Shakti is one of the incredible ethical wedding jewellery designers from our directory. She specialises in exquisite fair trade wedding and engagement rings with proper heart and soul. Based in her studio in Somerset, all of her jewellery is handcrafted and receives a special ‘blessing’. She is truly passionate about her craft and her route to designing jewellery is truly a fascinating one.
Intrigued now? Well we asked her some questions for you so you can find out more…
Ethical wedding jewellery rich in ritual and romance
Hi Shakti, welcome to the Meet the Maker series thank you for taking part. We’d love to know the back story behind your business, how did it start out?
Well, it all began back in India in 1994. I was living between Japan, Thailand and India and during a visit to Pune I became very sick with a high fever. I was living in the infamous ‘White House’ guest house and a concerned fellow traveller and resident, Asi, took me in and kept watch over me. He was a jeweller and sat at a small work bench, on the floor, hammering, soldering and sawing.
I became captivated by the intricacy of the work and the beauty of the high karat gold and gemstones he worked with. When I had recovered, he presented me with the most beautiful gold and turquoise ring…I was hooked! I knew with all certainty that this was what I was meant to be doing.
From there I followed a boyfriend to San Francisco and by an act of serendipity I got a job at The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, where I trained in the Graduate Jeweller program over the next five years. Later training with 5th Generation Armenian Master Goldsmith, Hratch Nargizian, a man of extraordinary skill and talent, who remains my mentor to this day.
Such a wonderful fascinating story! The story isn’t the only thing fascinating about your business, you describe your rings as being “rich in ritual and romance”, could you tell us more about this and what that means to you?
I sat with the Huni Quin tribe, who live in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. They instilled in me the importance of ritual in all that you do. How all things must be created with a conscious awareness and with respect to the materials you are using, where they have come from and where they are going. To the Huni Quin all of life is prayer whether they are hunting, cooking or singing. I have described in more depth the details of how this is incorporated into my work in the question on ‘little gold prayers’.
Every ring is rich in romance from the inside out, a symbol of love a commitment. This romance is created by the ancient love songs I sing as I work, by the artisanal aspect of how they are made, the prayers bestowed upon them and ultimately to the dignity given to the miners who pull this precious metal out of the earth. Visually, this romance can be see through the delicacy of the work, the ‘secret’ hearts which are carved into the back of the engagement rings, the star settings and the milligrain edging often seen in my jewellery.
We are bringing you another instalment of our Meet the Maker series today. As we proudly support independent businesses we feel that it is always great to get an insight into the people behind them. We love to hear how they started out, their inspiration and how the service or products they provide are extra special for a couple planning their wedding day.
Today’s makers are husband and wife team, Elaine and Jason Foreman. They are the founders and designers behind the innovative hybrid ethical man-made diamond rings company KinetIQue. Their story and products are both fascinating so lets find out a little bit more about them.
Hi Elaine and Jason welcome to our Meet the Maker series. To get started, as your business is so unique, how would you explain a man-made diamond? Are you able to tell us a bit more about what they are?
A laboratory grown diamond is a diamond. There is no difference between a diamond occurring naturally and a laboratory grown diamond except ‘origin’. Pure man-made diamonds, are literally grown from a seed crystal and are pure Sp3 Carbon, like mined diamond.
We have co-created the world’s best Hybrid Diamond – The IQ Diamond which is simply the evolution of the diamond. They benefit from excellent eco credentials. They can also have greater clarity than most retail earth-mined diamonds and are less expensive.
The IQ Diamond, which is currently only available through us, consists of two components, hence why it’s called a Hybrid Diamond®. We have explained the complex process on our website if you wanted to know more about how they are created.
Kate and Aidan’s outdoor eco wedding with a hike to the venue, mountain biking, and cornflowers in beer bottles
Kate and Aidan’s outdoor eco wedding, set on Masson Farm in the rolling hills of Derbyshire, is truly inspiring. This biking, hiking and climbing loving couple had a personal vision for their wedding day, but rather than it being about bunting and flowers (though there is an abundance of both) their vision focused on ensuring their celebrations were sustainable and ethical.
The couple and their guests reached the wedding venue by cable car and a hike, before they were married in an outdoor ceremony. Afterwards the reception was held in a tipi that could only be accessed along a steep road which provided seclusion and created an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. Kate and Aidan’s relaxed outdoor eco wedding has been beautifully captured by TNWC recommended supplier Chris Scuffins Photography.
We caught up with Kate to shed some light on their ideas and explain the reasons behind the couple’s choices…
With Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve less than two months away what better time for a round-up of our favourite 16 ethical engagement rings. With those two days the most popular days in the whole year to get engaged, I imagine there are a lot of (slightly anxious) men and women out there with rings on their mind.
Why choose an ethical engagement ring?
There are all kinds of ways to propose these days, but it has never been easier to choose an ethical engagement ring. What do we mean by ‘ethical’? We are talking about engagement rings made from fair trade gold and silver, recycled gold and silver, and ethically sourced diamonds and other precious gems. In addition to this, many of our recommended wedding ring suppliers are offering more unusual creations using sea glass, lab grown eco diamonds, and sustainable wood (more on those below).
Whatever you choose, do not underestimate the impact made by your choice to propose with an ethical engagement ring. Now onto our top 16 of the most beautiful and unique ethical engagement rings, all available to buy from our recommended suppliers collections.
Modern Ethical Engagement Rings
The teardrop shape of this ethical solitaire diamond engagement ring gives it an interesting twist that will set you apart from the usual diamond engagement ring. Designed by Glasswing Jewellery on a dainty recycled gold band, this is one of my favourites. Buy it here.
Slade Fine Jewellery always come out with some beautiful designs, part modern but with a liberal sprinkling of Tolkein-esque elvish magic. We were particularly captured by this grey rosecut diamond set against that earthy yellow gold, which in this case is recycled eco gold. Buy it here.
The warmth from the rose gold and the ‘rubover’ setting of this solitaire ethical engagement ring from long-time fair trade gold and silver champions CRED Jewellery, create a modern but romantic feeling ring. Buy it here.
Today’s guest blog post addresses the issue that many of us go out and pick jewellery we like without much thought to where it has come from or what efforts have gone into sourcing the gemstones and metal. Lilia Nash, who is one of our recommended jewellery businesses, not only creates beautiful wedding and engagement rings, but she ensures she knows just where her raw materials are sourced from.
Over to Lilia to tell us a bit more about her gorgeous ethical wedding jewellery…
You may not know when you buy a piece of jewellery from a store as to whether or not it has been made from recycled gold or fair trade gemstones. Very often you just fall in love with something you see. I would like us to pay more attention to what we are buying, so that the jewellery we buy is responsibly sourced.
Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back from wedding planning, from all the lovely details and fun plans for this incredible celebration, and look at the deeper part of marriage. I think an important part of that is choosing where you buy your engagement and wedding rings from – of all the many items you purchase for your wedding, your rings will have one of the biggest environmental costs.
No one likes to be bombarded or overwhelmed with terrible statistics or facts about the environmental costs of something like a wedding ring, often it just makes you feel even more powerless to make a difference, but we can’t ignore that there are some pretty bad facts when it comes to conventional mining.
It seems I’m having a bit of a 1920s and 1930s inspired day on the blog today, following on from this morning’s glamorous wedding cake I get to introduce you to the stunning new collection from CRED Jewellery. The Penelope Collection from designer Annabel Panes was inspired by the cocktail drinking ladies of the 1920s and ’30s, in particular her own grandmother.
This fabulous 13-piece collection includes engagement rings, necklaces and earrings, all created from Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold and each item set with ethically sourced gems. I particularly love the deep and rich colours of the gems used, especially the Amethyst.
Niki from CRED Jewellery told me “Annabel has taken the elegance and glamour of the 1930’s and applied a modern twist. The deep blues and reds of the precious stones are placed in delicate white gold settings that maximize their splendour and reflect the romantic elegance of the time.”
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