As a designer and maker, one of the reasons why I’m passionate about fine jewelry is that it is enduring by design. No matter how much time passes, a piece of fine jewelry can be endlessly repurposed, recycled, or ultimately melted down into its base materials.
That being said — the creation of any product leaves a footprint, and the jewelry industry in particular is riddled with problematic and opaque business practices (both environmentally and socially).
Abel is committed to sourcing materials and implementing practices that either reduce our impact as much as possible or, ideally, create positive ones. Just as importantly, we want to be transparent about when we fall short (and as a very small operation, there will be many times we do), with the goal of empowering consumers and keeping ourselves accountable. This page outlines ways in which we are succeeding, failing, and trying to improve.
— Kelsey, founder + designer of Abel
Abel exclusively uses post-consumer recycled (PCR) diamonds, which means the stones have been recovered from previously-worn or antique jewelry and reprocessed to create new pieces. We believe that using PCR instead of newly-mined or lab-grown diamonds is how we can best minimize the negative environmental and social impacts associated with diamond mining and production.
We are dedicated to keeping all of our production local to NYC, for many reasons. Not only do we want to help preserve the tradition of skilled craftsmanship in our local community, but it also allows us to stay close to production, have hands-on access to quality control, and develop personal relationships with the people bringing our designs to life. It also allows us direct visibility into the financial, physical, and mental health of all workers. Finally, producing locally helps reduce the carbon emissions that come with overseas production.
We are actively working on ensuring that all stones used in our jewelry are mined, cut, and processed in a way that respects the environment from which they were taken and the people involved along the way. This includes working with vendors who either own their mines or have a direct relationship with them, working with vendors who employ environmentally-conscious mining practices and/or regenerate the land post-extraction, and choosing vendors who pay fair wages and install safe working conditions for their employees. We document product-specific sourcing information on each piece’s detail page.
One of the most wonderful characteristics of gold and silver is that when recycled, the quality and value remain the same as when newly mined. All of our casting grain, wire, chains, and findings are made from 100% post-consumer recycled metal; at no point is newly-mined material added to this stock.
All of our orders ship in packaging that is either reusable or recyclable, and much of it is made from recycled materials. The internal compartment of our rigid jewelry boxes is designed to be removable, so that the box can be reused using its full volume potential. Our pouches are made from plastic bottles and are triple certified (Certified Vegan, REACH, and PIW). Our shipping boxes and fill are made of 100% recycled content, and the tape that seals them is plastic-free and recycle-compatible. All of our packaging components are made in the USA.
Treating the world and the people living in it with care and respect is a value that drives every decision we make at Abel. As much as we might want to label ourselves “ethical” and “sustainable,” the terms are simply too vague and too often misappropriated in this industry. Instead, our priority is to focus on being authentic and transparent throughout this journey and focus on the perpetual act of improvement, empowering our customers with the information they need to make informed decisions in the process.
Have an idea or recommendation for us? We welcome all suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org