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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.
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.
A genuine approach to chemical-hazard-free crafting.
No plating. No casting. Nothing designed or made with computer software.
Carbon-inverted targets (Dedicated to putting more back into nature than taking from it).
Every detail handmade by Laibach.
No greenwash answers to customer questions.
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.

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


Ethics, the Jewellery Trade and The Laibach Principles ...
By Looking-Glass and VeggieGlobal and are combined nonprofit, passive web resources. With nearly 20 years web presence, the sites run important environmental campaigns and highlight ways for consumers, along with industries to reflect on pragmatic methods which can help reverse the devastating effects of nonessential wear and tear inflicted on the natural world. Below is our fly-on-the wall viewpoint which led to the research and development of a completely mining-free and cruelty-free jewellery workbench environment - and the debut of unique ethical goldsmith artist Kerstin Laibach.

Browsing the internet, it is easy to see that "ethical" or eco jewellery can be termed as a trade which has tenuously jumped on the green bandwagon. Pouring sanctimony over jewellery-making, labelled as ethical, is potentially a contentious overstatement which we aim to keep in firm check. Ethics should not be contrived or "greenwashed" just to suit the vested interest of a business. But in a self-regulated jewellery industry, often laced with bought opinions and erroneous claims, such practices have become overwhelmingly common amongst designers and jewellery companies; designed to diffuse customers moral concerns about the source or making of a piece of jewellery.
It is the opinion of Looking-Glass, VeggieGlobal and Kerstin Laibach that jewellery business ethics must be properly substantiated to ensure guidance on a genuine ecological path to help re-stabilize earth's increasingly fragile environments. There is an urgent necessity to put a stop to jewellers and trade-labelling organisations contriving false, distorted or superficial ecological status. This is an issue which should be reviewed and regulated by government based trades description bodies.

We explain these moral discrepancies within the ethical jewellery hyperbole, not to gain kudos for the conception of Laibach atelier's principles, but to simply ensure clients of Kerstin Laibach that she makes it her absolute, heartfelt priority to inform you of the exact ecological nature of her crafting processes, the piece itself and the packaging it comes in.
When jewellery related companies claiming to be green are speaking half-truths, it only adds further tarnish to an industry already scrutinized for its ecological and sociological shortcomings. Kerstin Laibach respects that her customers appreciate her transparency and honesty, and we emphasize that she does all that is possible to make certain that her clients trust in her advanced ethics is fully warranted.

Mined Gold is Not "Sustainable"

In every other industry "sustainable" means NOT using up earth's resources ... Sustainable practices such as renewable electricity means using the inexhaustible resource of wind or water instead of nonrenewable coal or oil.
More and more frequently you may notice the word "sustainable" used to describe or in conjunction with jewellery makers using Fair-trade gold, Fair-trade platinum or Fair-trade silver. Gold mining is not a sustainable earth resource. Once the gold is gone, it's gone. (It is not bananas or coffee which obviously grow again.) Therefore using the word "sustainable" to promote new-mined precious metals should be regarded as misleading. "Sustainable" should only be used to describe recycled precious metals.

Kerstin Laibach does not exploit or embellish the "ethical" or "recycled" term, and the merits of her service are founded on solid principles with a clearly directed moral compass.
She does not use new-mined precious metals, instead only sustainable recycled precious metals as a genuine environmentally acceptable choice.
What is the difference between recycled gold and new-mined gold?
(opens separate window)

Defining Recycled Jewellery

Kerstin Laibach jewellery is made from recycled metals, natural surface gathered stones and antique precious stones, and at the end of the long life of a Laibach jewellery piece, it is fully recyclable, therefore sustainable and subsequently renewable. Any waste material used to make a Laibach piece is also biodegradable. If a piece ended its days buried as landfill waste, its component parts are harmless to the environment. We take a genuinely responsible approach to our ecological crafting processes by ensuring this continuous circle of sustainability ... from earth to earth. To describe this circle we use the phrase "Thrucycling" (created by Looking-Glass) - a recycling model that is biologically earth-friendly from whichever source it comes or to whichever place it ends up - either being remade again or discarded back into the earth. This method should not be confused with artisans who create novelty "recycled" jewellery from spent items such as plastics, aluminum and electrical components. The contention is described through an article published on Looking-Glass:
"A lot of artists are jumping on the recycled bandwagon without really taking into consideration the long term sustainability of their creations. For example, when old electronic devices remain part of the industrial recycling process, the components are dismantled into their constituent parts and what can be recycled is processed accordingly. Even precious metals are extracted from circuit boards for recycling and reuse. Therefore, the responsible action for disposing of electronic equipment, old plastic containers, aluminum or other non-organic or refined material is to make sure it goes to the appropriate recycling centre so that it can be safely treated according to whichever renewability or stabilizing process it requires. The likelihood of a faddish jewellery piece, for example, made from old computer circuit boards, finding its way to an electronics recycling centre after its fashionable novelty has worn off, is almost zero. Its owner will find disposing of the item bewildering, and the nearest dustbin will provide the easiest solution, thus ending up causing pollution as landfill waste. If craft-makers are going to recycle "junk" to make jewellery or other ornamental novelties, the materials they are recycling must at least be biodegradable so that the item can be disposed of safely at the end of its life without detriment to the environment ."


We emphasize the often spurious use of "100%", because no environmentally conscious jeweller should claim that all the recycled materials they use are "100%" ... but many do, whether it be the jewellery itself or the box it comes in.
Although Kerstin Laibach sources recycled gold and silver from a highly efficient and trustworthy supplier (which only refines "old" gold from jewellers and the dental industry), we recognise that even then the very nature of the gold recycling process means it is impossible to completely guarantee that a piece of jewellery contains 100% recycled "old" gold, silver or platinum. This is because there is always a risk of traces of new-mined gold getting mixed in with other jewellery makers bench filings and sweepings which get sent back to the refiners for recycling. With "faux green" jewellery makers now using fair-trade gold and fair-trade platinum instead of recycled, there is an even stronger possibility of new-mined fair-trade work bench filings and sweepings entering the refiners recycling chain.
There is also the risk of some jewellers mixing in fresh-mined nuggets or new gold ingots (easily melted down to look like scrap) into the scrap bag for recycling. Kerstin Laibach is all too aware of these irregularities due to being asked by customers on many occasions to make a piece from gold they have mined themselves, an activity brought about through the increasingly popular pastime of tourist mining (Tourists pay a fee for a few hours gold digging and keep what they find). Kerstin never accept these forms of gold from customers.
Kerstin Laibach always describes the true recycled content of her jewellery, the packaging she uses and where it comes from.

The Eco Trinket Trade

Jewellery perceived as ethical in its bendy wire, seashell and shiny stone guise can often originate from either dilettante or spurious manufactured sources. This doesn't mean that such jewellery is less appreciated because of its simplicity, and some can look aesthetically appealing. But rustic, floaty appearances can often be used as a pretext to call jewellery ethical or eco-friendly when its sourcing and manufacturing methods are far from it. The semiprecious gem / "healing" stones and crystals trinket trade is part of a global market where the subsequent shifting of products, from one grey-import trade supplier to the next, often makes it impossible to trace their true ethical credentials ... if any. This leaves free reign for continual, indiscriminate digging operations in protected forests or disappearing habitats.
We would like to clarify that there is no correlation between such trades and Kerstin Laibach's stringent ethical business model using only surface pebbles which Kerstin gathers herself with no detriment to environment.

"Allergy-free", "Allergy-Safe" or "Hypoallergenic" Jewellery

Some cheap fashion jewellery companies are cashing in on the internet alarmist culture by promoting allergy-safe jewellery, i.e., "nickel free" etc. as if they have developed some kind of magical formula to the problem. Quality jewellery or even cheap fashion jewellery which abides to regulations should not be using precious metals with nickel in the first place. As explained on Kerstin Laibach's Metal Allergies section on her wedding rings pages, plating and other barrier methods are superfluous and nothing can be considered full-proof to eliminating the possibilities of a hypoallergenic reaction. It could be argued that there is no such thing as allergy-free, allergy-safe or hypoallergenic jewellery. Instead, it is a matter of carefully eliminating possible triggers through trial and error. The metabolism of one individual person is different to the next; while one may experience some degree of allergic reaction to an element in jewellery, another may react far more rarely to a different element. Since all jewellery contains a varying combination of elements, even without nickel, it is inevitable that anecdotal evidence by someone somewhere is claiming an allergic response to any one of those elements, even metals in jewellery labelled "allergy-safe". However, this conundrum, which seems impossible to clarify still doesn't deter jewellery industry opportunists cashing in on the contrivance of "hypoallergenic jewellery". It is impossible, and potentially irresponsible, to provide such a blanket solution to a complex metallurgical issue which has been wildly blown out of true context by internet-forum health alarmists.

Our solutions ... The Path of Genuine Ecologically Sustainable Ethical Jewellery.

Kerstin Laibach does not use "ethical" as a loosely contrived distinction within an industry built on the foundations of environmentally questionable practices. Our clear ethical distinction demonstrates that to look amazing, jewellery doesn't actually need to include new-mined gems, new-mined metals or cause any harm or suffering to life. Kerstin Laibach shows that materials and processes which displace or destroy lives and habitats - whether it is the environment or human rights abuse - are surplus to the requirements of chic design and elegance.

Labelling Laibach jewellery as "ethical" and "sustainable" also doesn't mean any compromise in quality. Kerstin strictly quantifies her ethical terms in relation to the accredited profession of goldsmithing, and to do so have adjusted various methods within this skilled trade to ensure a truer ethical status.

Laibach atelier won't overstate eco-friendly goldsmith techniques, which traditionally have always been, then keep any non-green aspects of the process quiet. Kerstin Laibach explains everything that is realistically achievable - treading the most ecologically sound path possible while she makes your piece.

Kerstin Laibach never uses fresh-mined precious metals or stones in her new pieces, and therefore has no reason to justify the use of "Conflict-free" diamonds or newly mined "green", "responsible" or "fair" gold.
Kerstin Laibach will never give greenwash answers to your questions. In the jewellery business the term ethical is grossly undefined and subsequently meaningless. This allows makers and sellers to contrive almost any sourcing or crafting method as "ethical". Atelier Laibach defines ethical as being sustainable; ecologically / environmentally nondestructive as much as it possibly can be. Again, this means no new-mined precious metals or gems.

Since many members of the public are becoming increasingly confused by what defines "ethical" gold (since Fair-trade gold, silver and platinum licensing began), we have to repeat again that Kerstin Laibach does not use "Fair-trade" gold / platinum / silver... which is new-mined ... she only uses recycled precious metals - and to help compensate damage to the environment caused by mining she gives 15% of profits to environment/ wildlife protection and re-naturing projects.

So not to confuse the two, we explain the difference between recycling and fair-trade as concisely as possible:

"RECYCLING" means no more environmental disruption.

"FAIR-TRADE" means socially responsible fair pay.

These are entirely separate ethical issues ... two methods of using precious metals for jewellery at completely different ends of the "ethical" spectrum; one (recycled) being ecologically sustainable and the other (fair-trade) being sociologically remunerative.

We reject ethical embellishment or "spin" such as using the terms "green" or "ecological" gold when describing social improvements in artisanal mining.
The reality is that all raw extraction of stones and metals leave environmental scars and displaces / destroys habitats and complex ecosystems wherever and however it takes place. There is absolutely no process which can genuinely claim to the contrary.

Kerstin Laibach is passionate about providing a genuine earth-friendly service and she clearly explains moral discrepancies to make absolutely sure clients understand her advanced principles. Kerstin makes it her priority to inform you of the exact ecological nature of a Laibach piece and provide clarification of environmental projects which a percentage of its sale will benefit.


However green an ethical jeweller claims their recycling process is or how "fair-trade" their source may be, the only way in which ecological full-proofing can be achieved is if gold and precious stone mining ceases completely. That will never happen because gold is essentially the all-powerful dominant currency which a human world economy is built on, and countries are made richer or poorer by its use as a monetary-based transaction. It's worth noting however that around 55% (and rising) of all gold directly mined is destined for the jewellery industry - not to top up the vaults of national banks. The vanity trade and government holdings are two completely diferent worlds - as far as jewellery is concerned, there is already enough previously mined gold circulating the world, to make and remake jewellery for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It is completely unnecessary to dig up the last remaining vital natural habitats of a planet at tipping-point ... particularly for the sake of vanity.

In the meantime, we will continue to help adjust, readjust and tighten the Laibach principles as a genuine "ethical" metalsmith; an evolving process through which we always aim to expand the boundaries of environmental thinking in the jewellery business.

Copyright Looking-Glass Environmental Arts and Media


Laibach's Ecological Approach to Precious Metals
Profile... About Kerstin Laibach
Defining Laibach's "Real" Slow / Holistic Jewellery Ethic
Laibach Principles front page
Contact and Discuss Your Piece