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Environmental Practice

We strive for our footprint to be as minimal as possible, creating lasting works of art from thoughtfully sourced materials. Each element of the process reflects these principles. We have not embarked on this alone- we have partnered with Christina Miller and Maggie Gabos ethical jewelry consulting to guide our way.

 

Responsible Sourcing

Recycled or gold sourced from Fairmined Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM)

The most common gold mining practice worldwide involves using the neuro toxin mercury Mercury makes humans and wildlife ill and because it kills nerve cells which causes brain damage. Illegal mining also causes widespread destruction of the Amazon from fires related to unregulated logging and clearing of the rain-forest.

At Thesis we purchase only SCS Certified recycled and refined gold or Fairmined gold which is mined WITHOUT mercury and the provenance is traced and audited. Fairmined gold also gives back to the mining community to promote a sustainable production.

We also support the organization Better Without Mercury. Better Without Mercury is a fundraising campaign to remove mercury contamination from an artisanal gold mine in Colombia. We donate a portion of our profits with every piece of emerald jewelry sold. We are also members of Ethical Metalsmiths, "The community for responsible jewelry." Read their article on the many steps it takes to create a piece of ethical jewelry.

We have honed in on gems that we can source as closely to the mine as possible. In 2019 we visited the sustainable pearl farm Sea of Cortez in the Gulf of California and Colombia's Chivor emerald mines. We feel it is important to see for our own eyes where these gems are birthed to understand the processes that bring them to market and allow for full transparency.

Cate Claus, owner of Thesis G&J, in an emerald mine in Chivor, Colombia

Philanthropy

We are committed to giving back directly to organizations that fight for a cleaner, healthier planet and social justice such as Navajo Nation Health, Partners in Health, Amazon AidWIRES Wildlife Rescue, the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and the Sierra Club.

 

Creation

Our jewelry is made by hand using ancient techniques by our master goldsmith; hand fabrication from a raw block of precious metal, or hand-carved wax casting. We have always prioritized reuse, recycling and non toxic metal-smithing products, and now our workshop is going off the grid with solar paneling. More to come on this soon!

 

Packaging

We want our packaging to be a gift in its own right- and move away from the disposable. We designed a precious pouch made from grass fed, vegetable dyed leather which is crafted by hand in San Francisco by the heirloom family leather company, Glaser Designs. Our boxes are made from 100% post consumer recycled paper materials.

 

Ethical Metalsmiths - Designer Assessment

Ethical Metalsmith Logo

Company/Business Name

Thesis Gems and Jewelry

Company/Business Website

http://thesisgems.com

Business Phone Number

5105566443

Mobile/WhatsApp/iMessage Number

Location

Berkeley, California 94709, United States

Your Name

Catherine Claus

Position

Owner

Email

cate@thesisgems.com

LinkedIn

Facebook

@thesisgems

Instagram

@thesisgems

Twitter

Pinterest

AngelList

I have a written commitment to responsible jewelry practices published on my website and/or in my marketing materials.

I have a clear, comprehensive written commitment on my website and/or marketing materials and include specific practices I follow. Additionally, my jewelry descriptions include whether they are made from recycled materials and/or artisanally mined metals such as Fairtrade, Fairmined, or Gold from the Just Gold Project sold as 'Harmony Congo’. I provide the provenance of my gems and diamonds, based on written assurances from my suppliers and/or a source that is certified and third-party validated.

I am committed to educating my customers about responsible practices and sourcing in jewelry production.

When communicating with customers, [my staff or] I proactively educate our customers on our policies regarding responsible practices and sourcing in jewelry production. Written material is included with my final product.

When I purchase supplies or jewelry subcontractor services, I request a copy of their responsible sourcing and ethical policies.

I require a written copy of my vendors and suppliers policies regarding origins, ethics, or practices when purchasing gemstones, metal, findings, supplies, or subcontractor services.

Please add any additional information you think is relevant to this section. (Optional)

I seek to inform myself and stay current on best practices for responsible jewelry production by attending or participating in relevant educational forums.

I read articles on responsible jewelry practices regularly and/or attend at least one relevant conference, symposium, webinar, or seminar annually.

I am willing to mentor other members in responsible practices.

Yes

I am committed to sharing best practices on responsible jewelry production with fellow jewelry professionals.

I am a member or one or more professional Jewelry or Metalsmithing organizations and I proactively engage other members to acquire or share best practices.

Please add any additional information you think is relevant to this section. (Optional)

I have a commitment to reducing my environmental impact wherever possible in the design and packaging of my products. (Note: This question applies to practices such as limiting the use of paper where possible, using recycled paper for design and client contact, choosing recycled materials for product packaging, using rags instead of paper towels, and using green energy like solar to power the work studio.) This does not include the materials in the product itself.

I have considered the environmental impact of my studio operations and have taken extensive measures to reduce them. Please provide a summary of measures taken below:

Summary of measures

-Packaging is recycled paper or grass fed/vegetable dyed leather
-Primary studio is solar powered

Please add any additional information you think is relevant to this section. (Optional)

In my jewelry production I use responsibly sourced precious metals.

I only use precious metals that are either Fairmined, Fair Trade, Third-Party Certified Recycled precious metals, or metal I recycle myself.

I use responsibly mined colored gemstones in my products. (Responsibly sourced practices include at a minimum, documentary evidence or written assurances of: no child or forced labor, fair wages, safe working conditions, and low environmental impact.)

My vendor has shown me the chain of custody and/or applicable certifications to assure me that my colored gemstones are sourced from ethically run mining operations. I list the country of origin of my gems on my website and/or marketing materials. OR I use 100% recycled, synthetic, or heirloom gemstones.

I use responsibly cut colored gemstones in my products. (Responsibly cut practices include at a minimum: documentation or written assurances of: no child or forced labor, fair wages, safe working conditions, and low environmental impact.)

My vendor has provided information on where the gemstones (natural) are mined and cut (natural or synthetic). I have a trusted relationship with my vendor and they have provided information assuring me that the gemstones are mined and cut responsibly (see bold statement above).

I use responsibly mined center diamonds (.19 Carat and over) in my products. (Responsibly mined practices include at a minimum: no child or forced labor, fair wages, safe working conditions, and low environmental impact.)

All of my diamonds are CanadaMark certified, certified Lab-grown, Certified Post-Consumer Recycled, or heirloom diamonds. I have written documentation to prove this. If I use Lab-grown diamonds, they must be responsibly grown in facilities meeting the statement in bold above.

I use responsibly cut center diamonds (.19 Carat and over) in my products. (Responsibly cut practices include at a minimum: no child or forced labor, fair wages, safe working conditions, and low environmental impact.)

Meets the criteria above and my vendor has provided video or photo footage of the gem cutting operations, and/or I have visited and verified the cutting operations in person.

I use responsibly mined melee diamonds (.01-.18 Carat) in my products. (Responsibly sourced practices include at a minimum: no child or forced labor, fair wages and safe working conditions. If raw diamonds are used, select the answer below that applies best to the mining operations. )

All of my melee diamonds are CanadaMark certified, certified Lab-grown, Certified Post-Consumer Recycled, or heirloom diamonds. I have written documentation to prove this. If I use Lab-grown diamonds, they must be responsibly grown in facilities that meet the bold statement above.

I use responsibly cut melee diamonds (.01-.18 Carat) in my products. (Responsibly sourced practices include at a minimum: no child or forced labor, fair wages and safe working conditions.

Meets criteria above and my vendor has provided photo or video footage of the gem cutting operations, and/or I have visited and verified the cutting operations in person.

I use findings and components that are made of recycled or artisanally mined metals (Certified Fairtrade or Fairmined) and manufactured under safe working conditions.

I make my components and findings or buy components and findings that are made of recycled metals. My components and findings are manufactured under safe working conditions.

Please add any additional information you think is relevant to this section. (Optional)

I am committed to learning about which chemicals are hazardous (those which can cause bodily harm) and using non-hazardous materials with the least environmental impact in the design and manufacture of my products.

I have learned about which chemicals are hazardous in the industry and have eliminated those hazardous materials or substituted for non-hazardous materials in all but one or two of my processes.

I dispose of hazardous chemicals in accordance with laws and in ways that minimize the impact to the environment.

I utilize a professional hazardous waste disposal or recycling facility for all of my hazardous chemicals, or I have eliminated all hazardous chemicals from my processes.

I recycle precious and non-precious metals used in the manufacturing process.

I recycle all of the precious metal and non-precious metal scraps and sweeps from my manufacturing process. I dehydrate and recycle liquids and water which have come into contact with metal, as well as vacuum bags, filters, and anything else which has metal embedded.

I use subcontractors that are committed to responsible labor practices. (They provide their employees with a reasonable, safe work environment, and they pay fair wages. They do not use forced or child labor. They do not discriminate based on race, religion, or sexual orientation). This question applies to jewelers who hire subcontractors to manufacture some or all of their finished product.

Not applicable. I do not outsource or hire subcontractors for any aspect of my jewelry manufacturing.

I use subcontractors that are committed to responsible sourcing of materials. (They use artisanally mined or recycled metals, and ethically-sourced gemstones, beads, and other materials.) This question applies to jewelers who hire subcontractors to manufacture some or all of their finished product.

Not applicable. I do not outsource or hire subcontractors for any aspect of my jewelry manufacturing.

Please add any additional information you think is relevant to this section. (Optional)

I am an equal opportunity employer and I hire without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, or national origin.

I abide by all of the criteria defined in the non-discrimination clause above.

I am committed to providing fair wages and access to employer-sponsored benefits. (Continuing educational opportunities, health insurance, paid time off, and a retirement plan).

My employees are paid more than minimum wage or the fair living wage for the area, and can access employer-sponsored benefits.

I am committed to providing a reasonable work environment for my employees. A reasonable work environment should include: access to a working bathroom, a reasonable number of breaks throughout the day, handwashing stations, ergonomic seats, adequate ventilation, and temperature control.

I provide all of the items listed above.

Please add any additional information you think is relevant to this section. (Optional)

I provide my employees (if applicable), and myself, with the appropriate personal protective equipment (protective eyewear, gloves, aprons, respirators, msds sheets, etc) and information to do their/my job safely and in compliance with applicable health and safety laws.

My employees are required to provide their own personal protective equipment and are expected to learn the hazards of the workplace on their own.

I provide a safe, well-ventilated work environment for myself and my employees.

There is forced air ventilation in all work areas and local exhaust hoods with Hepa filters are provided for operations using chemicals, casting, high temperature soldering, or any processes that generate fumes.

Please add any additional information you think is relevant to this section. (Optional)

I have committed to moving the ethical jewelry movement forward by joining one or more of the organizations that seek to make the jewelry industry cleaner and safer. Some of the not-for-profit organizations and impact initiatives working for change are Mercury Free Mining Challenge, Pact, Solidaridad, Impact, and ARM (Alliance for Responsible Mining).

I have joined, supported, or renewed my membership in one or more of these non-profit organizations.

I have a formal plan to continually improve the practices in my jewelry making operations.

I have completed this self-assessment, have a written plan to address all of the questions where I have less than the highest score and have made good progress on implementation.

I would like to improve my practices but feel I need some mentorship.

Please add any additional information you think is relevant to this section. (Optional)

Your % Score is

94%