About Ethical and Sustainable Jewelry
Proud members of Ethical Metalsmiths
We believe in taking good care-- of self, of others, and of the planet. Everything we do at Crown Nine centers around this core belief. It guides how we source our raw materials, who we decide to partner with, and how we operate our day-to-day functions within the company, and what we see as our set of responsibilities to our community, our clients, and the environment.
MADE IN OAKLAND CA
Our Vow Collection jewelry and all other designs crafted by Kate Ellen are designed and produced in Oakland, right upstairs in our Flagship store. This ensures that we can oversee the highest level of craftwork goes into every design.
CURATING AND COLLECTING
We also house a roster of Artists from across the country who, like us, craft in small batches by hand in their own intimate studios. We do not collect from big manufacturing firms; everything is artisan with the highest consideration for material source and quality, craft-ship, and unique voice. We have always looked to center female artists, and since 2018, we have prioritized that all our new accounts be from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
We have developed relationships with like-minded partners for sourcing the highest quality gemstones, metals, and components for crafting our jewelry; they share our philosophy on environmental protection and social responsibility. Below are a list of some of our guiding principles when partnering:
Limit new mining
We use post consumer antique diamonds dating back from the late 1700’s through 1940’s, post-consumer upcycled diamonds, as well as recycled metals in our designs. These stones are often take out of obsolete jewelry and resold back to jewelry designers to craft new designs, taking mining out of the equation all-together. Antique diamonds also have an aesthetic quality that is remarkably unique and beautiful that we think pairs well with our designs.
We believe that there is already enough material above ground and in the supply chain to access for reuse in new designs. We specialize in using client heirloom materials to craft new designs, as well as partner with vendors who specialize in reclaimed gold, metals, diamonds and gemstones.
If we opt to select a stone that is newly mined, we opt for sites where we understand the operations and can ensure that there is environmental and labor safety. Our Montana sapphires come from small, privately operated mines that are on former clear-cut property once used for timber. Once mining is complete, the company restores the formally clear-cut habitat with native plants and trees. Occasionally we also partner with specialty dealers who source stones direct from miners in other regions of the world, spreading the economic benefit of gemstone mining to the people who do the labor.
Minimize energy use and carbon footprints
New mining has the biggest environmental impact on energy use, seconded by lab-grown materials. We prioritize sourcing from existing reused materials. We attempt to limit the amount of shipping, packaging, and waste associated with transport of our materials, products, and prefer eco or recycled options for our regular business activities, packaging, and supplies.
Respect person-hood and human dignity
We believe that ‘conflict-free’ labels are not stringent enough. We choose to work with materials that are being reused rather than potentially contributing to any current conflict, abuse, environmental destruction associated with newly mined material. We also prioritize working with gems that are cut in the US by adult artisans; there are gemstones that are mined in a more ethical manner but then are sent out to be cut in conditions that may not meet standards for labor and safety.
Use audited and trusted sourcing partners
Most of our key metal and gem sourcing partners are certified through SCS Global Services who are a trusted leader in third-party environmental, sustainability and food quality certification, auditing, testing and standards development.
Support craftspeople and historically important techniques
We believe in doing things well and right, so we opt to work with craftspeople for specialty services that are outside our in-house production capacity, such as gem-cutting, hand-engraving and inlay. All our Guest Artists are independent and vetted for their own responsible sourcing practices, creative use of materials, craftsmanship and fair price.
Strive, advocate, and pressure
We strive to source all our business products and raw materials in the most local, sustainable, and ethical way possible. There are still significant gaps in the marketplace for certain items, like recycled metal chains and eco-packaging. We are dedicated to constantly searching for these products, putting pressure on our larger suppliers to improve their offerings and practices, and paying a premium when we discover a product we find to be more ethical/sustainable than others on the market.
LOVE BELONGS TO ALL
Our most central mindset is that all people and the planet deserve love and wellbeing. To that end, we aim to create a unique experience online and in-store, including for people who have traditionally been marginalized while shopping for luxury or wedding products based on gender, orientation, race, class or other intersection. We understand that the wedding industry has long excluded many people and experiences. We hope to be a safe haven and support each of our clients in their own expression of the experience. We have done away with terms like bride, groom, men’s ring, and women’s rings and instead curate our designs by style type. We welcome you to share your pronouns with us, and any other information that will give us insight into serving you with an open heart. We are open to critical feedback and are always aiming to learn, listen, and grow to better craft a space and product that serves people from all backgrounds.
We never pressure clients to make a purchase impulsively (we don’t work on commission for this reason) so that each item you take home is part of a collection that will be loved, used frequently, and taken care of to last generations rather than a season or two. We will speak frankly about trend vs. timelessness, how to care/wear/store your items, and provide you with advice on how to select items that match the arc of your own personal lifetime aesthetic.
EDUCATION & STEWARDSHIP
We make it a priority to educate our clients on not only what they are buying and who made it, but also how to take care of it so that it lasts. We pay special mind to discussing lifestyle factors that will impact longevity of your design and will work to match you to a ring/design that will wear well in your normal day-to-day life. We honor the resources required to make an object and see you are a key factor in increasing the sustainability of each work by empowering you as caretaker and steward to help make it last. Fine jewelry is made of high value reusable materials, so a little care now will ensure that your purchase lasts generationally.
We support industry leaders in transforming policy. We are members of Ethical Metalsmiths who are pioneering responsible jewelry practices through education, connection, and action. We are also members of the Women's Jewelry Association, helping women in the jewelry and watch industries advance and develop professionally through networking, education, leadership development, and the provision of member services.
We donate on average 8% of our annual net profit to local and national organizations.
Our shop is located on occupied Chochenyo and Karkin land, we pay an annual land use tax to the Sogorea te Land Trust. You can pay your Shuumi Tax here>. We prioritize our giving and donations to local organizations that serve BIPOC youth in exploring the arts and trades, as well as food security programs like the Alameda Food Bank. We also have done fundraising for crisis events such as the California wildfires, COVID-19 relief, and invest in local Kiva projects. We accept requests from any local organization that serves the educational and wellness needs of our community, to submit a request please email email@example.com.
We do one-time and sustain donations to national organizations as well-- among them are ACLU, Raices Texas, Black Lives Matter, National Public Radio, and Planned Parenthood.
We recognize that climate change is here and will disproportionately impact poor people and people of color across the globe. We make every effort to reduce our own business practices to reduce carbon emissions, and for each Vow purchase from our label, we contribute to One Tree Planted to plant 40 native trees in California in your honor.