Written by Sophie Wyatt
As the climate action conversation continues to be elevated, many people are trying to work sustainability into their every day lives. And this means sustainable fashion. However, while we read about organic skirts and recycled tops, what about sustainable jewellery? While we may not think that our accessorise would make that much of a difference to the state of the world, the making of jewellery can be extremely detrimental to the environment. However, small businesses such as AMC Jewellery are paving the way for a more sustainable future for our jewellery. We got the chance to chat with the brains behind the brand aka. Amy, to hear more about how she started her growing brand and the importance of working towards a greener future. So of course, we had to begin at the start. How long has Amy been making her jewellery? And what first attracted her to it?’
I started about 2 years ago, with simple bead designs. I began selling very early, because the money I made from each step allowed me to move on to more complicated pieces by buying the tools and materials.
I’m actually surprised it took me as long as it did to find this. I am creative but I don’t have the patience to make things that take weeks or months (drawing, pottery…) I’m great with my hands and I can choose to be as minimalistic or as intricate as I like, and still end up with a finished piece! There’s also something really cool about wearing something you made. If I think ‘this outfit could do with a pair of hoops’ I can literally just go and make them!‘
Amy works exclusively with eco-silver and upcycled materials that she scouts out in charity shops. After finding certain pieces of silver jewellery, she then begins her process of melting down, bending and contorting to make her wholesome, gorgeous pieces. We asked Amy to explain a little more where this idea came from.
‘Of course! So I initially started off buying my materials all new, but I was getting a little suspicious of the ‘country of origin: China’ in the description. I was already an activist when it came to fast fashion so I did a bit of research and it was much worse than I thought, exploitation all the way down the supply chain for these semi-precious stones, metals, etc.
My Grandma told me that it was becoming too difficult for her to do up the clasps on the back of her necklaces, so she gave me a bunch of her jewellery and I just took it all apart and was able to use so many of the parts that I would usually buy. This was the start of a charity shop jewellery search obsession! I also joined a group called the @rejewelcollective, which is an incredible initiative where people can donate their old jewellery in exchange for a voucher with your shop
Stunningly simple, Amy’s work centres around line designs. Her delicate jewellery works with just about any outfit you could think of. She went on to explained to us where her inspiration comes from.
‘Sometimes I have an idea and I’ll go on Pinterest to see how others have approached it, and sometimes I’ll start with an initial shape and sketch the options of how I could make it. It also really helps to be a part of the Jewellers Academy online group which is just a huge community of jewellers, some just starting out and some who have been doing it for 30 years. Seeing their work is a really great way to get inspired.’
Finding jewellery brands that cater to sustainable wishes can be hard. While sustainable accessorise continue to be somewhat of an unknown subject, it is designers like Amy that are reminding people that every aspect of your outfit can, and should be environmentally friendly. We asked her how important sustainability is to her and her brand.’
I wouldn’t still be doing it if it wasn’t sustainable! I use eco-silver which is silver scraps that have been melted down into wire, so it’s all recycled. I don’t work with gold because I haven’t found a sustainable, affordable option yet, but maybe one day.
Asking an artist to choose their favourite piece is close to asking a parent to choose their favourite child. However, we had to ask anyway. Amy’s minimalistic style allows her a range of simple but beautiful designs, so we asked the designer if she has felt a certain connection with any of her pieces.
‘I tend to make a mixture of styles, some things I would wear and some I wouldn’t – but my favourites are those in my own style which are very minimalistic. My favourite is the Silver Bar Necklace because I love the texture and the simplicity of it and I wear mine all the time.’
It’s no secret that businesses around the world have suffered over the past year. National lockdowns have seen shops without websites lose a devastating amount of income. However, following these devastating times, small businesses have been pushed into the spotlight. As Amy’s jewellery is currently only available online, we wanted to know how lockdowns have affected her sales.
‘In terms of online sales it hasn’t at all, but I do have my jewellery permanently in two shops and I take it on markets, so I haven’t been able to do this in lockdown. Making sales comes down to people stumbling across your work so this has had an impact because people are much more likely to buy in person on the spot than online where they can put it off or forget.’
Finally, we asked Amy what she sees for the future of her ever growing business.
‘I try not to look too far into the future as it’s nice to appreciate how far I’ve come, but there are so many steps I can take further when it comes to silversmithing. So my goal is to keep improving, and learning to make new things.’