Sustainable Designer: Wing Yau. Brooklyn, New York.
Wing Yau. Fine Jewelry Designer - WWAKE.
Wing in our Sadie double-layered silk slip top
Explore WWAKE here, and read about Wing's trip to Columbia, visiting the Fairmined gold mine she partners with via Vogue:
“We switched our sourcing so we were only working directly with the miners, or with friends who are activists in the colored-gemstone industry,” she explained. “[The problem is that] there aren’t a lot of standards in gemstones. It’s super old-school. The industry is so big that the provenance of the gemstones becomes invisible, because they pass through so many hands. But that can’t survive in this new generation—we’re all looking for more information. People are really asking, ‘Who mined this stone?’ ”..."
...With all of that in mind, Yau has radically changed the way she designs her collections. “We design around the colors of the stones the mines give us,” she explains. “It’s the opposite of saying, ‘I want my collection to include these colors,’ and going to search for stones in those specific shades. That’s really not sustainable in the long run—only 3 percent of the material we unearth is precious gemstone material, and the quality you’re looking for within that 3 percent [for jewelry] is so much less. So it’s made me more conscientious about how we design. We have more limited options, but it becomes a lot more personal, because it connects you directly to the hands of the people who mined that stone. There’s something superluxurious about only a few people touching our jewelry.”
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