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Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain

Gold with a conscience: mining-free, slavery-free, chemical-free, plastic-free, and carbon-free

Jewellery is a symbol of beauty, yet there are not many brands that are able to prove truly ethical practices in the process. Scéona has created a supply chain from scratch to ensure the environment and human rights are preserved along the way. This ethical fine jewellery brand launches a Kickstarter using 18 karats recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds.

We interview the founders of the ethical gold jewellery brand Scéona. They explain first hand about everything in their supply chain and why it is worth designing your own one instead of investing in tracing it back to its origin. Scéona proves that luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand, and this is how! Without further ado, we hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did!

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain
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Hi Scéona, Matthieu, and Baptiste we’d love to hear what led you to start the ethical jewelry brand?

Scéona and Baptiste lived in Jaipur, India, in 2011 and that is where Scéona discovered her passion for jewellery. She decided to take classes at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) where she learned the profession of gemologist and at the same time what is hidden behind a stone: beauty, brilliance, the miracle of nature that produces wonders but also the mine and the lack of transparency of the industry. 

In 2018, the three of us were based in Singapore. We all wanted to become entrepreneurs, to create something meaningful, beautiful, and with a positive impact on our planet and its future!  Scéona was born.

What is the mission of the brand, what’s the type of positive change you are seeking to create?

Our mission is to transform an old and opaque industry, by showing it is possible to craft beautiful fine jewellery that does not harm the planet and its people. So people can look good and feel good, knowing they make a difference when they wear our creations.

We strongly believe in transparency, responsibility and knowledge sharing. Even if people don’t buy our creations, we hope to sensitize consumers on the jewellery industry, its practices and how to ask the right questions. If by just sharing our knowledge and encourage people to be more inquisitive when they buy a piece of jewellery, we manage to change, even just a bit, the jewellery industry for the better, we won!

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain
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How have you managed to create an ethical jewelry brand ensuring it ticks so many boxes: mining-free, slavery-free, chemical-free, plastic-free, and carbon-free?

One of the benefits of starting from scratch is that you can design your supply chain and work with the people you want. 

The problem with the traditional players in the jewellery industry is that they are too big, they work with too many suppliers and it would cost them a fortune to start auditing and asking questions along their supply chain. Did you know for instance that, on average, a diamond will change hands 10 times before reaching the final consumers?

Since the beginning of the adventure, we decided that being ethical and sustainable would be the most important, before profit. So we ensure that we worked with the best partners, even if it costs us more. Our supply chain is very small (2 suppliers for the precious materials, 1 workshop, 1 supplier for our boxes, 1 partner to plant trees, that’s it) so we can create a strong and trustful relationship with each of our business partners as well as trace all our materials.

We adopt a radical approach to sustainability. For instance, we do not work with pink or white gold because, at the moment, we did not find the right recycled materials and ensure that no chemicals will be used. Same for the necklace we launch on Kickstarter. We always refused to offer gold chain until we could ensure that it will be handmade and 100% from recycling gold.

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain infographic
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In a nutshell, can you explain what are the impacts of jewellery today and why it is important we look for brands that offer a more ethical supply chain?

Human Rights Watch reported that around 90 million carats of diamonds plus over 1,600 tons of gold are mined for the jewellery industry each year. This alone generates over $300 billion US in profit.

Up to 15% of diamonds are produced in countries that do not practice ethical mining and use child labor.

According to the World Bank, artisanal gold mining involves over 100 million people, and human rights violations are all too common.

There is the issue of poorly managed mines by large corporations that are destroying the earth with harsh toxic chemicals that produce a large amount of waste in the manufacturing process.

To give you some idea of the waste produced, over 180 million tons of toxic waste is dumped from mines every year and it takes 20 tons of waste to produce a gold ring. 

It becomes urgent to produce in a cleaner way, to consume with those facts in mind, and to request more sustainability, respect, and transparency from each and every brand mining around the world.

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain
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Scéona is now on Kickstarter to showcase a unique methodology to source and craft recycled gold chains. What are the differences between the traditional way and Scéona’s way? 

The problem with gold chains is that they are mass-produced on an industrial scale with the help of more than ten machines, using an alloy of gold, copper, brass, and toxic chemicals. The worst part is that the presence of chemicals does not allow further easy recycling into new jewellery pieces. 

A gold chain is essentially a wire broken down into identical pieces and connected as a succession of interlocking links. By using recycled gold wire and beads, we are able to hand-make links and construct a chain. This simple structure will be used as a chain to design necklaces and bracelets.

We are replacing the 10 machines and chemicals used to produce the traditional chain by 3 tools and 2 components. 

Our recycled gold comes from electronic waste, such as laptops and mobile phones. The recurring purchase of new models by users makes a large part of the global computer equipment regularly obsolete, which most often end up in landfills. Today, companies are specialized in extracting these tiny amounts of gold from our old devices before reselling the metal in the market.  

You can support our Kickstarter here!

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain technique
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How do you ensure traceability of the supply chain with the fine materials sourced for your jewelry, including ethical gold and gems? 

We only work with two materials for our jewellery: 18 karats recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds. Because we believe these are the most sustainable fine materials you can find today to craft jewellery.

Our supply chain is thus very small: 1 supplier for the recycled gold, 1 supplier for the lab-grown diamonds, 1 workshop. This helps us to ensure the traceability of our supply chain. We buy directly from the producers, no middlemen, and all our recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds are certified.

Do you work with an organization that ensures fair trade practices for the artisans making your handmade jewelry?

We do not work with an organization but the workshop we partner with is a company that provides jobs for 2,000 artisans, pays fair wages, executes ethical practices, and ensures the safety of its employees. The company, founded in 1917, is ISO certified (9001 & 14001), and also has a charity arm: every purchase you make helps to provide drinking water and education to the children of financially disadvantaged communities in Jaipur.

We have been there and audited the workshop, checking if they were wearing security shoes, masks and if all artisans were above 18 years old. Another security is that the workshop is based in a “special economic zone” so highly controlled by the government, i.e. guards checking people coming in and out, their IDs, and working permits.

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain
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Could you please provide some data worth sharing on the impact the Scéona has achieved just by sourcing ethical gold?

Each time we recycle 1 gr of gold, we save 300 liters of water. This is the quantity of water that you drink in 5 months: that’s huge!

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain infographic impact diamonds
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What other gems can we find within your ethical gold jewelry range?

We only work with two materials for our jewellery: 18 karats recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds. Because we believe these are the most sustainable fine materials you can find today to craft jewellery.

We don’t even work with pink and white gold at the moment as they do not meet our environmental standards. They involve alloys that can be very hard to recycle (we did not find a supplier yet) and sometimes require the use of toxic chemicals. Better be safe than sorry!

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain
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What type of customers appreciates your ethical jewelry? 

We don’t have a particular type of customers but I think that they chose to trust us because they share the same values and they appreciate the brand’s mission. 

We also think that they also like the fact that we try to be fully transparent, something that is rarely seen in the jewellery industry. We don’t try to be perfect, we are being honest with ourselves and our customers, and I think they appreciate this candor. We do hope they also appreciate our design.

What is Scéona packaging made out of? 

Our luxurious jewellery boxes are made from a solid piece of beautiful timber, sourced from sustainable forests and managed to ensure that the balance and biodiversity of the surrounding area is maintained.

Every delivery package is handmade by Scéona in recycled cardboard. It is custom made for each order, to avoid material waste.

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain
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One of the key distinctions most of the eco + social entrepreneurs have in common is that they tend to collaborate. How do you perceive collaboration and how has it helped your business?

Since we launched, we joined such an amazing community of entrepreneurs, activists, and changemakers who believe that together, we are stronger and we can go farther. 

We really feel the sense of belonging to a group sharing the same values and mission and happy to help each-others. 

The latest example is that we are thinking about raising some funds soon and we received great encouragement and introductions from other eco and social entrepreneurs in our network. They are genuinely happy to help and see you succeed.

What has been the greatest success of the brand so far?

We created our first bespoke rings a few months ago. We know how important these pieces can be for our clients, they are meant to celebrate a lifetime milestone, to capture the most precious moments: a birthday, a new child, a true love.

And knowing that they trusted us to craft their dreamt pieces, rather than a big established brand, added some pressure.

The five couples we accompanied were really happy with their rings and I think this is our greatest success because this is the reason why we created Scéona. To create beautiful and meaningful pieces for people, and protect the environment at the same time.

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain infographic how making process
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Is there any advice you’d like to give to other small businesses trying to make a difference?

Start small, learn, and improve along the way. Often, people or small businesses have a big vision and wish to start big on making an impact. It can be overwhelming, especially when one does not have a big team and resources to rely on. Don’t try to be perfect, starts somewhere, and enjoy the journey.

Another advice is to not be shy to seek help and support. Running a business can be very lonely. There are many groups and communities of like-minded “green” entrepreneurs from which you can learn and get support from. Do not hesitate to ask for help, you will find many people who will be happy to answer your call and give you valuable feedback and advice.

You are based in Singapore, how does a social entrepreneurial venture look like there? Do you feel there’s a change happening in the country? 

Singapore is an amazing place to create a business. The process is easy, everything is done online and super-efficient. The city is very well known for its skyscraper, and its financial hub so indeed, social entrepreneurship is not the thing that comes into mind when thinking about the Lion City.

However, the City can change, and move fast. People, especially the new generation of Singaporeans, are asking more questions about the products they buy and consume. As everywhere in the world, awareness of our impact on the environment as human beings, and the need to adopt new purchasing and living habits, grow.

There are now many organizations, such as Green Is The New Black, that organize events, talks, and workshops, to sensitize the population to environmental and ethical issues in Singapore and abroad. 

Work in progress and it definitely goes in the right direction!

If each of you could write a message on a big wall that the entire world could read, what would it say?

Matthieu: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

Baptiste: “Why see the world when you got the beach.”

Scéona: “Until you try, you don’t know what you can’t do.”

Finally, what are the benefits and perks of supporting Scéona’s ethical gold Kickstarter campaign?

The main benefit is to feel and do good, knowing that you bring support to a company that tries to make an impact on the world and transform an old and opaque industry for the better

We created the following Kickstarter rewards to thank our backers for their support and love:

  • Mention on our website
  • Planting trees
  • An introduction to sustainable jewellery with an e-book, videos, and an hour call with Scéona to answer all your questions
  • A uniquely designed ring that you can engrave
  • A pair of our new earrings
  • Our new necklace 
  • A bespoke piece

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain
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Where can we find Scéona fine jewelry?

You can find all our creations on our website sceona.com. We deliver worldwide, we offer free shipping on all orders and we have 30 days money-back guarantee.

You can support Scéona’s Kickstarter here! And if you want to support us and follow our adventure on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest!

Scéona creating fine ethical gold jewellery with a sustainable supply chain
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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Scéona. Ourgoodbrands only features brands and contents that are aligned with an ethical, sustainable, eco-conscious world, which means we have carefully researched and written the contents in this article, and specific product information is checked with the business. For the interviews, any opinions expressed are the writer’s own, generally being the founder of the brand. Images supplied and approved by the brand featured, or credited accordingly otherwise. For more information about our policies, click here.

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Ourgoodbrands empowers people to make eco-conscious purchase decisions through valuable & honest information, tools and resources that come in the form of social impact brands & sustainable lifestyles. We share the positive news happening worldwide between our community of change-makers. If you are one of them email us at [email protected] - Together we are better!

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