My ethical jewellery journey – Part I

In 2019 I participated in the business incubator ‘Setting Out’ at the Goldsmiths’ Centre to develop my practice further. As part of the course, I reevaluated everything about my brand. Part of this evaluation was thinking about my choices in jewellery making, how to build an ethical jewellery brand. It’s important to me to have ethics at the core of my jewellery business and to give my customers the chance to feel good about their choices when buying jewellery.

When I designed and made my new collections I wanted them to be ethical and socially responsible while kind to the planet. There are a lot of decisions to make and I knew this wasn’t going to be a change that happened overnight. Being as transparent as I can be about where my work is from was a first step to reaching these goals, which is why I’m writing this blog post.

Judith Peterhoff at bench making ethical jewellery

In House production

As a small independent business, I craft all my work in my studio at Cockpit Arts, a social enterprise. My studio space being a social enterprise means that the rent I pay helps other creative businesses thrive too. 

Due to my work being designed in CAD (Computer Aided Design), I use a trusted casting company in the UK to help me produce my pieces. Therefore there are no big factories involved and nothing is mass-produced. I know that my casting metal is 100% recycled.

Having control over the supply chain of my work consequently gives me a great starting point to make better choices and make a change. Small batch production and minimising waste are important to me and always will be.

Material choices

Recycled metal

I craft my work with recycled metals, minimising the amount of metal being dug out of the earth. Growing up in Germany I’ve always been encouraged to recycle therefore this was a natural step for me. I’m working on sourcing my findings, chains, and packaging from recycled materials as well to minimise my impact on the environment even more.

Fair-trade metal

Being ethical and sustainable isn’t about the earth alone, it’s also about taking care of the people that live on it. As a Fairtrade Foundation registered jeweller I have the opportunity to offer fair-trade metals to my customers. I believe that if we use newly mined materials, then we should use fairly traded metals wherever possible. Paying the small-scale miners a decent wage and supporting the local communities. This is an excellent option for bespoke commissions to make a truly special and unique piece with a difference.


I handpick every gemstone myself for my creations. This allows me to work with suppliers that adhere to the same ethical principles as I do. I work closely with several suppliers who can source responsibly mined and traceable stones from around the world. I work with diamond dealers who source their diamonds from non-conflict areas. In addition to that I’m pleased to now be able to offer Canada Mark diamonds. 

As mentioned before, this is a work in progress. Nobody is perfect and that surely includes me. It’s important to keep trying and be better and together we will get there in the end. As one, we can make an impact and make change happen!

It can be confusing at times and very difficult to decide the right direction to go in. This includes admitting that sometimes it’s difficult and impossible to have all the answers and make tough choices based on what we know. I’m continuously working on bettering my practice therefore I called this blog post part 1. More development will follow and I will keep you up to date along the way.

If you have any questions about my work, my ethical jewellery journey, or the material it’s made from or just want to say hi, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I’m always happy to have a chat.