Through its everyday practices Yumé Jewellery is aiming to be the change designer Yumé Martin hopes to see in the world—whether it’s through the United Kingdom–based brand’s decision to use Fair Trade gemstones or to committing to donating to causes including Peace Direct.
Now, Martin’s Yumé Jewellery has added another criteria to her work: She is using Single Mine Origin gold (SMO). Martin recently debuted her first collection with SMO gold on her website and in her boutique, located in Ashburton, Devon.
SMO gold is something larger, and global brands such as Stephen Webster, Fernando Jorge, and Messika have used it. But that transition can be more challenging when you’re a smaller independent designer like Martin. Yet she says it was the right move at the right time, giving this worldwide traveler another way to hold true to her own values as well as those of her clients.
Martin says she believes each individual can have a positive impact on the world—and SMO gold allows her to honor her personal philosophy that every living creature deserves respect.
“The realization that we are all one and connected gives me internal strength,” Martin says. “Through taking actions with using SMO gold, I believe the value of all life and to act collectively is shared and I realized that this is what SMO stands for, to me.”
Martin talked about her SMO gold journey with JCK, highlighting where she hopes the jewelry industry will go next and why she made this transition.
Why did you want to focus on SMO gold?
I find it so testing to live in a world where inequality is rife, and so many are striving to tackle social and environmental injustice. This, alongside climate change being caused by humanity’s lack of regard to the natural world makes for a source of constant worry. The feeling of being powerless is real. To get through this, we all have to do our part, and, for me, this is actioned through my transparency and authenticity as a brand with innovative practices such as SMO gold.
The use of SMO gold and Fair Trade gemstones means that the supply chain is fully traceable, and we can directly see the positive impact. Detailed knowledge of provenance is the key to Single Mine Origin gold. All of our pieces have the SMO stamp alongside the hallmarking, which is something you can ask to see when choosing your special piece. It’s hugely important to me that the work I create has a positive impact on the world and its inhabitants. Each of our actions are interlinked, and my wish is to put out positivity through my creations in hope of creating a positive chain reaction. The happy customer who walks out of my studio will have supported a small community in Africa to build a hospital, a school, a market, or garden to sustain the future of its community for generations to come. This is a big deal!
What was the process like to work with SMO gold in your collections?
It has been a long journey for me personally. When I started designing and making jewelry, there were not these options, but important people like the founders of SMO gold, Dan and Charlie Betts, have worked hard to make it possible to source materials ethically. It used to be really tricky with sourcing. When I started over 25 years ago, there were very few companies offering ethically sourced metals and gemstones. Now it is becoming much more widely available, and bigger, mainstream companies are offering these options. I think the new challenge now is transparency and authenticity—we need to make extra efforts to check the credibility of our sources, and that is our responsibility as the designers and makers.
This is what makes SMO gold so special—detailed knowledge of provenance is the key to Single Mine Origin gold. The use of SMO and Fair Trade gemstones means that the supply chain is fully traceable, and we can directly see the positive impact.
We also work mainly with a Fair Trade gemstone company, whose mission is making the supply transparent. [It] provides fully traceable diamonds and colored gemstones from their country of origin through to the cutter and polisher. It is an unbroken supply chain and educates the consumer [about] where their diamonds and colored precious gemstones come from.
What has the customer reaction been like?
So much positive feedback. Jewelry customers are thinking about sustainability more than ever in their choices, so my customers are delighted to know the positive impact the sourcing of SMO has on the small-scale mining communities.
Where do you want your brand and the industry to go in the future?
I would love to be a part of normalizing positive social and environmental impacts within the jewelry industry, and truly hope one day this can be the norm. It’s so important for jewelers to try and be as sustainable as possible, as it’s through our efforts to be ethical and responsible that we can ensure lasting positive environmental and social impacts on the planet.
Top: Yumé Martin has become an advocate for Single Mine Origin gold in her brand, and she hopes to see more of the jewelry industry move toward this kind of transparency and ethical jewelry standards (photos courtesy of Yumé Jewellery).@jckmagazine
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