The flowers came about when I wanted to find a way to introduce some colour to the range, its hard to believe the earth can create such diverse and beautiful colour rocks, much like how it also created diverse and beautiful flowers ;-) .
Obviously looking at the other pieces in the range I wasn't going down the dainty delicate flower route. We’ve kept it thick and wonky like all good things in life.
Excited by the idea, I ordered an oval agate stone from a big UK supplier and set it in place with some recycled 9ct gold bezel. When I shared it on instagram, it got a huge reaction that I wasn't really expecting.
We then looked into how to produce these rings sustainably, on a larger scale but found the gemstone supplier couldn't really back up their claims that the stones were ethically sourced. We searched all over for stones that were genuinely ethical but found none. If the mining process isn't bad enough, a lot of gems are made/cut in China where conditions often mean workers are exposed to the silica powder produced by cutting stone (its estimated 24,000 people die each year from Silicosis in China - see this article from Reuters). We found endless articles like this one explaining how even stones classed as ethical have no guarantees as there is no governing body worldwide that can validate this, yet the word is thrown around left right and centre.
We kept coming back to the same idea, what if we could use existing gemstones that people were trying to sell or get rid of second hand? We used flea markets, charity shops and online marketplaces to source vintage jewellery and had some great finds. However, it was really tricky finding enough stones in the specific shape and size we needed, so we had another issue on our hands!
After some hunting, we discovered a local gemstone cutter called John (AKA Gemstone John). He was able to reshape any larger gemstones we found into the exact shape required. It's amazing to work with someone locally who is such an expert in this area and a very lovely bloke too.
The final challenge was the gold that wrapped around the gem. We had newly partnered with Fairmined Gold, committing ourselves to only use the most ethical and environmentally friendly gold available from a select few mines in the world. It only comes in the form of grain (which is like only being able to get wood in the form of woodchips). Typically gold comes in all sorts of shapes and thicknesses, but this metal is much rarer and newer to the market (and more expensive) so very few producers have begun preshaping and selling it.
Melting down grain and forming these ourselves would be expensive, difficult and time consuming. After a lot of emailing and searching, we found a seller who was willing to make the gold strip (bezel) to our exact specifications in Fairmined Gold!
When I look at the weird and wonderful array of Wonky Flower rings we have created I feel so happy that our push for sustainability led us here! Who knows what we will find on our hunts for gem treasure. As the stones are cut by hand, they vary slightly in shape and size which I adore, they have all lived a different life prior to being a Wonky Flower and now hopefully they will live this life for another few generations being treasured forever!
Thanks for your love, interest and excitement about the flowers, it means the world!!!! Find them here!