Humans have been wearing jewelry adornments for millennia. In fact, some of the earliest artifacts of humankind are ornamental pieces of jewelry. They are ceremonial, ritualistic, commemorative. Their identity markers. Jewelry also has a strong emotional aspect. Jewelry is an heirloom; in some cultures, adornments are endowed with wellness and healing attributes. They glitter, glow and mesmerize, exemplifying our primordial inclination to desire them wholeheartedly. However, as human civilization has evolved, jewelry has gone from a celebration of beauty to an industry rife with exploitation, environmental degradation and displacement.
And this is where Pippa Small comes in. Pippa’s been recognised for her efforts to spotlight the creativity of indigenous communities and more importantly for jewelry’s highly exploitative and detrimental impact on human and natural ecosystems. Though Pippa is not shy to pinpoint the issues around commercial-scale mining and jewelry making, she is more focused on creating a conscientious and ethical marketplace for jewelry. Her work is about finding solutions for fairmined & ethical jewelry.
In 2008, Pippa was approached by Turquoise Mountain to work with goldsmiths in Kabul. Turquoise Mountain was founded in 2006 by HRH The Prince of Wales to revive historic areas and traditional crafts, to provide jobs, skills and a renewed sense of pride. The collaboration was a natural fit, because these are the areas Pippa had been working on all along. While Pippa continues to develop her own collections, she also works closely with Turquoise Mountain to jumpstart projects in Myanmar and Jordan. In each of these countries, interminable years of war, displacement have wreaked havoc on cultural life. During our conversations, Pippa explains what it has been like – from a human perspective – to work in Kabul, Yangon and Amman.
My conversation with Pippa is about understanding how the craft of jewelry can provide economic and cultural grounding and security. Please have a listen, and let us know what you think!
Learn more about Pippa Small: www.pippasmall.com
Read about Pippa’s collaborations: www.pippasmall.com/ethical-stories
Connect on Instagram: @pippasmall
Missed the previous episodes of Radio Ock Pop Tok? Read and listen here!
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