Fair trade gold and silver Dutch designer jewelry – a journey from miner to maker and beyond
Nadine Kiefts philisophy is to visualize with the mind, create with
the heart, make with the hands and work with the natural texture of
the metals and gems.
Made in an artisanal workshop in Amsterdam blending classical with modern and inspired by nature and fairytales creations of Nadine Kieft are truly unique.
This has a blue agate cameo set in 18 karat Fairtrade & Fairmined gold. The ring is made of silver.
Made from 18 karat fair trade and fair mined gold with two rough diamonds, two multi-colored tourmalines and four different spinel gem stones. These are very elaborate earrings.
The Royal Delft Ring
Branch Twigs Ring
14 karat yellow Fairtrade and Fairmined gold with a diamond. Refined and graceful.
This delicate butterfly is about
to land on your hand.
18 karat fair trade and fair mined gold.
Silver sweet heart necklace
Made from fair trade silver where
you can add your own text
such a name.
The Designer - Nadine Kieft
I studied journalism and went to Berlin for a project to write about the city and just by chance found a German who had studied in Amsterdam at the Reitveld Academy and made jewelry in her kitchen by hand and she showed me the end product. I was fascinated by how she made something from the beginning to the end on her workbench and with the tools in her Kitchen and mesmerized by the skill and finesse with such small stones. And she sold her jewelry in Japan!
I decided after a week of just interviewing artisans for my Berlin project to become a goldsmith and jeweler. I came back to Amsterdam and enrolled into training for three years. My Dad reminded me that when I was 15 he took me to the Dutch goldsmith city Schoonhoven as he felt this might be interesting for me as a profession and woman but at the time I had nothing with jewelry. During the training I found out I loved designing and making jewelry.
My journey from writing to making
Becoming a full time artisan jewelry designer and maker
For a few years I worked for a jewelry brand from initially making to then an assistant designer. I was also in the evenings making my own collections. I had
a work bench in my living room! And I was selling via different shops and this was growing so I decided to take a leap and work full time. My first workshop was in
a photographic studio who specialised in home lifestyle and then I moved to
a bigger fully equipped workshop.
My journey to Fair gold
Two and half years ago in discussions with a friend I became aware of fair gold and then started a long and demanding process to educate myself about this and become certificated. I found the Max Havelaar organisation first and then learnt about the processes and what I needed to do to get initially a master certificate. The process and system changed in the mean time to make it less costly for artisanal jewelers like myself to participate.
Gold is a symbol of love and glamour the world over, but look behind the glitz and the reality is not so bright. I discovered that ninety per cent of the labour force involved in gold mining is made up of small-scale miners
who produce around 250 tonnes of gold each year, which is used primarily to make jewelry! For these artisanal miners the rights given to large companies are non existent so they are pushed into running informal and often illegal operations and conditions are hazardous. As they are at the end of long supply chains they have little option but to accept the prices offered by traders however low. For Fairtrade gold, miners receive a guaranteed minimum price and premium to invest in improving their business or in community projects such as education, clean water and healthcare. Meeting Fairtrade standards helps miners improve their practices, working conditions, and protects the environment.
Encouraging and supporting other jewelry designers
to use fair trade gold and silver
I also initiated the opportunity for other designers to come and work in my workshop with fair trade and mined gold. At GoLDFABRIK online shop we sell unique designer jewelry made with fairtrade & fairmined gold.
The design inspiration
You can see the link back to nature. I am inspired by branches, trees and forests and fairy tales, combined with highly quality and intricate goldsmithing.
You need to be in the right mode to make a delicate piece. If you are not totally focused and relaxed it can happen the stones or the piece breaks right in front of your eyes. Then you have to start again and often change the design as each stone is unique.
There is also some randomness and feeling and dreaming as well as pure technical ability in each of my designs which I normally visualize and then craft as I go along. I never actually draw them. Once I see it I start !
The Sweetheart ring was a fun thing that could be customized and I can stamp the letters on the spot. This is a common gift for a new baby christening or celebration.
The Butterfly ring took me three months and was part of an animal collection which I called the Paradise collection. And as it was connected with nature it felt normal to use the fair gold.
For the Blue Deft ring I had a beautiful blue cameo and I immediately associated this with Delft blue
I am a licensee holder of Fairtrade International (FLO), a fair trade labelling organisation who work together with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM). Together they create a fairtrade and fairmined gold certification system. This initiative enables miners to improve their livelihoods and it assures consumers that the gold jewelry they buy is responsibly sourced. Our gold comes from small-scale miners who work under strict conditions due to the fairtrade & fairmined standard. For their efforts the miners get a higher price for the gold. In our case this means we need to properly document the exact contents of each piece we make not only the gold or silver content but the other materials we use.
Karats and gold
A karat, when used with gold, is a unit of purity. 24 karat gold is pure gold. For jewelry making you usually mix gold with a metal like copper or silver because pure gold is simply too soft. Each karat indicates 1/24th of the whole. So if a piece of jewelry is made of metal that is 18 parts gold and 6 parts copper, that is 18 karat gold.
The fair silver I accessed via the fair mined organization Jeweltreefoundation.org
I use gem stones which are rawer and not refined and hand cut and not completely polished and finished which means each piece is completely unique. Diamonds are certificated conflict free under the Kimerbeley process and we aim to source the gems from ethical sources.
Often people visit my atelier in Amsterdam to see existing pieces or discuss specific requests. Increasingly with international clients we do this online by Skype or Google hangouts or for a few this is an excuse for a visit to Amsterdam.
I strongly recommend you visit a professional jeweler to measure the ring size.
We start from the raw gold and silver nuggets. We do our own alloying by melting this material and make the wire and sheets which we use in our goldsmithing. I mostly visualise my designs and start to build them so hardly draw
We use wax casting or Delft clay casting to produce the pieces or the full piece. Then we soldier the pieces together
We then set the stones using various techniques and I was in Florence learning new techniques – this can be quite a delicate and intricate process. I then start to create the final piece and it takes a life of its own. We then polish and finish the piece. There is definitely a sense of accomplishment to see something from an idea to come to life and to be part of the whole process.
Delft Clay Casting system
The Delft Clay Method of Casting is a form of sand casting. It makes it possible to make remarkably sharp castings of many objects in gold, silver and other metals. After casting, the Delft clay can be re-used immediately. As a model, you can use an existing piece of jewelry. The moldable clay was invented after many trials in the 1980’s in The Netherlands by Hans Karreman a Delft goldsmith using local clays and promoted and developed further by his students.
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