Corporate social responsibility means to me and Irthly that we have an obligation to answer appropriately to the needs of our social and ecological atmosphere. We see a deep interconnectivity with the world and we must account-for and harken-to the demands of our global eco-system. To be responsible is to be reliable. We are obligated to gain society’s trust by being accountable; answering the call to uphold a sense of intimate connection with the world.
Although the jewelry industry is strongly responding to the calls for fair trade and sustainability, there is much more to improve on. Irthly plays a role towards sustainability by using recycled or eco-metals as much as possible. We use Harmony Metals from Hoover & Strong wherever applicable. All of our diamond suppliers are Kimberley Process compliant, which is a certification system that prohibits the trading of diamonds from war-torn regions. Most of our gems are fair trade, meaning that we can confirm that the supplier and gem cutters are practicing fair trade protocol. In terms our own production, we are not involved in any overseas production. Everything is proudly produced in Los Angeles.
What sets us apart from many other designers is the fact that we engage in ethics and sustainability as conversation platforms within our jewelry designs and materials. It is not enough to follow fair trade and sustainability protocol. We want to make designs that speak about ethics and ethical practices. Many of our designs provide a meaningful message of ethical practices in life. For example, our Return Series promotes the praxis of grounding. Our Sepulcher Series especially exemplifies our intent as it warns us of our imminent demise if we do not have balance and harmony in relationships and in our environment.
We also use materials that create platforms for discussion or flat-out express boisterous statements about sustainability. Our use of Palm Ivory in our Classics and Art D’Eco collections, for example, raises, intentionally, the question of what is “precious.” By introducing a fully sustainable and eco-friendly material into fine jewelry, we ask what is more precious: the gold and diamonds; or the organic material? What is more valuable: scarcity; or opulence? What has more meaning: an organic seed that symbolizes birth, creation, and life; or metals and gems? We do not know the answer, but we want to raise the level of awareness of our environment and our role in it. We truly want to be an asset to the continuing dialogue of sustainability and ethics by not only adhering to sustainability protocol but by also creating room for real statements and conversation platforms within our jewelry.