Oh 2019! What a wild year you’ve been. I’m from The Netherlands, where people speak Dutch. The Dutch word ontwikkeling comes to mind when thinking how 2019 unfolded itself. It translates as development. More literally, it means the process of unwrapping something.
Growth doesn't always mean getting bigger. I love how the Dutch word envelopes the shedding and unraveling that reveals a strength within. Like peeling layer by layer for growth. Rather than expanding, it’s a process of refining or reducing to the quintessence. It’s one of those words that I grew up just knowing, but it’s taken me a lifetime to understand it. Ontwikkelingfeels especially apt in relation to the ups and downs we experienced as a team.
This year, I got further down to the core of Gardens of the Sun. The values that matter to me and the path I want to follow. Or more precisely, the path that I'm laying out, as very little of what we do follows the beaten path.
My absolute highlights of 2019:
We now offer ethical gold that I fully stand behind. I promise you that the gold we work with does no harm to the environment and its people. I promise that instead, it promotes the betterment of existing conditions. You can read our ethical gold promise here.
We planted 11,760 mangrove trees on Biak island in Indonesia. We did this through our partner Eden Reforestation Projects. This is part of our commitment to plant 5 trees for every piece of jewelry our clients buy.
I got to share our journey to more responsible jewelry. I spoke at the Responsible Jewelry Conference in Chicago and several events in Indonesia. It’s been an honor to inspire others with our journey.
We did our first ever exhibition, showcasing how we work with artisanal and indigenous miners. This exhibition was held in Ubud, Bali, together with the social enterprise Handep Haruei.
We implemented the new sourcing policy that we wrote in 2018. We only purchased gemstones and diamonds from known origin.
We got to make 130 custom engagement rings and 76 wedding bands for over happy couples worldwide. That’s over 100 gorgeous stories we were given the privilege to be a part of.
If you’re reading this, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m so grateful for your support. I'm so humbled that you let the small tokens we make become a part of your everyday life.
I don't take that lightly. In fact, quite the opposite. A client recently told me that the sapphire ring she got herself is by far the most meaningful and strength-giving talisman she's ever had. It was a compliment that lifted me up for the rest of the day, and continues to do so.
I didn't start designing jewelry to impress others. It started as a creative outlet, for me. As life happened and I searched for more meaning, it turned into more. A vehicle to change the way we create and the impact that a business can have. From making a difference for myself, Gardens of the Sun became my outer purpose: to change the lives of the people in our supply chain. Unintentionally, this radiated to our clients. They feel a healing vibe that comes from our jewelry, and from the energy that went into making it.
So thank you again. Your support gives me the confidence to keep doing better, day in and day out.
I’m so excited about what’s to come. Even though I have no idea of what that will be exactly, something tells me that it’ll be epic.
Here's to the new decade!
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