The road to sustainability contains many routes with the reality of trade-offs present in each route. We have decided to prioritize our efforts which support local economic development and a decreased carbon footprint, offset impacts through financial donations to reputable organizations, and build an ethical supply chain. By creating a product that lasts generations to come we are able to create a product that’s lifecycle has no end.
Supporting local economic development & decreased carbon footprint
From the beginning we decided every Azlee piece would be made locally, here in Los Angeles. Having production done locally supports our own community by providing career opportunities and aids in stimulating our local economy. Additionally it prevents a large carbon footprint by not requiring samples and orders be sent back and forth abroad.
Offsetting impacts through financial donations to reputable organizations
Designer Baylee Zwart was pulled in two directions when she founded AZLEE. She wanted to create beautiful long-lasting pieces and help the world’s oceans which are a primary source of our world’s health. She decided to combine both passions in AZLEE. Each season every sale helps benefit an ocean-related organization. Donations have gone to The Marine Mammal Center, Surfrider Foundation, Oceana and Sea Legacy. Our donations have contributed to enabling these non-profits create measurable change through rehabilitating marine life that is crucial to the ecosystem, fighting for legislation that helps protect the ocean, engaging and educating local communities to stimulate local change and leveraging social media as a form of education. We are proud to help support organizations that are doing the most important work for the health of our planet, and in turn the health of all people.
Building an ethical supply chain
Producing locally enables us to personally ensure the jewelers we work with provide their teams safe and healthy work conditions and fair wages. 95% of our collection pieces are made using 100% recycled metals and 100% of our custom pieces are made from 100% recycled metals. Using recycled metals ensures no new mining was required. Recycled metal is no different than virgin metal in its makeup. This means that it is not lower in quality or durability than newly mined metals. Our jewelers are certified and audited by SRSP (Signet Responsible Sourcing Protocol) and RJC (Responsible Jewellery Council) for their recycled metal processes. By purchasing metals from their own customer bases, to using electronics and even industrial byproducts, they are able to refine these metals into precious gold and platinum, thus breathing new life and market value into them. Azlee’s melee diamonds and large diamonds are ethically sourced and adhere to the Kimberly process. The Kimberly process is an international certification which regulates the trade of rough diamonds. It’s standards and process prevent the trade of conflict diamonds. In addition, our custom clients have the option of choosing vintage or post-consumer recycled diamonds for their pieces. These diamonds are just as high quality as newly mined diamonds, but require no new mining.
Creating a lasting product
Our goal is to create a quality product that will stand the test of time and be passed along from generation to generation. When Zwart was considering which field to go into, costume or fine jewelry, the decision was simple, she wanted to create a product that’s lifespan wasn’t determined by trend. Creating yet another disposable item was not an option. Her draw to fine jewelry is this; it’s forever relevant, its materials are inherently valuable so will never be discarded, and the jewelry itself will retain its value creating a worthy investment. If one were to tire of their piece, it could be taken apart, melted down and created into something new using the same materials but in a way that makes it fresh again. Old stones and diamonds can be pulled out of aged pieces and created into new and modern designs. The value of these materials creates an inherently sustainable life cycle.
If you or someone you know has applicable knowledge relevant to jewelry & sustainability we would love to hear from you. We are always looking to learn, grow and do better.