Sustainable jewelry - an interview with Dagmar Kraemer

With recycled materials, certified production and a repair service to halt the throwaway mentality. The fejn jewelry founder explains:

fejn jewelry is sustainable and manufactured under fair and environmentally friendly conditions. So far, sogeneric! What does that actually mean in a time when many brands are using the sustainability stamp on their products? What exactly does this mean? In this interview, founder and managing director Dagmar reveals what is important to her at fejn jewelry and explains how to recognize fair labels. Let’s get started! 

Dear Dagmar, sustainability is somehow a buzzword. What is really important when it comes to sustainable jewelry?

Yes, suddenly everything is sustainable. I see more and more "fair" and"sustainable" stickers even on products by cheap jewelry chains. And then I ask myself how that is even possible - But that's another topic(laughs). For us at fejn, sustainability begins with the procurement of resources. We rely on recycled precious metals - there is enough gold, silverand such in the world. No one has to mine the raw material we use under adverse conditions in a mine or anywhere else. We also use gems from the lab. Contraryto the assumption of some people, they are just as high in quality as well asbeing cruelty-free. Anyone who has ever heard anything about blood diamonds knows that mining them is often extremely inhumane

»We meet more than just the minimum requirements - as an entrepreneur, that is important to me.«

Jewelry label founderDagmar Kraemer in an interview about fair jewelry with a good ecological balance

Okay and then the sustainable materials are used to produce the jewelry. Is it possible to do this in a sustainable way?

Absolutely! Incidentally, our entire value chain is designed to be socially and environmentally well -balanced and is therefore sustainable and fair. We design in Cologne and then produce exclusively with certified partners in Thailand and some selected pieces are produced in Germany. Only partners who pursue an ethical, socially and environmentally compatible and human rights-compliant corporate policy are certified. This is also important to me personally. It is a lot of fun to promote the idea of​​sustainability together with my partners in Thailand - where, by the way, the gold and silversmith's craft has a long cultural tradition. For example,together we look for sources for recycled or compostable materials, or new ideas on how to make production more environmentally friendly. Here in Germany we have come a long way already, but the planet can only be saved if the whole world rethinks. Unfortunately, many people still have the idea that production abroad cannot be sustainable. I, as well as other big fair fashion labels see this very differently: environmental awareness and sustainability have no regional borders, on the contrary! Incidentally, we also design all transport routes to be climate-neutral, both from production as well as to our customers.

And how do things continue in Germany?

With the same ambition, of course. At the same time, we don't want to dictate anything to anyone. I really want to emphasize that again. That's why we offer zero-waste shipping. Our customers can indicate whether jewelry should be individually packaged when ordering several pieces of jewelry... or not. In addition, as a company for every incoming order we also donate one euro to Plant my tree. The organization is committed to climate protection.All pieces of jewelry are also shipped climate-neutrally. If the jewelry is a gift, reusable gift packaging can be purchased. These so-called Furoshikis come from an incredibly great Fairtrade production in India.

What about plastic? Can you do without it?

Not completely. But if we do use plastic, we use compostable plastic. However, our jewelry packaging is already plastic-free. It is made out of FSC-certified paper and Eco Cotton. In general, however, we try not to use plastic and that works great in many areas!

How does your environmental awarenessbecome clear when dealing with customers – and: do they see the topic in asimilar way, or do they have a similar attitude?

Most customers have a similar awareness, yes. This is precisely why many choose jewelry from fejn. That always makes me particularly happy! I also try to pass on a bit of knowledge here and there. We also point out our repair service both online and in person in the store. If something breaks, we'll take care of it.

I really don't like the throwaway mentality many people have. Even if something is really unfixable, we melt down the raw material again and a new cycle begins. That's what I love about my materials and many customers see it that way too.

Why is the term sustainability used insuch an inflationary way? Is there actually a label or seal for the jewelry industry that consumers can trust?

No, unfortunately not. That is also partof the problem. Basically every brand can claim to be “sustainable”. That iswhy I always recommend checking the manufacturer's website. Here you can find clear answers concerning manufacturing, procurement and othertopics. And then you can decide for yourself if it is up to your standard.

At fejn, we meet more than just theminimum requirements - as an entrepreneur, that is important to me. Even thefurnishing of the store is sustainable thanks to vintage furniture - and wealso use green electricity. Of course, my customers have to be informed aboutthings like that - for example through this interview (laughs).

Thank you for the interview! We have learned a lot!

You're very welcome!