A UNIQUE ETHOS » LAIBACH PRINCIPLES AND ETHICAL
Unique Principles of Luxury with a Clear Conscience.
which you will find in her pledge below,
are always being fine-tuned to harmonise with the betterment of
Laibach atelier takes a genuinely responsible approach to sustainability
... and with our carbon and environmental "inverted"
targets we are truly dedicated to putting more back into nature
than taking from it. For example, Kerstin harmlessly gathers a
few local stones and makes every aspect of her jewellery pieces
in her atelier with recycled materials and renewable energy. She
then awards fifteen percent of her profits directly to conservation,
wildlife protection and nature restoration projects in the UK
and Europe and land-care eductional and re-training programmes
in developing countries.
Kerstin uses only sustainable gold - this means carefully recycled
gold and other recycled precious metals. She never uses environmentally
disruptive new-mined gold and this also means she does not
use Fairtrade / Fairmined gold either ... which is new-mined.
more on this see here).
is the difference between recycled gold and new-mined gold?
Laibach atelier's goal
to "restore more than remove" may be unusual in the
jewellery profession, but we also hope that all trades will find
ways to adopt a similar approach ... not just marketing jargon,
but sincere action. Being ecologically accountable for every aspect
of a business, i.e. material resources and work practice, not
only helps to minimize carbon and environmental footprints, but
could essentially "back-step" them to help reverse the
damage caused by the exploitation of our world.
Path to Genuine Ecologically Sustainable Ethical Jewellery.
Laibach atelier is
fully aware that jewellery traditionally serves as an aid to personal
desire and has little to do with the protection of our planet.
But what we strive to do is retune aspirations of life's small
luxuries; to consider compassion and conservation as a natural
postscript to bespoke style. We want to show that elegance can
evolve; created by Kerstin in a completely earth-friendly environment
and worn by you ... with a truly clear conscience.
of Compassion and Conservation.
Kerstin Laibach's focus
on compassion mainly refers to the unnecessary harvesting and
killing of living beings to make jewellery ... For the sake of
vanity there is simply no need for it.
Because Kerstin's jewellery is suitable for vegetarians and vegans,
she doesn't use any derivatives from animals in her pieces; neither
parts of the animals themselves like coral, or else pearls extracted
from them. Neither does she use animal derivatives during the
Further reading about Kerstin Laibach's principles on a conservation
/ ecological theme progressively explains why she avoids new-mined
precious metals, diamonds, other newly-extracted gems or any other
form of commercial rock / crystal extraction for use in the jewellery
To read more on this subject see below and also on Laibach's Ethical
Information Menu Page.
Principle of Genuine Hand Crafting.
If you appreciate a
piece of music played entirely by a musician where raw skill and
emotion produces natural nuance and character, then you may value
truly individual goldsmith work as the hand-crafting equivalent
of an inspiring performance.
With the jewellery industry awash with designers who are solely
dependent on design software, factory-made jewellery parts, casting,
plating, plastics and lasers, true heirloom quality professional
goldsmith skills are becoming an unknown entity to the wider public
... with fewer genuine opportunities for them to see and feel
the very distinct and refined difference.
Laibach's crafting principles strictly means: No jewellery design
computer software and subsequent computer aided casting processes
are ever used. Instead, inner-vision, "poetic" imagination
and skilled hands create each unique piece.
An entirely handmade piece by Kerstin Laibach also means no casting
... no plating ... no pre-fabricated parts like factory chains,
clasps and other closing clips.
Ethical Pledge ... Kerstin Laibach Explains her Principles...
For your peace of mind
it is important to know that from conception to the finished piece,
the greenest possible path of creation has been taken. The prime
ethics which underline my principles are laid out without blinding
you with science:
- I don't 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". My principles define
ethical as being sustainable; ecologically / environmentally
nondestructive as much as it possibly can be.
- I use only recycled
gold, platinum, palladium and silver. I do not use
new-mined gold or other new-mined precious metals. (Neither
do I use new-mined gems.) I do not use "Fair-trade"
gold, Fair-trade silver or Fair-trade platinum ... which is
new-mined. Laibach atelier rejects ethical embellishment or
"spin" such as using the terms "green" or "ecological" gold
when describing social improvements in artisanal mining (a
separate "ethical" issue entirely).
The reality is that all raw extraction of stones and metals
leave environmental scars and displaces / destroys habitats
and ecosystems wherever and however it takes place. There
is absolutely no process which can genuinely claim to the
I am passionate about providing a genuine earth-friendly service
and I therefore clearly explain moral discrepancies to make
absolutely sure that my clients understand my principles.
I make it my priority to inform my clients of the exact ecological
nature of my work, including its packaging - and provide clarification
of environmental projects which a percentage of its sales
profits will benefit.
I sincerely hope that my clients appreciate my transparency
and honesty, and I would like to emphasize that I do all that
is possible to make certain that trust in my ethics is fully
- Environmentally damaging
chemicals, common to jewellery making and repair, are replaced
with safer, greener alternatives. (Completely green methods
are always applied as a preferred option whenever possible.)
Because of the slower results when using ecologically safer
ingredients, things take longer but I hope you will find that
the end product is just as beautiful.*****
- I never use new-mined
precious gems, or any type of stone which has been commercially
harvested for my new pieces. I only uses self-gathered surface
stones - approx one hundred each year to ensure no detrimental
impact on the gathering area.
- A cruelty-free environment.
No animal derivatives are used in any aspect of Laibach jewellery
construction and all pieces are suitable for vegans. My specially
obtained polishing pastes are free of animal fat. ****
- Because I only use recycled
precious metals are used in Laibach pieces and never newly-mined
this automatically means they have been recycled without the
use of mercury.
is the difference between recycled gold and new-mined gold?
- I do not plate my jewellery.
more about this on my marriage / relationship pages)
- I specifically
never make jewellery that feels disposable or short-lived.
I hand forge my designs
from the raw metals for durability
and a lifetime of cherished wear. Nothing
is factory cast - even repeatable pieces*****
I strive to ensure that my pieces look and feel as fresh as
the day they were created for generations to come.
- I do not use computer
programs to design my pieces. Therefore I also do not use
such programs to create 3d models for computer-controlled
casting / machine / laser cutting. From concept to final polishing
I draw all my designs by hand and then make the design by
- I hand make chains,
links, clasps and other elaborate fixings on my jewellery
These parts (called "findings") are not sourced from factories.
This is to ensure my clients that every part of my work is,
a) Ethically suitable, b) High goldsmith quality, c) Genuinely
more on this ...)
- I make all Sea Glass
pieces using personally collected sea glass direct from the
beach. I do not buy in sea glass and I never polish, cut or
treat it in any way.
- In my atelier in Germany,
locally produced renewable energy provides the power for all
processes requiring electricity.
- Nothing ever goes to
waste if it can possibly be avoided. Quality tools of the
trade are sourced second-hand whenever possible and my workshop
is full of working-aids innovatively made from reclaimed materials.
- I hand make my own jewellery
presentation pouches using carefully sourced, environmentally
friendly materials. On delivery, if the postage wrapping looks
previously used ... it probably has been.
- Earth to Earth ... VeggieGlobal
and Looking-Glass have created the term called "thrucycling"...
a huge step beyond recycling and upcycling . Thrucycling describes
an item that is made from earth friendly materials and will
not adversly pollute the earth if ever discarded. My jewellery
is "thrucycled" (including any packaging) This means
it is made with recycled materials and elements naturally
derived from the earth. No plastics, hazardous materials or
non-biodegradable parts. At the end of its long life, a Laibach
piece could end up back in the earth without any detriment
to the environment. (The precious metals of course would again
is the difference between recycled gold and new-mined gold?
- Laibach atelier uses
the most environmentally friendly delivery options whenever
- On the rare occasion
that a Laibach piece requires "diamonds" or other gems, I
source only laboratory-created gems*, or else antique
gems sourced from unusable jewellery ***.
- As a soldering and melting
source. I use propane (one of the cleanest burning of all
- Only your jewellery
older than ten years will be bought or credited for recycling.***
- The "Reclaimed" Collection
only includes used precious stones from discarded / recycled
jewellery which is to the best of my knowledge over ten years
old or pre-millenium. ***
- We periodically monitor
our materials suppliers and subsequently their trade links
for any "traceability" irregularities. I am dedicated to ensuring
my clients that, to the very best of our knowledge, we avoid
suppliers who leave us room for doubt about their "eco" credentials
- or whose trade threads may potentially be connected with
environmentally damaging work practices and human rights abuse.
- The Laibach atelier
"re-naturing principle" means rewarding more to
nature than taking from it. For example, selected wildlife,
conservation and re-naturing projects and land-care / retraining
eductional programmes in developing countries receive a donation
from the sale of each Laibach piece (15% of the profit). Therefore,
I focus on projects that assist communities towards vocations
which don't depend on mining but instead work interdependently,
sustainably and ultimately protect their environment; while
most importantly being able to climb out of poverty through
the proceeds of their labour. In countries like Africa and
South America my approach is designed to support whichever
framework provides educational and retraining programmes,
offering non-destructive ways for communities to thrive without
depleting their environment by destroying complex eco-systems
from river to forest. I am of course aware that gold mining
is never going to cease, but do feel that ill-planned "fair
wage" licensing by western consumer-trade organisations,
which only fuels demand for mined gold as opposed to recycled,
is not environmentally acceptable. This is why I feel it is
so important to try and retain / establish a common-sense
approach to ecological /financial stability in third world
regions that are associated with mining. Hence my approach
towards helping subsistence-based communities towards truly
sustainable and environmentally-friendly vocations .... not
dragging them further into the mining vortex.
- My locally gathered
principle is constantly evolving as we endeavor to seek solutions
and permissions to help nature recover through a "returning-more-than-taking"
process. Please see my Locally
for updated information.
Laboratory-made diamonds are created either by HPHT (High Pressure
High Temperature) or CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) These new
technologies signify a breakthrough in growing "real" diamonds,
which are comparable and can proportionally be considered "purer"
than their mined counterparts; being of the same crystalline structure
and optically "almost" identical. Kerstin Laibach never uses new-mined
stones, but on rare occasions she may use their lab-created counterparts
(usually on customer request only). There is a very small carbon
footprint created during "growing", cutting and subsequent
transportation of lab-created stones. Although this is a tiny
percentage in comparison to the huge environmental damage caused
by the extraction, processing and distribution of mined gems,
we take any amount of environmental impact into consideration.
Therefore, relative carbon offsetting is automatically included
in the final cost of your lab-created diamond. Our Co2 offset
contributions are distributed to environmental restoration projects.
** Our on-going
research suggests that propane may in the long-term prove to be
less polluting than micro-flame soldering systems, which use hazardous
Year and Millennium Threshold Principle.
If you are interested in using
the Laibach Redesign and Recycle service please read the Laibach
principle concerning the reuse and reworking of used jewellery
Restoration, Redesign and Recycle, Reclaim.
Based on the global standard definition of veganism, no Laibach
jewellery contains any animal-derivatives. However, we endeavour
to create a work environment which goes a step further. To the
very best of our knowledge and thorough research, our workshop
tools used to construct our pieces do not contain any animal derivatives.
After construction, polishing your piece might raise a moral issue
for a small number of vegan customers. Although all our other
polishing and buffing wheels are made of sisal or cotton - and
we use specially obtained animal fat free polishing paste - there
is an essential goldsmith's preparatory polishing wheel which
contains felt. This specifically prepares the foundation for a
traditional glass finish to larger areas of a completed gold or
silver piece (i.e. ring interiors). There is no direct non-felt
alternative industrially available for this process so instead
we have made our own unique non-felt high-polishing wheel. Kerstin
Laibach is able to cater for the exact ethical polishing needs
of ultra-strict vegans avoiding the use of a felt buff.
more on our Vegan Information Page
Laibach pieces are never factory /
resin cast. Since Kerstin Laibach hand-forges each individual
piece just once, there is normally no reason, even for lost-wax
casting, to make identical repeatable pieces. If for any reason
Kerstin was to cast a piece of jewellery using the lost-wax method
(possibly for experimental or creative reasons) she uses own-sourced
reusable surface sand (not quarried) with organic plant oils and
infinitely reusable non-animal based wax for experimental sculpturing.
After repeated use the sand and wax can always be returned to
the earth without any detriment to the environment. Therefore
Kerstin does not use commercial resin products such as bio-resin
either. Although such resin is sourced from plant materials, the
hardener contains highly hazardous isocyanates. The effects of
this irritant may be blocked when working with the resin, but
the causative agent remains in the non-reusable material, subsequently
becoming an environmental hazard upon disposal.
Very often, even with jewellery making, the best environmental
solution can be to stick to a natural / traditional path with
a few environmental tweaks instead of contrivances misleadingly
marketed as a greener choice.
Environmentally friendly pickling
solutions for treating and cleaning precious metals and are not
something new. Such solutions, with citric acid and vinegar as
their main ingredients, are recipes that have been traditionally
used long before harsh chemical alternatives appeared. With experienced
handling, far better results
can anyway be achieved with naturally eco-friendly recipies than
the commercially available harsh chemical alternatives.
Note for jewellery students: You should however always refer to
your local waste collection authority when disposing of any
spent pickle solutions containing heavy metal residue.
To read more about
Kerstin Laibach's ethics see the Ethical
Information Menu Page.
Laibach's "Real" Slow / Holistic Jewellery Ethic
green ethics of the jewellery trade
metals and our environmental ethics
Laibach's commitment to wildlife and the environment
about Laibach precious metals, your choices and pricing
INFORMATION FROM OUR REPAIR AND RESTORE PAGES ...
and Restore - Extending a Respect for what our Planet has Provided
in the Past