What does that really mean?
I'm obsessed with jewelry, and serious about making it in more responsible ways.
My dream is to create 100% ethical jewelry.
This means free of mercury, without endangering our forests and wildlife, all while supporting artisanal miners and makers.
Not just our jewelry. But all jewelry, worldwide.
This dream unfolds as a journey to transform our supply chains for gold, gemstones and diamonds. Together, we get to know all the wonderful people involved in making your dream jewelry.
It’s my end–to-end promise that the jewelry you so dearly love, is also a way for you to show your love for everything around you.
Take my word that at Gardens of the Sun, you can shop guilt-free.
- Founder of Gardens of the Sun
Connection | Goodwill| Transparency| Self Love| Impact
Gardens of the Sun is a women-owned jewelry business that empowers like-minded people to become part of a real, positive movement. We play by the following five rules.
We make jewelry – that in itself means what we make becomes mementos, living objects, stories, and bridges between people.
Jewelry is a personal keepsake that binds people together with a loved one, a never-forgotten one, the one that got away. With themselves.
Through our work, we want to make meaningful connections between all actors in the chain. From miners and cutters to metalsmiths and marketing managers, and to our beloved clients. You are invariably linked to the very woman who panned the gold from a riverbank in Kalimantan.
Jewelry is built on connections. Ours especially.
We believe in being honest about our impact and our journey towards our mission. We'll never be quite perfect, and always striving to do better.
We stand behind the origin of our raw materials and the way our jewelry is made.
Your trust isn’t something we take lightly.
We believe in giving back because we've discovered this is the rule to a good life.
Giving back to the people in our supply chain through fair pay, capacity-building funds, and health and safety assurance.
Giving back to the environment by planting trees and protecting the environment from unnecessary damages, such as mercury pollution.
Giving back to our community by fostering a two-way communication line and thoughtful customer care.
In the end, we're not really giving anything away. We're merely returning what we’ve been given, in manifold.
What you do has an impact.
What that impact is - that’s up to you.
We’re here to interrupt, gently. To transform a destructive impact into a positive kick. The kind that changes the lives of those we work with.
When we challenge the status quo and show that it’s possible to make jewelry in a different way, we believe more people will follow.
Through our jewelry, we invite you to join us and make a difference.
We write poetry because this is how one makes love to oneself.
Do not cover your wins with fallen leaves.
Do not disguise your masterpieces in ordinary clothes.
Do not camouflage the phenomenon that is you, just because the world chooses to turn down miracles.
The truth is you cannot live a lie, or run away from sunshine, no matter how hard you try.
This magnificent explosion that is your life was always meant to take your breath away.
The ethical jewelry brand Gardens of the Sun is an extension of our founder Meri’s mission to help indigenous women have more chances in life. We do this by giving them higher prices, offer education about less damaging ways to mine precious metals and gemstones, and funding the reforestation of ex-mining sites.
Our recipe for ethical jewelry is based on 4 sourcing principles. We believe that all jewelry businesses should apply these four principles:
We could have chosen the easy way. We could have just said “our jewelry is 100% ethical, pinkie promise”.
We could have bought Fairmined eco-gold, and stones from areas where mercury pollution, corruption and human rights abuses aren't rampant.
But we didn’t. Why?
Because absolutely nothing would have changed for the millions of artisanal miners in countries like Indonesia.
Looking the other way isn’t our thing. We’re deliberately staying in Indonesia, working where mercury pollution is the worst, and where diamonds and sapphires are mined solely by artisanal miners.
That's where the miners need us most.
We don’t just buy diamonds from the big pile. We know the origin (at least at country level) for every single stone we've purchased since November 2018. That includes diamonds.
We meet the miners and work with independent cutters, when we can.
Think long-term and think change. The best isn’t good enough, we want continuous improvement.
Change starts in our supply chain. We believe in paying a price that doesn’t keep the poor poor. All of us deserve a living wage and healthy working conditions.
We lead by example to encourage other miners to switch to low impact mining too.
We only buy gold where no mercury or cyanide is used. Traditional techniques like gold panning have a much lower impact on the environment than more industrial methods.
"It takes many hands to make a piece of jewelry. We're going to touch the lives behind every pair of hands."
- Meri Geraldine
Ethical Gold | Recycled Silver | Artisanal Diamonds | Indigenous Sapphires
We believe that a good start will result in goodness, all the way through. And we start with the materials.
Most gold on the market is mined by artisanal miners. Often, this metal is embedded in solid rocks, a hide-and-seek away. Mercury is the cheapest and easiest way to separate the gold from the hard rock.
Mercury pollution is the number one problem in artisanal gold mining. It's huge. We’re talking thousands of metric tons, the same weight as all the rhinos left in this world. Except for the rhinos are going extinct, and the mercury is released into our environment, forever.
From there it keeps circulating between the soil, plants, animals and people. Even in small amounts, exposure to mercury causes still-births and birth defects.
This doesn't have to be.It's possible to mine gold in a way that doesn't kill the planet and directly benefits indigenous people. This isn't fiction or fantasy. It's how we can change the lives of entire communities dependent on gold mining for their livelihoods.
Gardens of the Sun raises the bar and shows the world that jewelry can be made differently: in terms of style, packaging and the way we treat our supply chain. We’ve connected with a group of indigenous women and asked them to replace toxic mercury and cyanide with cleaner techniques. In exchange, we gave them access to finance and premiums that others declare us crazy for.
Alone, we make mercury-free jewelry. But together, we make all jewelry mercury-free.
So we ask you to join us. Choose ethical jewelry and share our story, so mercury-free gold jewelry becomes the new normal.
As of September 2020, all our silver jewelry uses recycled silver. This silver is imported from the precious metal refiner Umicore. This refiner has been listed as Conflict Free Smelter by the Responsible Minerals Initiative, is ISO9001 (for operational processes), ISO14001 (environmental commitment) and ISO45001 (safe and healthy environment for its workers) certified, Chain-of-Custody certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council and complies with the LBMA Responsible Ag Guidance.
We're well aware that using recycled silver doesn't actually change anything in the silver supply chain. The Indonesian legal system makes it extremely complex to purchase silver extracted by artisanal miners without mercury and cyanide. At the moment, the absolute best we can do is to use recycled silver. Until we find a way to overcome the obstacles and support artisanal miners to mine silver in an environmentally responsible way.
If you can help, please do get in touch.
The diamond industry is ruled by a select, untouchable few – mostly men.
Artisanal miners are struggling. The Kimberley Process – meant to stop the trade of blood diamonds – effectively outplays the small people. This is because the certificates are only issued for large, industrial mines. Artisanal miners can't easily obtain a certificate and hence, they can't sell their diamonds. Through this murky process, the Kimberley Process Certificate makes these rich men richer, and the poor poorer. We won't accept that.
We want our jewelry to make a difference in the live of the people who make our jewelry possible. So we buy at fair prices, as closely to the source as possible.
We’re at the very start of a partnership with an indigenous community that has found sapphires along their rivers and creeks. We’re invested in turning this partnership into a long-term livelihood for 42 miners in two villages.
These sapphires are now available in our Borneo Gems collection!
Giving Back |Tree Planting|Packaging |Office Culture
For every purchase filled with love, we send love back to Mother Earth. Our vision of jewelry that not only makes you feel good, but also does its best to be good, isn’t possible without the support of our incredible community of experts and artisans.
We believe that a business can only grow as much as the people behind grow. So we empower our employees and suppliers to grow and spark change too.
Twice a year, our team designs a one of a kind collection of jewelry for a good cause. 100% of the proceeds will go to a charity of our choice.
Aside from that, we also donate when we feel called upon.
In 2018 we donated $8,072.58 to causes we believe, and another $3,781.86 in 2019. In 2020, we've made donations to an orphanage, a gentle birthing clinic and bought hundreds of watermelons from local farmers to give to people affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.
Have any suggestions? Do send us an email.
For every purchase of a Gardens of the Sun piece we plant five trees in Biak Island.
Through the Eden Reforestation Project, your purchase employs local communities in reforesting their land. This targets one of the leading causes of deforestation, gives jobs to thousands of local villagers, and creates a connection between the local community and its recovering environment.
Not only that, your sigh of pleasure at wearing your jewelry is complemented by a sigh of relief from Mother Earth, forging a connection that will last years and decades into the future.
The sparkling sea, the strong roots of mangroves and lush forests paint a vivid picture of Biak Island, Papua. Resting on Indonesia’s furthest Eastern point, she’s teeming with life and wonder. Under her canopies of greenery she keeps safe the largest number of endemic bird species in Indonesia. The Black-winged Lory and Victoria Crowned Pigeon which sweep bright colors across the skies, while reptiles and amphibians roam the lands.
But paradise was almost lost in 1996 when a duo of natural disasters struck the peaceful island. On February 17th, 1996, the coastal communities of Biak Island were hit by a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 8.2, and a follow-up tsunami that reached 7 meters (23 feet) high.
Mangrove estuaries which protect the earth, preventing bare soil from washing away into the sea, were destroyed. While recovering from these disasters, the island has been challenged by deforestation, illegal logging, and the growing expansion of monoculture oil palm plantations.
Your Gardens of the Sun jewelry comes gift wrapped in beautiful, recycled packaging, lovingly hand-crafted by Banana Paper Bandung. This is a community enterprise in Bandung, West Java, that makes paper from banana stems.
Banana stems produce fruit only once. After harvesting the fruit, farmers cut the banana stems so new plants can grow. These stems become waste that’s usually composted after harvesting, but their high cellulose content makes it a great source for paper.
Each ton of banana paper made saves between 15 and 20 trees. It also uses less energy and water than the normal paper industry, so there’s less environmental pollution and less post-consumer waste.
Our packaging isn’t just more sustainable. Our clients have told us it feels like getting a special gift from a dear friend.
In our little Balinese studio, we employ 19 people. When we moved in, our premises were blessed by a Balinese high priest. In the summer of 2019, we expanded and built an additional photography studio. This room was again blessed by a high priest.
And we take care of our little paradise together. We fill it with good vibes, the playful wrestling between our foster puppies, the daily incense and offerings to the unseen spirits.
Every single one of us receives fair pay, a generous maternity or paternity leave, health insurance, a training budget, a weekly vegetarian office lunch, free yoga sessions in our dedicated yoga studio, volunteer days to contribute to a cause we care about, and continued pay when we're ill. Ah, and the free jewelry is a nice perk too!
We always have a choice.
From the women of Borneo, to a cluster of artists in Yogyakarta, a young man in Bandung with a vision, to a Dutch girl in Bali who loves designing jewelry and then to thoughtful people like you... We all have a choice to make smart decisions and become aware of their impact on the world.
It only takes one person to make a difference, but a community to change the world.In the end, you decide.
The more people choose ethical jewelry...
The more people demand to know exactly where the metal, diamonds and gemstones in their jewelry came from...
The more people share our story...
...The sooner ethical jewelry becomes the new normal.
We invite our clients and fellow jewelers and designers to join the cause. You’ll be doing a whole lot more than just purchasing jewelry.
Crazy about jewelry. Serious about doing it ethical.