Goldfingers - Making Ethical Aesthetic Shining Through Poetic Jewelry Design
Interview with JANNE K. HANSEN & KARL EJNAR NYBO, Founders of Goldfingers
In the past few years, the transparency and reformation of fashion industry have started to gain momentum. We all more or less have heard the phrase, “Who made my clothes?” and of the bleak reality of fast fashion. That sparkling piece of gold jewelry given to memorialize a special life occasion is barely given a second thought as to where it came from.
Since ancient civilization, gold has always played an important role in human history It has never changed its symbolic meaning of the inheritance of all kinds of love- from mother to their daughters, from a groom to his bride, or as a blessing for a newborn or out of respect in death. So, as we live in the most informative time of human history, isn’t now the chance to raise awareness on the story behind this treasured metal?
For such a valuable belonging, it is understandable that without enough trusted information, as a consumer we may ask, “Does it really matter if your jewelry is also ethical? Is it just another trendy buzzword?” If we take another example that we’re more familiar with, do you remember the 2006 film starring Leonardo DiCarprio, Blood Diamond? It tells of diamonds mined in war zones, sold to finance conflicts, and disclosed that it profited warlords and diamond companies across the world. If this struck a chord with you, then the answer to these questions are short and clear.
Fortunately, the exposure on this situation has slowly improved thanks to the awareness from conscious jewelry brands, who take action through their designs.
Goldfingers from Copenhagen is one of the pioneers of ethical mining in the Northern Europe. A fine jewelry brand founded by goldsmiths Janne K. Hansan and her husband, Karl Einar Nybo, craft their poetic jewelry designs with care while supporting the ethical gold mining industry.
KARL: “My wife has been in the goldsmith profession for a long time, and she always wanted her design business to be as sustainable as possible. In our actual life, we eat organic food, because we want to know where our food comes from. We always want to know about the things that pass through our hands, what materials they are made of and where they come from.”
Sourcing sustainable gold and metals always requires strenuous effort from designers. One of the Goldfingers’ supplies brought in a huge solution to this problem around ten years ago, providing faire-trade gold which were certificated by FLOCERT, a German leading global certification which supports sustainable businesses by making sure supply chains are built on fair practices and guiding ethical producers, traders and brands.
he continues: “As a goldsmith, we stamp each piece of jewelry with our name and with the “18k” stamp if it’s gold. With the fair-trade stamp, you can also tell where the gold comes from exactly, and who produced it. Therefore, if you ask us, we can always tell our customers a FLOCERT number- the number which allows you to know all the people in supply chain who brought this piece of gold to your hands.”
Jewelry sourced and made in unethical ways entails massive human and environmental suffering. There are 16 million people connected or directly involve in gold mining, and most of them are from the poorest and most vulnerable communities. “Through sourcing- using only ethical metals- we hope our customers have a chance to be aware if somebody suffered by making their jewelry,” Karl says. These communities very often are located in the rainforest climate zone, using the characteristics of mercury to refine gold. The pollution of this cheap and easy way to extract gold had been found in marine life and rivers in Greenland.
So what is Goldfingers’ key as a indicative Danish sustainable jewelry brand?
KARL: “I think good design is the base of sustainability to us. Janne’s dystopic detail in creation makes her design last longer.”
Although emphasis in using only Fair-trade metals is the basis of their business, Goldfingers also creates their collection with artistic energy and devotion to technique, medium and aesthetic.
In fact, Karl also taught me that being a goldsmith has always been a sustainable business- as all gold in the market are collected, recycled, and remade into something “new”. Always. Therefore, recycled gold is just a standard- design that surpases a lifetime is the real challenge. On their solid beliefs, these two perfectists have built a castle of the greatest treasures in their gallery-atelier, creating design-craft pieces that tells the story of you, joy, and empathy.