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dotOnly recycled precious metals and not directly mined and therefore no further displacement of fragile eco-systems.
dotLocally-gathered surface stones.
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Cruelty-free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
dot15% of profits donated to wildlife protection and re-naturing - also land-care education in developing countries.
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A genuine approach to chemical-hazard-free crafting.
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No plating. No casting. Nothing designed or made with computer software.
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Carbon-inverted targets (Dedicated to putting more back into nature than taking from it).
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Every detail handmade by Laibach.
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No greenwash answers to customer questions.
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No newly-mined gems ... ever.
dotAtelier Laibach is the first jewellery maker worldwide to use
The  About The NOVA Key Ethical Label Key ethical label.

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Ethical Jewellery Gift Voucher
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Atelier Laibach jewellery pouch
Your jewellery piece comes in a Kerstin Laibach handmade pouch made with bamboo / hemp, raffia and vegan sealing wax.

HOME... A UNIQUE ETHOS » PROFILE

About Kerstin Laibach ...
Compiled by Looking-Glass Ethical Arts and Media incorporating VeggieGlobal.com

Background ...
Kerstin Laibach grew up up in a beautiful area of central Europe renowned for hand-crafted jewellery of exceptional standards. Rising east from the French / German Rhine valley are the higher mountains of the Black Forest, sweeping south towards the Swiss Alps. It is here, between Pforzheim and Basel, Switzerland where Kerstin learnt her trade as a classical goldsmith.
Her journey into goldsmithing began with a three and a half year apprenticeship near Basel, followed by some years as a designer and restorer in Freiburg, where she fine-tuned her skills creating bespoke pieces, while also restoring antique jewellery.

Awareness ...
By 2008 Kerstin's growing concern about environmental issues led to a justifiable distrust about sourcing, crafting and selling methods practiced by jewellery the industry - not just standard jewellery makers but even those claiming to be ethical. Shocked by the pretense (greenwash) and lack of genuine moral responsibility within the industry - Kerstin
decided that the responsible way forward was to go it alone; offering goldsmith standard, bespoke pieces with meaningful environmental principles.
Kerstin: "There will always be room for improvement while the world continues to mine, displace habitats and cause animal suffering just for the sake of vanity, but by strictly avoiding new-mined precious metals and stones, animal derivatives and hazardous crafting processes, at least I can respond to my clients questions with clear honesty instead of abstract or greenwash answers ."

The pioneer challenge by VeggieGlobal ... the world's first bio-vegan jewellery crafting principles.
All the vegan and ecological principles we have developed with Kerstin Laibach for this ethical jewellery project are a world first.  From its original conception in 2006 to final refinements at the official launch of Atelier Laibach in early 2009, we have debuted many new earth, animal and human friendly approaches to goldsmithing.
Creating a truly sustainable goldsmith's workbench environment was the result of thousands of hours research, reevaluation and some reinvention of traditional crafting materials and tooling methods. It also meant carefully seeking out ethical businesses and organisations that might be relied on for truly recycled / earth / animal friendly materials and carbon neutral services. Hardly any proved suitable. For example, truly recycled / biodegradable / recyclable / guaranteed non-animal derived jewellery containers were nowhere to be found, so instead Kerstin Laibach makes her own all-vegan / biodegradable jewellery pouches as well as her own vegan sealing wax. She is also the first goldsmith to use a carefully sourced animal-fat free polishing paste to ensure a true vegan-based result for all her pieces. Kerstin Laibach is also the first business / artist in the world to follow "thrucycle" principles and to use The NOVA Key ethical clarity labelling system.

A goldsmith's main crafting material is of course precious metal and there was never any doubt from the start that Kerstin Laibach's gold, platinum palladium and silver would derive purely from recycling and never from a newly-mined source. This meant also steering clear of Fair-trade's offerings in gold, silver and platinum which are all new-mined.
Kerstin's main specialty is to create new pieces from clients old unwanted family gold - this being the most environmentally-friendly option of all.
For precious stones she will only use antique diamonds (and lab-created diamonds on client request). Her "Pre-Millennium Principle" lays out an age threshold regarding reclamation of precious stones to ensure that no recently mined gems are used.
Kerstin's first stop for non-precious stones are surface "pebbles" permissibly self-gathered with no detriment to the environment.

Kerstin: "My pledge is to help reduce all artisanal / subsistence-based dependency on gold extraction. From 15% of my profits*, I support land-care education and retraining programmes for communities in developing countries working sustainably with their local environments - not digging it up for gold. This includes charity run projects in Africa which assist communities towards vocations which don't depend on mining but instead working interdependently, sustainably and productively with their environment, while lifted out of poverty from profits of their labour. I embrace only such frameworks which offer genuine sustainability methods, whereby communities and their environment can thrive for the long-term without destroying complex eco-systems ... from river to forest. I also donate a percentage of my profits to wildlife care organisations in the UK and Central Europe*."

What is the difference between recycled gold and new-mined gold?
(opens separate window)

A creative niche in a disposable world...
Kerstin Laibach is a pure hand-crafter of every last detail of her designs. She does not use any factory pre-made parts such as chains, ring blanks or closing-mechanisms (a short-cut practice of many jewellers and designers). Neither does Kerstin cast her jewellery or use computer programing to design, cast and machine any jewellery (another common hands-free-from-start-to-finish designer method).

With a combination of hand skills and the flair of a natural artist, Kerstin isn't shy to lift a hammer and get her hands dirty, forging an entire piece from a slab of recycled precious metal to final polishing and every hand-tooling process in-between. Therefore, all of Kerstin Laibach's designs are hand-drawn and adjusted to "holistically" suit the client's individuality while allowing an organic flow; how the aesthetics of a design evolves during hand crafting. This gives a Laibach piece a tactile "soul", as Kerstin crafts even a simple wedding band with exact comfort preferences unique to its wearer. This also means critical technical differences can be addressed when, for example, ensuring that a wedding band and engagement ring worn on the same finger truly fit together based on the characteristics of an individual clients finger.

The price of integrity...
The growing cultural trend of the modern designer jewellery "brands" is integral to the vanity trade. Technically, the outpouring of one-season jewellery is accelerated by the simplicity of computer modeling/casting / 3d printing processes thus causing more environmental damage to nature than any other fashion accessory - from sourcing to disposal.
Being in stark opposition to the plasticized designer branding culture creates a spirited challenge for Kerstin, a goldsmith artist who genuinely exemplifies complete organic dexterity within the modes of design and crafting ... Her work has been described as "Slow" jewellery with anthroposophical elements.
Kerstin: "I make long-term heirloom jewellery as an artist and goldsmith, not as a "brand," - in fact I find the term "brand" vulgar in its over-used commercial context. Therefore, I am increasingly aware that it is often only the most environmentally-tuned jewellery clients or even some fashionistas who identifiy with my craft methods and ethical approach. It's from within that tiny niche that I am happy to receive commissions."

Behind the scenes ... From three years research to launch in March 2009 and the continuing mission...
Kerstin: "Laibach atelier is essentially the brainchild of my partner John, an extraordinary environmental visionary and talented artist in his own right and sole inspiration to my "outside the jewellery box" design approach. My partner's immense moral and creative support has been invaluable, and which now extends to the wonderful design and craft aesthetics of my studio / gallery which opened in 2014.
My ethical pledge is the keystone to my entire creative output. It is impossible to please everyone, but I do take pride in aiming to explain everything that the customer wishes to know about my ecological approach. I strive to ensure that my work meets the ethical wishes of the most meticulous vegan or environmentally astute customer, meaning that my pieces can be enjoyed by everybody of all dietary or ethical preferences".

Having formerly worked only with with priceless gems, Kerstin is often asked what now inspires her to also create pieces also from simple "pebbles"...
Kerstin: "Beside the positive environmental approach to making pieces with surface gathered stones I find myself automatically gravitating towards pebbles shaped over time by nature and which humans have not manipulated. The form of an uncut, unpolished stone is like a memory imprint of the earths' natural motion over millions of years. This must be why pebbles can feel so natural in your hands and why they give such a "feel-good" sense when I have set them into jewellery without adversely changing their structure. To be able to wear and therefore connect with an ancient, elementary fragment of our world is a rare thing in an age when everything else around us so manipulated and modified by humans. Even with the "architectural" collections and my Finger Sculptures , I like to use the shapes and lines of natural stones to determine the structure that surrounds them. It's a miniaturized approach to how artistic forms sculptured by nature and manmade art in architecture can harmonize."

Kerstin on her mentor...
"I am proud to be associated with the respected nonprofit web resources Looking-Glass and VeggieGlobal who have researched extensively to determine ecological factuality within the jewellery trade and to establish a more truthful perspective of what can be termed as ethical jewellery."

Kerstin Laibach sincerely hopes that you will appreciate the result of her unique approach to genuinely handmade work, and that you may subsequently find your perfect ethical jewellery piece for a lifetime's wear and perhaps to pass down for generations to come.

Information and quotes compiled by Looking-Glass Environmental Arts and Media.

* Kerstin Laibach currently donates an average of 15% of her profits to specific wildlife and environmental protection organisations. These currently include organisations in the UK, Central Europe, and Africa and are distributed on average  on a year to two year basis. Some of her sculptural pieces are also created and donated to organisations specifically for auctioning by the organisation as a direct donation.

MORE INFORMATION ...

Atelier Laibach Principles - A Slow, Holistic Approach
The Collections
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