CREATING RESPONSIBLE JEWELRY
There are so many ways that the fashion industry impacts the planet, including waste, materials, plastics, pollution, and carbon footprint. Trying to understand all the elements of this impact and act truly sustainably is incredibly challenging in an industry that is so driven by seasonal trends and newness. The jewelry industry, in specific, is rampant with not only cheaply made products but also unethically made. Workers are paid very little for their labour, and cheap materials are used to keep costs down. However, at Evershiny, we have a sincere ambition to do business differently and have always been an environmentally conscious company, committing to sustainable practices. We are all looking for ways, big and small, to help be part of the solution to climate change. The younger generation of consumers (millennials) is choosing sustainability over iconic brands. Many jewelry brands are thus aligning with the conscious consumer by opting for recycled metals, ethically sourced stones, and beautiful handmade designs that centre the local artisan community. Subsequently, brands are now looking for sustainability, transparency, and ethical manufacturing in the factories they work or partner with. Thus, as a manufacturer, we believe we’re in a unique position to support independent brands in working more sustainably and delivering real impact across the industry. Evershiny is very exciting to be part of this journey. By utilizing the latest materials and manufacturing know-how, we are is in the process of fully integrating the required standards for a "green" manufacturing facility in order to create "responsible jewelry".
Our jewelry by its very nature, is a circular product as it can be repaired and recycled into new pieces. The jewelry trade is also inherently a little more sustainable than other industries, as consumers tend to pass their pieces on to the next generation. At Evershiny, we are very passionate about conscious production, and we aim to become your trusted supplier for sustainable quality jewelry. We want your customers to own pieces that will last them a long time, and avoid fast fashion items. Therefore, we aim to produce high-quality jewelry in order to help one maximize its wear and support conscious consumption. At Evershiny, we make quality jewelry that lasts. Though greener options are expensive (ethical manufacture can be 30% more expensive), a Neilson study in 2020 found that 66% of all consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands. This figure is even higher for millennials and Gen Z.
Thus, in order to match the rising global standards for sustainable manufacturing processes, below are a few small changes we are taking as a company to ensure we continue to keep improving in every aspect of our business - for us, for you, for the planet.
Every piece of jewellery you buy costs the planet something, and it’s within your power to decide whether that cost is going to be big or small.
We proudly run our own factory, which allows us to maintain a high level of quality, and, more importantly, produce our handcrafted jewelry on demand (made to order). This means we can listen to demand and thus avoid creating excess products, causing unnecessary stock. Hence, reducing greenhouse emissions and ensuring the sustainable consumption of resources.
Every Evershiny-made piece is crafted locally, so it prevents a large carbon footprint by not requiring samples and orders to be sent back and forth abroad.
Not all jewelry is not created equal. Evershiny aims to create quality jewelry carefully crafted by experts that last multiple lifetimes and can be handed down through generations. For this, we enhance skilled manufacturing and offer minor and major repair services of all kinds (including re-plating) at a nominal charge for our clients to restore the pieces to new, and thus can be sold and passed down again. We accept repairs on both Sterling Silver and Brass base pieces. By maximizing the life of every piece, we believe this is another step towards a circular economy. Please note that the shipping charge is at the customer's expense, and we do not offer repair on items not made by us. We would recommend that you gather your returns and send them back to us every six months.
We encourage customers to opt for silver base metal as it can be recycled again. If one were to tire of their piece, it could be taken apart, melted down, and created into something new using the same materials but in a way that makes it fresh again. The value of these materials creates an inherently sustainable life cycle.
We also are encouraging all our customers to start practising more responsible consumerism by plating higher micron because when you buy better, you can wear them longer.
Evershiny currently meets the European Union’s REACH (Restriction, Evaluation, and Authorisation of Chemicals) regulation, which aims to restrict hazardous substances such as nickel, lead, and cadmium in all parts of jewelry that could reasonably be accessed by the end consumers, and ultimately reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in the environment.
Evershiny is a certified member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), which is a leading supply chain management system that supports companies in driving social compliance and improvements within the factories in their global supply chains. The latest exhaustive full audit was conducted on March 20th, 2020, by Intertek, and covers the following 13 Performance Areas (PA). We are very proud to announce that we have received a Score A for at least 10 of the PAs listed below.
PA 1: Social Management System and Cascade Effect
PA 2: Workers Involvement and Protection
PA 3: The rights of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
PA 4: No Discrimination
PA 5: Fair Remuneration
PA 6: Decent Working Hours
PA 7: Occupational Health and Safety
PA 8: No Child Labor
PA 9: Special protection for young workers
PA10: No Precarious Employment
PA 12: Protection of the Environment
PA 13: Ethical Business Behavior
We also recycle or reuse where possible. All the metal scrap created from our factory is being recycled back into the system, thereby creating no waste. In addition to this, we use a filtering system that collects dust particles of precious metals (silver), so they can be reused again. All soft plastics that come into our business, along with cards, papers, and courier bags/boxes, are either being re-used or recycled as well.
We are currently in the process of transitioning to renewable energy as our US $400,000 solar panels project undertakes its final stage of discussion. The solar panel is both a clean and a great renewable source of energy, and with the advent of global climate change, it has become more important that we should do everything possible to reduce any more pressure to our atmosphere. Thus, we aim for our 9,300 square meters factory to be at least 75% solar-powered by 2025.
OUR STONES & MATERIALS
We want to make sure that all of the materials that we use come from a good place, which is why we are committed to ethical sourcing. We work exclusively with our long-term trusted suppliers who guarantee ethical sources of our materials, including chains, findings, and stones.
Simulated gemstones (including Cubic Zirconias and Nano Gems) are used where possible as they are laboratory-grown, fully traceable, and offer a very similar look to mined gemstones. Our simulated gemstones are of the highest quality and durability, designed to last a lifetime and beyond. They will withstand wear as per all precious and semi-precious gemstones, often with improved hardness and stability, too. Every laboratory-grown is carefully selected for its beauty and optical qualities compared with natural stones; determined by its brilliance, color, clarity, hardness, durability, and pricing. However, we also do work with natural stones on requests but are careful to keep them at a minimum due to their possible ethical implications. We work hard with our stone suppliers to understand the country of origin for all of our gemstones, which are sourced from all around the world, from Brazil, India, to Madagascar. Upon request, we can send them to get certified at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Bangkok at an additional cost.
All the crystals we use are hand-glued and from Preciosa, who is at the forefront of sustainability. All Preciosa crystals are lead-free and are responsibly produced through various social and environmental programs.
We work with lab-grown diamonds, also known as conflict-free or cultured diamonds. Lab-created diamonds are 100% diamonds and can only be distinguished from mined diamonds with sophisticated lab equipment. These diamonds are never mined and process the same identical chemical composition, hardness, brilliance, and fire as mined natural diamonds. The only difference is that the origin is a laboratory and not the earth. The idea is similar to planting a tree in a greenhouse versus foraging it from the woods. Research suggests that the carbon footprint of lab-grown diamonds is around 5 to 10% of mined diamonds. Same as mined diamonds, the lab-grown diamonds are hand-selected and graded per the 4Cs of clarity, color, cut, and carat weight. All our lab-grown diamonds come with VS1-2 clarity and D-F color (colorless). Lab-grown diamonds can be anywhere from 20 - 40% less expensive than mined diamonds. Sterling Silver is the recommended base to be used, and an appropriate number of stones (not too many) that are not too big is suggested in order to keep the price affordable.
All the opals that we use are also lab-grown. However, we do work with Ethiopian Opals on special requests.
We work with freshwater pearls in various shapes and sizes upon the customer's request, but also work with faux pearls where possible.
Where possible, our materials are sourced locally here to support domestic production. We aim to increase the demand for artisan job opportunities in the local communities all around Thailand.
According to recent studies, the carbon footprint volume of each jewelry piece actually depends on the materials/base metals used. We are pleased to say that silver is the precious metal that produces the least volume of carbon footprint (when compared to gold and platinum). A pair of heart-shaped gold earrings generates 31 kilograms of carbon dioxide. The volume is equivalent to driving a small car for about 200 kilometres. On the contrary, such earrings made of silver only produce carbon at around 0.34 kilograms. Thus, using silver as a base metal is already kinder to the environment.
Metals are fundamental when creating jewelry. However, the mining of virgin metals can be highly problematic for the environment. Metal mining often involves the destruction of natural environments and the use of toxic pollutants, which choke sounding environments and ecosystems. Recent research shows that using recycled silver reduces CO2 emissions by ⅔ versus mined silver thus, recycling existing jewelry or buying jewelry made of recycled metals greatly helps slash carbon dioxide emissions. We currently have an option for our customers to use only exclusively certified recycled silver in their jewelry pieces, apart from a small number of components, which are manufactured out of our hands. Our metal supplier purchases silver from previously owned jewelry, industrial byproducts, and electronics components globally, but primarily located here in Thailand. The unwanted precious metal is then refined through a process of scrap refining technique to purify the metal and then transformed into new silver in the form of casting grains. This regenerated silver can then be re-casted and made into new silver jewelry again. Our silver refiner supplier is listed on the LBMA's (London Bullion Market Association) Good Delivery List, the global authority on precious metals. They are also a certified member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) for their recycled metal processes. A letter of certification can be provided upon request. Please note that there will be a 5% extra charge on top of the market silver price for using this option. The final unit price difference between regular and recycled silver will be approximately 5 - 15%, depending on each style. Recycled metal is no different than virgin metal in its makeup. In other words, there is no effect on either the quality or the outlook if recycled silver is to be used. These precious metals are just as high quality as newly mined silver but require no new mining. A recycled silver logo will also be hallmarked on each piece to represent the certified recycled silver used. We currently have 32 customers onboard this program already, and we expect to receive more in the coming months.
We also only use ECO BRASS, which is a lead-free, environmentally-friendly brass alloy. Lead has been known to be extremely harmful to the human body. This heavy metal also causes serious environmental problems such as lead leaching into the drinking water and lead dust during machining and casting. By switching to eco-brass, we reduce the amount of harmful chemicals in the environment and ensure our jewelry pieces are consumer-friendly.
We have recently introduced a "Silver Buy-Back Recycling Scheme" where we recycle any unwanted Sterling Silver jewelry from our customers so that they can be made into something new (and to give it a second life). Jewelry made by other manufacturers is accepted as well, including any faulty/defective items returned from your customers, old stock, broken chains, missing earrings, or just the unsold pieces. Jewelry that has been plated in various colorways, including pieces with stones, will also be accepted, as long as the base metal is Sterling Silver. The old pieces will be recycled (melted down) into new silver that is reused for jewelry. In return, a credit note as an incentive will be given to the customer to be used against their next order with us. The credit note will include the value of the actual silver weight (after it has passed through the refining process) at the market silver price on the date we receive the parcel. The minimum for a recycling batch to be considered is 1 kg of sterling silver jewelry, and the shipping charge is at the customer's expense. To put it into perspective, 1 kg of silver equals approximately 233 units of a simple band ring, and thus about $700 worth of credit will be issued in return at the silver price of $27 per ounce. That gives you back approximately 38% of the buying price value. The current processing time is around four weeks upon receiving the metal. A letter of certification from Evershiny can be issued to confirm the silver donation and certify that they are being properly recycled. Thanks to all the donations from our clients so far, we've been able to recycle over 30 kg of silver metal and have already issued credit notes worth over $18,000 to date. Unfortunately, we cannot accept trade-ins on Brass base pieces at the moment.
We have started to trace where our metals are coming from, so we can understand and reduce our impact (not an easy task with the minerals supply chain that is many layers deep). However, we are taking it one step at a time in order to ensure that all metals we use are conflict-free.
Evershiny's creations not only include high-fashion season designs, but we have a core collection of classics and non-seasonal as well, which are made to last for decades to come.
All jewelry pieces leaving from Evershiny is now packed using earth-friendly poly bags that are 100% landfill-safe and environmentally degradable with no additional cost to our customers. A US-patented, oxo-biodegradable additive called “Oxium” has been added to the production of these conventional plastic bags to help accelerate the degradation process of polymers to smaller molecules (not more physical fragmentation or microplastics). Oxium is highly recyclable and made with non-toxic natural minerals. Using them on conventional plastic does not change the plastic base properties (strong, transparent, good oxygen barrier, etc.), so they can still be 100% reused. This EDP’s (Environmentally Degradable Plastic) chemical structure is designed only to start degrading when exposed to the natural environment, such as UV rays, oxygen, heat, humidity, wind, and water. They will not degrade on your warehouse shelf or inside your jewelry box, so do not worry! These pressures cause changes in the chemical structure of the plastic that can then be consumed by microorganisms, turning them into carbon dioxide, water, and safe biomass at the end of their life cycle.
By using degradable poly bags, we address the end-of-life issue and bridge the missing link of the 4th R (Return to Earth) (after plastics are being reduced, reused, and recycled), which enables plastics to go back to the ground naturally, completing its natural life cycle. Conventional plastic bags typically take 500 years to degrade, while our eco-friendly poly bags can naturally degrade within 2 to 5 years. We use approximately 13,564 kg of plastic a year for poly bags alone at Evershiny. Thus, we hope that by switching from unsustainable plastics to sustainable ones, we help reduce the massive accumulation of plastic waste in landfills and the environmental issues it causes. The certifications can be sent over upon request.
In addition, we do try to limit the use of polybags (especially transit bags) as much as possible and reuse them whenever we can.
We push our customers to be as environmentally friendly as possible with their packaging materials and to go plastic-free. Thus, we encourage them to use materials that are either 100% recyclable, made from recycled materials or is biodegradable on their packaging. Brands should also aim to use sustainably approved paper or wood, certified organic fabrics, and water-based inks and glues wherever possible. We have a list of Evershiny-approved suppliers that we are happy to refer to, who produce packaging that is fully recyclable, degradable, and ethically manufactured.
Evershiny is not claiming to be a perfectly sustainable jewelry manufacturer (not yet), but we are always trying to do better by making the ‘better’ choice whenever we can. If you or someone you know has applicable knowledge relevant to jewelry and sustainability we would love to hear from you.
Evershiny believes that jewelry is more than just beautiful. It can also do good for the world. One should wear jewelry loud and proud! We believe in the importance of giving back to the community. As a company, we encourage our employees to volunteer through either programs organized internally or externally, and to help select charities to receive the company’s donations. Thus, we are proud to be supporting several reputable organizations and initiatives through financial donations, as well as food and daily essentials to our local charities. This includes the Rangsit Children Aid Center, Foundation for Children (FFC), Ban Bang Khae Social Welfare Development Center for Older Persons, and Vocational Training Center for the Blind Women at Sampran; as well as public hospitals, namely Metta Pracharak Hospital.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown impact, we have recently set up a "community pantry" in front of our factory as a way to help people who have lost their income to feed their families during this difficult period. Inside the pantry are essential items such as instant noodles, bottled water, eggs, canned fish, and basic medicines that are being restocked daily. The concept is for one to take anything one needs, and leave anything one can share. This project is 100% sponsored by our directors.
If you would like to participate, please drop us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
At Evershiny, we respect and empower women in the workplace every single day in the strive toward gender equality. In fact, as of January 2020, our current male-to-female ratio (factory and office combined) is 1 to 2.5. We are a company that has chosen to invest in and promote women. We employ female craftswomen (over 73% of our workers are currently women) in rural areas of Thailand. The majority of them live in villages and small towns where jobs are extremely scarce. Our clients feel good not only because they love our jewelry, but also because women who made their pieces got paid fairly and worked in a safe environment.
Additionally, every year, our design team comes up with an Empower Women's Edit, a curated selection from our open-line in celebrating of International Women's Day (March 8th) as well as the October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in order to support brands that support one of the most important days of the year.