Originally from France, I have lived in New York City since 2000. My childhood was split between Lyon, France and my family home in Corsica where I spent my summer days wandering the mountains, the river, and the seaside, playing with twigs as rings and cherries’ stones and stems as earrings. Therefore, a number of my pieces are reminiscent of my childhood memories.
I once saw a dead branch being moved from the side of the road and presumed—as the villagers moved it to the river— the bathers protesting the branch in their river pool. Where could this withered thing find a home? I imagined how a sculpture of this dead branch could give this discarded object a place to live. That story exemplifies my inspiration to transform discarded objects into art.
In short, I mold my art-to-wear collections directly from nature, including sea shells and branches. And others I get inspiration from photos or drawings. I name my jewelry pieces after the person, the object, or the place that inspired them.
Let’s get to know more about it.
INSPIRING JEWELRY IS WEARABLE ART FOR THE PRESERVATION OF TIME
I believe in wearable art as a means to preserve memory and amplify the beauty of nature. I see the meaning and magic in discarded, forgotten items and seek to illuminate all the things they represent. Primarily, I cast pieces of nature and whatnots and then generate a mold from that casting. I create unique pieces using mold and an ancient technique known as the “lost wax” process.
In this way, beauty transcends time, gender, race, and all other limiting constructs. My pieces are gender-neutral and customers can also customize them.
MY COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
Sandrine B.Jewelry is a member of Made in NYC, an initiative to build an equitable and sustainable city for all New Yorkers by supporting New York City’s manufacturers.
Adopting an ethical framework is personal because it is voluntary and depends on the business’s core values and what they want to be known for.
We at Sandrine B. Jewelry commit to transparency and responsible sourcing, the best term for sustainability in the jewelry industry.
At Sandrine B., I mindfully finish my inspiring jewelry in New York City by hand – minimizing our carbon footprint.
I work with my suppliers and vendors to gain more understanding of how they procure their materials with the goal of identifying where the materials are coming from and who benefits from the purchase of the stones or metals. I also ask my suppliers where the gemstones were mined, cut and then polished.
Another important feature of my brand is that I make all my packaging materials from recycled cardboard and recycle all my bench sweeps and scraps. Also, I source my metals and gemstones responsibly from trusted dealers. My original designs are cast in New York City by a small business.
FAIRMINED LICENSED BRAND
My jewelry practices are evolving over time. In the summer of 2021, I became a fairmined licensed brand and have been using fair mined gold in several of my pieces. Fairmined Gold is an assurance label that certifies gold from artisanal and small-scale mining operations. It gives miners a fair wage and minimizing the negative effects mining can have on our environment.
INSPIRING JEWELRY: FAIRMINED GOLD COLLECTION DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM LOCAL SHOPS IN BUSHWICK
I joined the Fairmined 100 Challenge and launched two new collections on August 31, 2022. The 100 Challenge is an open invitation from the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) to all actors from the jewelry and numismatic industries to support the Fairmined certified mining organizations.
The jewelry pieces in these collections pay tribute to businesses in Bushwick.
Both collections draw attention to the importance of small businesses in our communities. I indeed believe that by supporting each other we can build on human connections to help grow local economies.
Small businesses bring jobs and revenue to the local economies by offering jobs, local products, paying sales and property tax, and also using local vendors and supporting services. Multiple studies show that these small businesses reinvest in the local economy at a higher rate than chains do.
For instance, for every $100 spent at one of these businesses, $68 stays in the community, according to Amy Hartzler, director of communications for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a nonprofit that advocates building strong local economies. Therefore, that’s more than twice the amount chains reinvest.
Choosing the pieces for Inspiring Jewelry
So I intentionally chose pieces of nature found in two local stores in Bushwick in New York City. I have lived in Bushwick for a few years and I have enjoyed perusing various stores’ offerings.
I hand-picked a Korean rock fern plant from Stems Brooklyn. Ferns often symbolize confidence, love, and security because of their lush leaves, bouncy stems, and also the ability to exist throughout history. And I selected honey locust thorns from Catland Books. Honey locust symbolizes beauty, protection and tolerance.
Without a doubt, it all means that each piece of jewelry holds the memory of the place and of the time the purchase was made.
The fern leaves and honey locust thorns were molded and cast in 14K fairmined gold, later accentuated with responsibly sourced gemstones. The honey locust necklace comes with a fairmined gold chain purchased from Riva Precision Manufacturing in Brooklyn.
Both collections are available for purchase on my website. As I said before, a portion of the sale proceeds will be donated to initiatives supporting small businesses in Brooklyn.
In conclusion, I invite you to visit my youtube channel to see the collections.
Overall, my inspiring jewelry reminds us that we are more than what meets the eye.
* Written by Sandrine Valentine, founder and designer of Sandrine B. Jewelry.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Fashinnovation’s columnists are their own, not those of Fashinnovation.
Like this article? Then you must read this one: The 7 Frequently Asked Questions About Fashion Social Business