As promised, I wanted to create a little behind the scenes style post with some further information on everything that went into The Prettiest Star collection. Just incase any of you were interested in the ethical practices, and some more details about how the collection was put together in general. This being my first design collaboration, a lot of this I learnt as we went along, and they are definitely practices that I want to adopt in other areas of my life. It’s so important to try and be more mindful about the way we consume and create, and little changes go a very long way…
Ethical Practices | The Prettiest Star collection
Mikaela creates pieces of jewellery to be cherished, future heirlooms to pass onto your loved ones that last a lifetime and more. Not to be replaced or thrown away with seasonal trends.
She follows the principles of the Slow Fashion Movement, representing all things, eco, ethical and green. She hand makes every piece in her workshop in Birmingham.
She uses local suppliers that also follow ethical and practices and use sustainable materials.
‘The Prettiest Star’ collection is made from solid sterling silver and plated in a thick layer of 18ct ethically mined gold. Where possible all silver castings are made using recycled grain.
Every piece comes packaged in a 100% cotton pouch from a UK company who use fair trade cotton from a sustainable source. The pouch will also biodegrade completely and is hand silkscreen printed with non-toxic water based ink. The pouch comes in a box which is made using eco-friendly methods and is fully recyclable.
Every piece is stamped with Mikaela’s unique makers hallmark and includes a date letter representing the year it was made. A handwritten hallmark card explaining the marks accompanies every piece. Truly a future heirloom.
A LITTLE INTERVIEW WITH MIKAELA LYONS
What inspired you to start an ethical business?
It was so important to me when I set up my business that everything I did was as ethical and eco friendly as possible. I have never been a fan of buying cheap, throw away fashion jewellery. I’m more interested in old things, charity shopping, and vintage finds – all of which have been a big influence in my work. From the offset I wanted to align myself with the ‘Slow Fashion Movement’, representing all things eco, ethical, and green. I wanted to make quality jewellery, future heirlooms to pass onto your loved ones that last a lifetime and more. Not to be replaced or thrown away with the arrival of seasonal trends.
Where are your pieces made?
I hand-make every piece of jewellery from my workshop in Birmingham. It was really important to me that I used local suppliers to buy the materials that I use, most of which are based in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter (which is also where I studied at ‘The Jewellery School’). By using local suppliers, it means that I don’t have to carry huge amounts of materials or stock – I can work on an almost ‘made to order basis’. I only buy what I need, and this allows me to cut down on any potential waste, whilst also meaning that my jewellery isn’t creating a huge carbon footprint.
My gold plater is also based in the Jewellery Quarter, and the mining company that they buy their gold from follows ethical standards of practice. They have safe working conditions, rights, and labor standards for employees. They ensure projects do not force communities off their land, and are not located in armed or military conflicted areas. There is also no dumping of waste into the ocean, rivers, lakes or streams – they ensure their projects are not located in protected areas, fragile ecosystems, or other areas of high conservation or ecological value.
What else stands out about the pieces you create?
All of my pieces are stamped for authenticity at Birmingham’s Assay Office with my unique makers hallmark and a date letter representing the year it was made. A handwritten hallmark card explaining the marks accompanies every piece. Something that I hope people keep, and in years to come it will explain the origin of the piece…
Tell us more about the packaging…
Not only was it important to me that my jewellery was ethically made, I also wanted my packaging to carry the same ethos. I wanted everything to have as little environmental impact as possible, whilst still being beautiful and meaningfully packaged. Every element is sourced from various UK companies that follow eco principles. The pouch that each piece comes in is made from fair trade 100% cotton from a sustainable source, and is hand silkscreen printed with non-toxic water based ink. The outer box is made from eco friendly paper and is recyclable.
Any final words of inspiration for other independent brands trying to be more ethical?
I am a small independent business and plan to keep it that way – I want to keep things simple, and always strive to find ways to improve, learn how I can do things better, and create less waste. I want to create with value and longevity. I have always struggled with my creative side, and felt that I wasn’t really doing much in the way of helping people or the world. Now I feel content that I am doing the best that I can to create something meaningful, something to make my little boy proud of his ‘Muma’.
I hope this post offers a bit more insight into the collection, and that you like what was born from the above photographs. A very special thank you to everyone who has purchased a piece of the collection so far, I can’t wait to see you wearing them…
Photographs by Mikaela Lyons