Finding ethical / sustainable food, clothing and makeup has gotten easier and easier these days, although when it comes to our bling, it’s unfortunately not the same. I am always looking for dainty, classy jewelry that does not compromise on its chicness and sparkle if ya know what I mean! When I stumbled upon KBH Jewels, I just had to know more and share it with all of you!
The following is my interview with the founder of KBH Jewels, Kimberly Berry Haisch, who is SUCH an inspiration, paving the way for others to follow. I hope you enjoy as much as I did:
Who/what inspired you to start your own jewelry line?
When I started to think about KBH Jewels, I was raising my young children and I reflected on what I was teaching them. What impression was I leaving them with? What were they going to come away with? These were such big questions for me. In the midst of creating this brand, I have thought so much about my parents and the traditions that they instilled in me from the time that I was a little girl. KBH Jewels is really a nod to those traditions.
I wanted to create jewelry that serves as beautiful modern heirlooms, pieces that will be passed down to future generations. It is all about doing something for the world that my children are going to live in and eventually share with their own families. That is tradition and that is part of our legacy. Family, tradition and incorporating circular practices and sustainable materials are at the heart of everything we do. They are the threads that are embedded into the fabric of our story.
The jewelry that KBH produces is made from 14K recycled and reclaimed gold, and paired with 100% conflict-free diamonds that are cultivated in greenhouses, not mined from the earth. Everything that KBH produces, supplies and ships – from jewelry to packaging – is sourced from ethical, sustainable and reclaimed methods.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory, “metal mining is the nation’s #1 toxic polluter” and Earthworks states that mining is the biggest polluter in the USA, contributing to arsenic, mercury, and lead pollution. Gold is one of earth’s natural renewable resource that can be recycled without any quality degradation; so why are we mining for more?
It is also estimated that upwards of 1700 tons of soil is disrupted and displaced to mine for 1 carat worth of diamond. That is equal to roughly 10 Manhattan city blocks and in addition to other devastating social and environmental factors that are a part of the diamond mining industry. The FTC ruled that diamonds can now be grown with the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as mined diamonds. We want consumers to know that there is another sustainable option in fine jewelry.
How do you maintain a transparent approach with your brand/company?
Jewelry, as a symbol of love, should also apply to the manner in which it is made. At KBH, we didn’t want to categorize our brand as sustainable just because we only use cultivated diamonds and reclaimed gold. From product to packaging, everything is sourced from ethical, sustainable, and reclaimed methods. Every choice is a conscious choice.
Our consumer believes that sustainable materials and modern luxury are one in the same. They care about how the piece was made and where the materials were sourced from. KBH Jewels hopes to fill that void in the market.
What is the toughest obstacle you had to get through while creating an ethical/sustainable company?
There is a quote that has resonated with me a lot while creating KBH, “Don’t do nothing, just because you can’t do everything.”
We try to have circular practices in everything we do, but the truth is, it is not yet an option when it comes to every facet of our daily business. We are consistently challenged with digging deeper, asking questions and researching ways to do things differently. This requires creative thinking and a lot of research, but it really makes the endgame much more rewarding.
Where does your jewelry design inspiration come from?
Family and tradition are at the heart of everything we do. Two key ideas that we founded the brand on were the Latin roots for tradition and sustainability. “Traditio” means to “pass on for safekeeping” and “sustinere” means “to endure.” To us, those two things are one in the same.
Our pieces, like the Wave Ring or the Wonder Women Ring, are inspired by the strong women in our life that do it all- they are moms, daughters, sisters, wives, professionals, friends, protectors. We want our jewelry to make these women feel even more empowered than they already are.
We also want to offer women a sustainable option for everyday essentials, like diamonds-by-the-yard, stackable rings, or a great pair of hoops.
What is the first piece of jewelry you remember owning?
There are so many pieces; it’s hard to pick just one. From the time that I was a little girl, my mother always marked occasions with jewelry. I have saved so many of those pieces for my daughter because I understood, at that young age how meaningful it was to receive these gifts. I remember one Christmas where she gave all the women in our family a bracelet that interlocked to symbolize that our family would always be together. Every time we looked down at our wrists, we were reminded of each other. There were pieces before that and pieces after, but what they all had in common were the family values and togetherness they represented.
What is the one piece of jewelry you can’t live without?
The jewelry in my family is all about tradition – full of memories passed down from one generation to the next. My Mom and Dad bought me a sapphire ring from an estate sale and gifted it to me for my 21st birthday at a lunch in the Hamptons. Two days later, we lost my dad on September 11th. That one piece encompasses so much for me – my father’s part in buying it, my parent’s love for me, and of course the idea that this ring could have served as an heirloom for someone else and was now forever a part of my family’s history. Of course, I also need to mention my engagement ring from my husband which is a favorite piece of mine and is now constantly paired with my KBH pieces. To me, that’s what it is all about – pairing the old with the new and mixing traditional pieces with modern luxury.
What is in store in the near future of KBH Jewels?
Our belief is that modern luxury should only be sustainable luxury. Jewelry should be beautiful, aspirational, covetable, and lifelong. But – it should also be sustainable, thoughtful, and innovative where possible. This is modern luxury.
The focus is on what we are doing, what we are buying, and how that affects the world. I hope the future of KBH Jewels is one that educates people and inspires them to make small changes that are going to have a big impact on the world around us.