/  Handmade with Honest Materials

/  Handmade with Honest Materials

Australian sapphire diamond and opal cluster earrings by Marina Antoniou

By now, most of us are quite good at recognising when bigger brands are making an attempt at “greenwashing”. Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of mass-produced jewellery lines making various claims, and so I thought this might be a good time to share more about how I source the materials that I use, and what being a responsible jewellery business means to me. 

It is very important to me, and always has been, that all the materials that I use in my practice are locally sourced from Australian-owned and operated businesses. Gold is purchased here in Sydney, and gemstones are supplied by independent and family-run gemstone merchants from around the country.

Almost all the time, I am able to source my stones directly from their source, through relationships I’ve built over time with either individual or small, family-run mines and miners, cutters, merchants and fossickers from some of Australia’s historic mining towns.

Sapphires are sourced from where they are found in QLD and NSW, towns such as Rubyvale, Inverell, Lava Plains and Sapphire. Opals come from Andamooka, Winton, Quilpie and Lightning Ridge, chrysoprase from Marlborough and small diamonds— white, pink and cognac— from Argyle in Western Australia. Then there is the Australian turquoise, extremely rare, originating from the only commercial Turquoise mine in Australia, which ceased operating in the 1970s. It is untreated, solid, natural, and unlike anything else on the market.

Every single gemstone I use is natural, and over 90% of those that I use are from Australia. Although marketed as being an “environmentally friendly” alternative to natural gemstones, I have chosen to steer away from using man-made gemstones, in particular lab grown diamonds. Did you know that making lab grown diamonds requires large amounts of energy, producing over three times more greenhouse gas emissions per carat than mined natural diamonds? They have also been marketed as an “ethical alternative” to natural diamonds but many questions can be asked about communities in developing countries relying on the mining of natural diamonds to survive vs lab grown diamonds funding the big companies that produce them.

Handmade with Honest Materials - Marina Antoniou Jewellery

In my jewellery-making, there is zero waste, as any metal offcuts are kept and melted down for reuse. This work is inherently circular. 

Working with honest materials, and knowing where they came from is so important to me and to my craft, as is what I believe to be the rewards we gain as humans from making things by hand. 

The knowledge that comes from shaping the things around us helps us build relationships with the world that are more intimate.” William Coperthwaite, A Handmade Life: In Search of Simplicity

Marina Antoniou Jewellery - Australian Turquoise

(Image 1: Orion Studs, 18ct yellow gold with Chrysoprase from Queensland, sapphires from Queensland and opals from South Australia. Image 2: Custom ring for Kristel in 18ct yellow gold ring with sapphires from Queensland and an Argyle diamond from Western Australia, Image 3: Natural Australian turquoise cabochon from the Northern Territory. Image 4: A custom ring from Krista, 18ct yellow gold with natural Australian turquoise from the Northern Territory.)


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