Celebrating Artisanal Women

This International Women’s Day, we focus on two women in our supply chain who have the courage to make an impact and change our industry for the better.

Living in a society that often prioritises productivity and competition over sustainability, equality and wellbeing can feel disheartening, especially when big changes are needed. Looking and listening to communities outside of our own and sharing ideas, inspires us to think differently and work towards a fairer future.

We recently had the privilege to speak to Andrea Jose Castro, the founder and creative director of Casa Collab, to ask her about how she views her place in the jewellery industry, both in her native Peru but also on an international scale, and how she works alongside other artisanal women. Casa Collab is a design lab dedicated to upholding both sustainable jewellery making practices and the legacy of Peruvian goldsmithing. It was an honour for us to work with Andrea and Casa Collab to relaunch our Lagoon collection in Fairmined Gold, as a way of connecting with artisanal women from other cultures who are able to give us such a refreshing perspective on our shared values and goals. 

Andrea explained that a huge source of inspiration for her work with Casa Collab comes from the ideas of donation and reciprocation, concepts strongly embedded in Peruvian culture. She considers the value in her work to come from the cyclical nature of reciprocity and the sharing of knowledge, skill and effort, which carries a far more positive influence than merely creating for profit. 

Andrea also told us the story of Vilma Contreras, a female miner she works closely with, who is changing mining practice in the Madre de Dios region of Peru.

Doña Vilma has dedicated her career to implementing techniques that allow miners in Peru to extract gold without the use of mercury, a toxin that has devastating health impacts not only to those directly handling the mineral ore, but also to their children and families.

Family is a huge source of inspiration to Vilma, and her children are similarly dedicated to following in her footsteps and continuing her inspirational work to create a legacy that will hopefully drive sustained change for years to come.

We are moved to see the extraordinary strength of artisanal women that promote values of care, attention and collaboration through their work and we aim to share this uplifting story in the hope that it inspires us all to understand that individually, through our actions and choices, we can make a difference, and to consider our impact and activities in a similar manner.