What is sustainability in jewelry and how does it matter?
Sustainable jewelry happens when eco-conscious decisions are thoughtfully woven into the lifecycle of the jewelry piece – including what the jewelry is made from, how and where it was made, and how it continues its life journey.
Every small step counts – when it comes to protecting this earth for a greener tomorrow.
How does Papermelon craft their sustainable jewelry?
We believe that there are plenty of small ways to show this earth a lot of love. Here in Papermelon, we strive to practice sustainability in every possible step and detail – in life and business. We’re not perfect, but we continue to discover and welcome more eco-friendly solutions into our business, everyday.
We’d like to take you through the eventful journey of every piece of Papermelon jewelry – all the way from its previous life as the humble paper through its transformation into a wearable piece of art.
- Paper jewelry is an unexpected and creative solution to sustainable jewelry that’s also exciting. Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products as it’s made from wood (a natural renewable resource). It’s also one of the most recycled products on the planet. (In 2015, about 67% of all paper was recovered for use).
- We use recycled materials as much as possible. The majority of our jewelry is made from recycled paper such as newspapers, magazines, paper bags, gift wraps, calendars and pamphlets to name a few. We obsessively collect them through an amazing network of friends, neighbours and well-wishers.
- Occasionally, we buy eco-friendly paper from trustworthy sources.
- Our sterling silver findings are made from recycled metals. Our supplier collects scrap silver from jewellers and industries, and copper from old copper wire cables. They then recombine the silver and copper into the sterling silver that we use in our designs.
- All supplementary supplies used in our designs – cotton cords, sterling silver findings and glass and wooden beads – are locally sourced supporting small home-run businesses.
- All jewelry is thoughtfully handcrafted in our little home studio.
- We use simple hand tools and absolutely no machinery in production, which means low energy requirements.
- We follow a zero waste policy in our studio. We didn’t work hard on this, our materials and designs naturally allow this to be possible.
- We stick to sustainable studio practices by looking at creative solutions in production. Here are a few –
- Old pens, bottles and containers of varying sizes are upcycled to be used as moulds for making the recycled cardboard base of bracelets, rings and other structures.
- Thermocol pieces from electronic goods packaging is rescued and up-cycled to form the holder in which paper beads are placed to sun dry.
- Recycled cardboard package boxes and sweet boxes (they are amazing!) are used for storing office supplies, materials, tools and finished pieces of jewelry.
- A self-constructed crude lightbox – a simple old carton box with a recycled styrofoam slab for light reflection – is used for our jewelry photography. The lightbox, when placed in our balcony, receives ample natural sunlight and works beautifully for our photographs.
- Our beautiful and sturdy cardboard jewelry boxes are handcrafted by a talented local artisan. The boxes are reusuable and recyclable. Over the years, these boxes have accumulated innumerable compliments from our customers.
- Our charming earring boards are made from recycled craft board.
- We use crinkle paper (manually shred from recycled paper) as packing filler inside the boxes.
- We use fabric ribbons cut from tailoring waste (We are blessed with a busy tailoring shop just downstairs) to add the finishing touch to our complimentary gift packaging. With their beautiful textures and patterns, they add a unique character to each package, that no ordinary ribbon can give.
- All our promotional and informative material that accompanies the package – including business cards and jewelry care inserts – are printed on recycled paper.
- We handwrite the address on envelopes and the thank you notes. (Yes, it’s a bit of work, but we also get to show off our handwriting.)
Areas we are actively working on
A few things we are working on :
- Some of our earlier designs require the usage of metal wires and beads. However, we are shifting to a design philosophy of using only paper and sparsely other organic materials like hemp, cotton and wood.
- We had bulk ordered bubble mailers for shipping during the early stages of the business. The outer cover is recycled paper, however the interior is made from traditional bubble padding. Though they are not the most eco-friendly options, we intend to use them till the stocks last. Very soon, we’ll switch to more eco friendly mailers with shredded newspaper interior padding.
Our jewelry is a gentle reminder – how every small step counts. We hope our efforts inspire others to think creatively and find simple eco friendly solutions in life and work. Let’s make better choices for the environment. After all, we have only one earth.