legacy, Mercury Free Mining
I’ve also supported the annual Pure Earth Benefit Jewelry Auction twice thus far by donating a piece of jewelry made in Fairmined gold to be sold at the auction. I plan on participating again in future auctions.