Liz Stovell talks to us about Untold Jewellery’s story - building a platform to support the lives of vulnerable communities, and the environment
Tell us a bit more about Untold Jewellery, when and why you set it up?
Untold Jewellery was born from the idea of redesigning old jewellery and repurposing materials such a vintage beads; both to showcase that fine jewellery could be sustainable, but also to continue the stories of pieces that have sentimental value to the wearer. It actually all started with the redesign of my Nan’s wedding ring! The brand is relatively young, I launched in September last year, but it’s evolving quickly and has been well received which Im very grateful for: I out my heart and soul into everything I make and it’s so lovely when my customers recognise this, and new customers seek me out because of it.
We love the Seekd collection, are there particular inspirations behind it?
The aquamarine stones are stunning! The pieces available via Seekd mostly explores minimalist, directional design inspired from classics. I have always been inspired by architecture and clean lines, and thought that the minimal but elegant nature of the collection would appeal to the Seekd customer.
Aquamarine has become a firm favourite of mine as I can source them in both reclaimed and fairly traded. In particular I choose the lighter coloured stones as they make a beautiful and ethical alternative to diamonds.
We are so inspired by your passion for the environment and social justice, has this always been a big calling for you?
I have always appreciated the natural world: I’ve made certain lifestyle choices in my personal life to reduce my environmental impact. It seemed only natural to me to carry this over into my business ethos. My brand did start off being exclusively recycled materials to focus on reducing the environmental impact. However, as the brand and I have evolved together and further explored what sustainable really means, I have also adopted FairTrade ; we can’t address ethical sourcing without putting ours arms around the vulnerable communities within the supply chain.
Who do you really admire either in the industry or generally?
Phew, that’s a question there’s so many! In the ethical jewellery trade there are brands and organisations that have been working together for years in the background before these issues were as current as they are now. Harriett Kelsall, Ute Decker, Ingle & Rhode and Pippa Small are all powerhouses that have been pushing these issues. They work in unison with amazing organisations like FairLux and the Responsible Jewellery Council. The trade resources, and establishment of the ethical and socially responsible supply chain, are available for emerging designers only due to the work these people have done.
Whats next for Untold Jewellery?
I have just finished distilling my many designs down to 5 pieces which I now feel is the true Untold identity. The new Untold website is in construction and I plan to showcase the collection in upcoming shows, including the Seek’d pop up shop which will be so much fun. I’m also looking forward to attending the annual FairLux seminar next month to catch up on the industry progression. Ultimately though I am focused on building the business so that I can one day be in a position to use it as a platform to elevate the lives of vulnerable communities, and the environment, linked to the jewellery trade; I’m not sure what this will look like yet but certainly I’d like to use a percentage of my profits to give back.
What inspired you to be part of Seekd?
As a conscious consumer myself I’ve always felt a level of frustration at how difficult it is to find an ethical brand. Having a platform like Seek’d available that only works with sustainable brands is amazing and takes the guess work out for the customer..and makes its all so much easier! As a designer, being part of a collective is always so exciting. Being part of a collective where not only are you part of a group of creative people , but creative people passionate about sustainability, well, it’s just so inspiring. I had to support Seek’d and hope that even a small contribution on my behalf would help demonstrate that sustainable design can be on-point with exceptional craftsmanship.