OUR ETHOS

We believe that our jewelry is a connection to the earth, and every hand in between. Our materials are sourced as sustainably as we possibly can, focusing on recycled materials to reduce our role in today's commercial mining practices, and also on fair trade materials that provide positive impact to responsible mining communities from around the globe. Our jewelry strives to support an entire chain of people, with careful sourcing, planning, and learning — a complex process we work on every day. 

Our Materials
Our Studios
Field Notes

Ethos

More than jewelry.

WWAKE is a medium for connection. To ourselves. To earth. To the people we love. And to the ones we may never meet, yet touch our lives in exceptional ways.

WWAKE was created with the ethos that we share a responsibility to respect the human rights of all people and to honor the value and beauty of earth’s natural resources through responsible business practices. From the foundation of our business, throughout our supply chain, and beyond- WWAKE aims to make every connection meaningful.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN

Female owned, led, and run - WWAKE recognizes women’s economic empowerment as essential to building stronger communities and achieving international goals for sustainability and development. WWAKE provides opportunities for employment, growth, and leadership for women throughout our supply chain and within our local community.

LOCAL PRODUCTION

By keeping production local, WWAKE is able to oversee all elements that go into making our jewelry - ensuring the integrity and quality of each piece. This control enables us to keep our carbon footprint low and make environmentally responsible decisions, like replacing toxic substances typically used by jewelry manufacturers with nontoxic, natural substances.

Local production allows WWAKE to support our local economy by returning more of our revenue to the community each year than what is possible through outsourced production. We source materials from responsible mining models that encourage local production and value addition at the source to encourage local economic development in these communities as well.

ORIGIN MATTERS, POSITIVE IMPACT

When sourcing new material, we’re most passionate about transparency around working conditions at the source, because this allows us to actively rethink age-old colonial systems that left the people at the source of materials most vulnerable. We buy from the few pioneers of fairtrade gemstones in the industry, and work directly with the miners to preserve the provenance of our jewelry and prioritize social development with the communities at the source. As such, we design collections around fairtrade, positive impact sources that help communities break out of poverty and flourish over time.

LOW-IMPACT PRACTICES

As a base practice, we design around low-impact materials as much as we possibly can. This means recycled diamonds and recycled gold, certified by SCS standards which ensure our supply chains meet international labor standards, and don’t include destructive environmental practices. We also source heritage gemstone rough (mined 17+ years ago), as well as antique diamonds, all of which minimize reliance on new mining. Where there are gaps in these options, we choose partners who have the best possible practices within the parameters of the jewelry industry. These include fair labor and pricing standards, as well as well-researched, transparent communication practices.

RESPONSIBLE MINING MODELS

While we work to have low environmental impact through recycling materials, we also recognize that mining is a vital form of livelihood for more than 100 million individuals around the globe. When we use newly mined materials, we work exclusively with artisanal, small-scale mining operations with strong environmental practices in place.

Creating strong relationships with miners and their communities lies at the heart of WWAKE’s connection to our materials. When using newly mined gemstones or gold, we make our sourcing decisions by prioritizing partners who support positive social and economic impacts at the source and work to protect and empower miners and their communities.

MINIMAL WASTE STRATEGIES

WWAKE works to limit our environmental impact as much as possible by using recycled materials, employing strategic design approaches, and finding alternative uses for non-jewelry quality materials.

Not all stones are made the same. Our relationship to mining models that support development is important. In order to be a consistent partner to our sources and support our zero waste goal, we work to design around the available supply and use all of the material being uncovered by miners. Jewelry grade materials that aren’t scalable for our collections are used in one-of-a-kind bridal pieces while non-jewelry quality materials become the focal point of art objects - launched in 2018.

BENEFICIARY PROJECTS

Every year since our inception, we pay it forward to charity organizations supporting marginalized people.

Winnyc
@winnyc_org, is a progressive shelter organization that educates women on how to break out of the cycle homelessness and help others. We donate 10% of our holiday sales to winnyc.

Better Without Mercury
Better Without Mercury is an initiative by Ethical Metalsmiths to remove mercury contamination from artisanal gold mines in Colombia. Mercury is a toxic substance commonly used to process gold and is known to have hazardous effects on the earth and people who are exposed to it. Better Without Mercury works to clean up mercury contamination and support a global transition to mercury-free mining

Gem Legacy
Gem Legacy is a nonprofit whose vision is to create thriving colored gemstone mining communities. It is committed to finding areas of need and forming long-term commitments that find sustainable solutions together. Last year in August 2020 we donated $1,500 to Gem Legacy. 100% of donations return directly to East Africa where we equip colored gemstone mining regions for growth and success: education, health, tools, training, and more. When we donated in 2020, we asked them to use the donation towards the area of greatest need and at that time it was COVID-19 support by providing food and water to mining communities in Tanzania that WWAKE has purchased from.