I suppose I knew about blood diamonds and to be careful about buying gem stones (that hasn’t been a problem for me!), but I didn’t know much about the ethics and sustainability of metals and jewellery. I was excited to be in touch with the fascinating and very talented Jemima Hargreaves, who is kindly sharing her story with us:
In a small workshop in Yorkshire I was given the chance to learn how to be a goldsmith. From there I went on to train with a master in his workshop at the top of a rickety staircase far above the street. He was brilliant, I was his last apprentice and I was hooked. From there I went to another fine jewellery workshop, the best outside of London, to continue training but I soon took over the running of the workshop. After a few years I wanted to try something new and moved to London to run a large scale production workshop and then from there I had the choice of continuing along the traditional route my training had lead me along and was offered a role as royal liaison for a traditional fine jewellery brand but at the same time I was also offered the chance to go somewhere totally different and manage a workshop that embraced modern techniques and specialises in pieces for high profile film work. The second option was totally different and I jumped at the chance. It was long hours and tight deadlines but I loved it.
Throughout that time I also consulted to help jewellery companies to be more profitable. After a few years I ended up in Scandinavia and it was time to start out on my own project. Throughout my training and career it was made clear not to ask where materials came from or whose hands they have passed through on the journey from mine to bench. The more I heard ethics and the nasty truths brushed under the carpet the more I knew I had to be different. It took around three years of searching for ethical materials and suppliers and lots of trial and error but finally at Stockholm Fashion Week in January of 2017, Hargreaves Stockholm was launched. Our pieces reflect my Scandinavian heritage with influences from my Viking ancestors and the Scandinavian landscape that surrounds me. Every aspect of every collection is researched to ensure we work at sustainably and responsibly as possible. We only use responsibly sourced metals and stones and we offer a choice of packaging that is created in house using robotic technology and sustainably sourced cork.
Since my training I have lectured about gold and diamonds but now I approach it from a sustainable point of view and discuss the truth about gold and diamond mining, the genocide, the huge environmental impact and the alternatives we can consider. It can be a slow road trying anything new in my industry but the consumer is ready so sooner or later the retailer must take note. In the last year I have shown at Stockholm, Copenhagen and London Fashion Weeks and next season we are aiming for London and Paris. I have also been shortlisted as New Designer of the Year at the UK Jewellery Awards. Hopefully that is a positive sign that the industry is starting to listen.
We wish Jemima every success in the UK Jewellery Awards x
A wealth of information is available on our website and webshop: www.hargreavesstockholm.com