Posted By: Katherine Price
The environmental movement can be a depressing area to work within, there are small victories but in the grand scheme of things it is very heavy. Some of my favorite stories involve people transforming themselves, especially when the metamorphosis is based on obtaining new knowledge. It takes a strong person to adapt from one way of thinking to another. Long time jewelry designer, Susan Crow learned about the significant impact that creating jewelry and accessories can have on our planet. Susan then morphed herself into one of the Twin Cities’ most eco-friendly designers of jewelry. Working with Sol Inspirations has blessed me with the opportunity to meet so many great people, one of the ladies I have spent the most time with is Susan Crow. Susan is a driven woman whom I am thankful to know.
Something I always find myself asking environmental entrepreneurs is, where their passion stems from? With Susan it was refreshing to learn that she was simply moved by learning about the issues. All too often people are aware of negative consequence and they continue the offense because it is the easiest route. Thank goodness we have people like Susan in this world!
KP: What was the inspiration for this new brand?
SC: While in the program (Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Sustainable Design at MCAD) I learned that jewelry has one of the highest environmental footprints of all products. I decided that I could not keep making jewelry the traditional way. East Fourth Street jewelry is the sustainable re-launch of my jewelry.
KP: What are the aspects of your design process that make your jewelry environmentally conscious?
SC: Traditional metal-smithing uses toxic chemicals and processes that attribute to the high environmental impact associated with jewelry as well as the huge impacts from mining excavation. Sustainable jewelry is more than just using recycled metals and gemstones, it also means creating a closed loop system in the beginning of the design phase that analyzes everything from suppliers, electrical use, chemicals to waste stream. It also addresses the ethical issues surrounding the poor treatment of gold and gemstone miners which helps direct supply chains.
KP: I know you use recycled metals and conflict free stones, where do you source your materials?
SC: I buy most of my metal from Hoover and Strong who sells only certified recycled gold and silver. I also re-use my customer’s metal, creating something new for them. Presently I am only selling previously used diamonds and gemstones because of the very bad political and ethical problems surrounding the mining and cutting of stones.
SC: It became a passion by my learning about the environmental and ethical problems in the world and not wanting to contribute to them. Every product has an environmental footprint, but there are many things we can do to reduce it. Now that I know what I can change to lower the footprint of the products I design and make, it’s exciting.
KP: Are there any environmental issues that you are more passionate about than others?
SC: My blog; “The Metamorphosis” is about change. As more people become aware of the workers strife in gold and gemstone mines as well as the environmental destruction that mining creates, they will be empowered to support companies that are instigating change. I wrote the phrase; “conscious convergence of small actions” which means if we all commit to small positive actions to drive sustainability, our small actions will blend together to create a shift towards good. This is what I am passionate about; positive change.
KP: How do you incorporate environmental awareness in the rest of your daily life?
SC: There are a lot of little things we do that actually add up. Such as composting, driving as little as possible, only buying products that have as low of a footprint as possible and keeping our electronics unplugged when not in use. If you look around your house, it’s amazing how much waste we all generate. I also try to live life mindfully, thinking about the far-reaching impact and consequence my everyday actions have on our environment.
Recently something extraordinary happened to East Fourth Street, Susan was invited to be a part of a “green” fashion show at NYC Fashion Week. This was an incredible opportunity for Susan to extent the awareness of her brand. Crow’s line of jewelry is definitely one to keep an eye on, they have pieces for a variety of occasions and styles. I urge you to check out the East Fourth Street Website.
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