We’ve all heard that diamonds are a girl’s best friend – but in the name of sustainability, lab-grown gemstones are probably more deserving of BFF status these days!
That’s one of the reasons why we love Sachelle Collective, a homegrown jewellery label that focuses on eco-conscious practices, using ethical materials like recycled brass and lab-grown cubic zirconia in their timelessly elegant pieces.
For this week’s ‘8Shades Of’, we’re chatting to Sarah Chan and Michelle Chen, co-founders of Sachelle Collective, to find out their favourite eco brands, how using sustainable materials affects their designs and why lab-grown gemstones are just as good as traditional jewels.
1. In one sentence, tell us what you do?
We are the co-founders of Sachelle Collective, an eco-conscious indie jewellery label that is minimalist in nature and made with conscious and honest materials.
2. Why are you 8Shaders?
Our first real encounter with sustainability was after learning the concept of slow living and conscious consumption through a friend who is a mindfulness coach. This definitely shifted our mindset as individuals and influenced the way we conduct our business.
3. What’s your best eco habit – and your guilty not-so green one?
This might seem a no-brainer if you lived in other countries, but we recycle waste diligently in both our households here; we bring all our plastic, paper and glass waste to our neighbourhood Green@Community recycling stores in Sai Ying Pun and Tin Hau. Small habits like carrying our own tumblers and salad boxes and limiting single-use plastics are things we keep in mind daily too.
As for not-so-green, we’re super guilty of this but we do enjoy the air-conditioning in summer when Hong Kong’s heat and humidity are unbearable!
4. Fave eco products and brands?
During lockdown, both of us basically lived in our organic cotton loungewear from MATE, which is a Climate Neutral Certified brand. Another favourite is PortsPURE, who we recently partnered with; they’re a sustainable sister line of PORTS 1961 and utilise mostly organic and recycled materials in their contemporary designs.
Michelle has also been loving the Dieux Forever Eye Mask, which is a reusable silicone mask that helps your eye serum penetrate your skin. It’s affordable and sustainable, as it can replace one-time-use paper eye masks.
5. Fave veggie dishes in Hong Kong?
You can catch us almost every day grabbing a green salad bowl at Monsieur Chatté in Sheung Wan, where they offer plentiful green choices. Tip: if you bring your own reusable container, you can get one additional topping free!
6. What are the most challenging aspects of developing a sustainable and ethical jewellery line? In what ways do you incorporate sustainability and are there more eco initiatives you’re hoping to introduce in future?
The main challenges in developing a sustainable jewellery line are sourcing traceable materials and vendors for our designs and dealing with a hefty price tag on our production costs.
Our goal is to minimise wastage, so we have to produce everything in small batches, which can be extremely costly. More importantly, as not every source is traceable, we are limited to fewer options by only using ethical materials – this might result in us changing our designs a few times before final production.
Aside from using ethical materials, we go the extra mile to make our customer’s shopping experience sustainable from start to end. We’re proud to integrate eco-friendly packaging such as soy-ink printed labels, decomposable mailers made of corn and recycled jewellery boxes, which are kinder to the environment.
Sustainability is an ongoing journey, and we continue striving to better our processes as a small business! In the near future, we hope to use 100 per cent recyclable materials throughout our packing process and offset our carbon emissions by supporting environmental initiatives, such as 1% for the Planet.
7. What is one thing about sustainable jewellery that you think more people should know about?
One common misconception is that lab-made gemstones are “inferior” to natural gemstones since they are more affordable – this is not true! Lab-made gemstones are grown in labs and are chemically, physically and optically identical to natural gemstones, but with a much lower carbon footprint. They don’t cause the same level of damage as natural mining, which can contaminate water sources and destroy natural ecosystems, as well as result in human rights violations.
8. What shade of green are you and why?
We’d like to believe that we are light green – there is still so much for us to commit to as both individuals and a business, towards achieving sustainability and a better planet for all.
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