Susan Rockefeller has already made a name for herself in the environmental and charity world, as Chair of Oceana’s Ocean Council, and an active force in the We Are Family Foundation, Stone Barns Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Americans for the Arts, and National Resources Defense Council. She’s a documentary filmmaker and author, and now she has turned her eye to ethical luxury jewelry as well.
Her “Dive Deep” collection touches on the theme of the ocean and mermaids, with mermaid hoops, strands of Honora Ming pearls, and detailed sea urchin rings that are perfect for the uptown set. (Though the statement urchin ring would appeal to someone looking for an edgier look.) The sea-themed jewelry is meant to remind us to “Protect What Is Precious.” Susan believes we have become disconnected from the earth, and that the symbol of the mermaid speaks to the harmony and unity we once shared with nature and should strive to reestablish.
I met Rockefeller at her home on the Upper East Side, and when she sat down with me to talk about the jewelry, the first thing I asked her was about the sourcing of her jewelry. Was it more than just symbolism, the environmental aspect?
In short: yes. Rockefeller impressed me with her passion for ethical jewelry. We discussed the fact that the person fabricating her jewelry is on the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, that her pearls are naturally colored instead of dyed, and that her metals are recycled. (She’s looking into sourcing from a recycling facility in North Dakota that is even more stringent about its sourcing.) Her behind-the-scenes video actually shows the jewelry being made.
“If you truly want to be sustainable, you wouldn’t make anything,” she said. “My role is to make beautiful things, and think how how they made, where they’re made and who made them.” I loved that she gets personally offended at how her jewelry shows up after being produced in individual plastic bags. She takes it out of the bags, gives all the bags back, and then passes on the jewelry to the customer in a custom burlap pouch.
Finally, 5% of the proceeds of the collection will go to ocean conservation. If you’re smitten with these lovely little pieces, you can buy her pieces right on her website. Prices start at about $225.