World’s First Bio-Vegan Fine Goldsmith Collection At Jewellery Week
ven with such rigorous ethics, Laibach designs are never compromised, exploring far outside the boundaries of jewellery lore with extraordinary Finger Sculptures that fascinate as standing art pieces or sit comfortably on or between fingers for that truly grandiose flaunt along the red carpet. Highlights include “London Rising”, a 16cm high tribute to Renzo Piano’s Shard, “The Great White Egrets” one of around three pieces for special auction by the Somerset Wildlife Trust at Wells Cathedral in 2014, “Seahorses”, also for auction to raise funds for the Seahorse Trust. The Harvest Ring, containing fresh fruits, celebrates the spirit of Kerstin Laibach’s unique principles.
Kerstin says, “Making a piece truly veggie friendly is not just the obvious omission of materials derived from animal slaughter such as pearls and leather. No life or environment should suffer for the sake of jewellery. Mining is detrimental to the ecology of our planet, and there is no form of raw extraction for the jewellery industry that can genuinely claim to the contrary. Whichever way gold, silver or platinum is dug up there is always a severe ecological impact to vital, natural ecosystems; habitats containing flora and fauna, which is crucially interlinked with the unseen but highly complex microbiological activity below ground – whether it is ancient forest floors, rivers or sea beds.”
Kerstin’s answer to counteract what she sees as “a completely unnecessary mutilation of a planet at tipping-point … just for vanity” is simply to use only recycled precious metals and ensures that every aspect of her jewellery, from the raw materials to the finished piece, is entirely earth-friendly.
“I try to help offset the continuing damage caused by mining by donating a percentage of my profits to wildlife protection organisations, including land-care education or sustainability projects in developing countries that can help subsistence based communities protect their precious ecosystems instead of digging it up for gold.”
All of the tools and materials used at Kerstin’s workbench are vegan friendly with no trace of anything animal derived, right down to specially obtained materials or re-invented appliances – alternatives to workbench essentials which even the strictest vegan may not realise are a no-go when it comes to creating a pure vegan piece throughout. As a refined goldsmith, Kerstin hand-makes every last detail including intricate chains and closing mechanisms. She doesn’t cast her pieces or use computer programmes for any modelling or casting processes. With rare hand-forging skills, she addresses each piece with a holistic approach – tuning each piece to a client’s exact needs. Kerstin also makes her own hemp jewellery pouches and vegan sealing wax to round of a truly ecologically sound heirloom investment. “I also don’t use anything in my creation process which isn’t entirely biodegradable or would otherwise be diverted from a recycling chain. This is a process called “thrucycling” (a term created by VeggieGlobal) whereby everything I make is not just recyclable but also safely biodegradable if ever discarded.” Therefore a truly vegan fine jewellery piece doesn’t just mean no animals harmed during the making of, but it’s also ensuring no new destruction to their habitats before and long after.”
Laibach’s ethical wedding and relationship rings and bespoke bridal pieces (all suitable for vegan couples) are also featured as part of Treasure’s Wedding Trail at Jewellery Week.
Although most of Laibach’s stones in her pieces are simple self-gathered surface pebbles from permissible areas (and without any detriment to the environment) she also uses antique diamonds but only on bespoke request.
“Besides there being enough precious metal already mined to be infinitely recycled and re-circulated as new jewellery, there is also a mine of antique precious stones to be found in forgotten corners of jewellery boxes, either broken or simply undesired old pieces”, says Kerstin. “It’s from this starting point that I mainly work with clients’ wishes by evaluating what they already may have, which I can either restore if desired, or reclaim the parts as materials for an entirely new design”.
Passionately dedicated to upholding ecological integrity, Kerstin Laibach’s ethics serve as an inspirational milestone in truly green 21st century goldsmithing.
Kerstin Laibach at Treasure, Somerset House, London. June 13th – 16th 2013.