Ana Luisa Jewelry: JUSUF Necklace

overall Rating:

2.75

planets

Alena Manzor
10/23/2020

As someone whose Instagram ads mostly target my love for jewelry, finding this ethically and environmentally conscious brand excited me as a consumer striving to be more conscientious in my shopping habits. While Ana Luisa has room to grow in their sustainability efforts, I don’t even have to call them out because they know where they want to go, with carbon offsets acknowledged as just the first step in their end goal of net zero carbon emissions. And as for cost, Ana Luisa skips the middle men to guarantee a fair price, again showing a care for consumers. The price of this necklace is better than many mainstream brands— like Adina’s Jewels’ similar Figaro choker priced at $68 and lacking in the sustainability department— and considering the conscientious craftsmanship that goes into it, you definitely get your money’s worth, proving a luxury jewelry look doesn’t have to come at the cost of the planet or your wallet.

Pros: use recycled silver, handcrafted rather than mass produced, transparent about carbon reducing efforts, first direct to consumer brand to become carbon neutral
Cons: could be more transparent about their supply chain

what it's made of:

2.75

The materials in this necklace are impressively sustainable, and Ana Luisa wants you to know it. On their website I could easily find out what the jewelry is made of and what that means for the environment. This necklace is 14K gold over eco-brass, with a thicker than ordinary plating to ensure it lasts for life. For the silver option it's made of 100% recycled sterling silver made of 92.5% pure silver. Silver mining is known to harm the environment, from causing erosion to contaminating soil and water, so this is a major win for sustainability. Also, while the solid gold and diamonds used in Ana Luisa Jewelry don't apply to this particular necklace, I think they deserve a shout-out for their innovative eco-friendly sourcing. All solid gold pieces are made from previously owned jewelry, industrial metals, and electronic components, keeping gold that would otherwise be thrown out in circulation rather than cause unnecessary harm by mining for new gold. And I never knew it could be done, but the diamonds used are actually lab-grown, so there's no wondering where they were mined or whether they harmed the environment, and they also have the same quality as mined diamonds but without the detrimental effects mining has been known to have on developing communities. The brand also uses eco-friendly packaging. I couldn’t find explicit descriptions of their shipping materials, but they do claim that their shipping packaging will soon be 100% recycled.

how it's made:

2.5

The craftsmanship and thought that goes into each piece like this necklace makes it clear that Ana Luisa is anti-mass production and their sustainable production seeks to set them apart from traditional luxury jewelry brands. The site ensures that the production process respects the environment as well as the craftspeople. There isn’t a great detail divulged about their supply chain, though they briefly highlight their global partners such as Korea which provides delicate craftsmanship and Austria which provides innovative technology. Each design is handcrafted rather than mass produced, and they release limited-run small batches of new pieces on Fridays to make sure they meet high production standards while also preventing excess waste. This is a notable production method, because they are able to keep customers excited with weekly new designs while at the same time working against the idea that jewelry has to be part of the fast fashion loop, instead making a conscious effort to focus on the artistry and craftsmanship of each design and release in small quantities to limit waste.

Ana Luisa is also the first direct-to-consumer jewelry brand to become carbon neutral—though it’s important to note that this is achieved through carbon offsets. Their offsets are done in partnership with the nonprofit Cool Effect, and they specifically contribute to their Tri-City Forest Project which preserves a combined forest area of 6,500 acres in Massachusetts. Protecting these trees from timber mills prevents floods and generates carbon-cancelling oxygen. Just as I was thinking this is great but isn’t a long term solution to the climate crisis, I scrolled on their website to see that Ana Luisa actually acknowledges offsetting is “great, but not producing CO2 is better”—an acknowledgement of room for improvement you don’t often see brands openly admitting to. As a relatively new company (founded in 2018), the fact that they’ve already taken this initial step and want to do better makes me trust them as a customer and value their honesty. All community members will soon be able to learn the CO2 emitted by their order—again showing transparency. Another notable aspect of their sustainability is their partnership with Carbon Footprint Ltd, an ISO certified (meaning they ensure the quality and safety of products) to help them evaluate and reduce their environmental impact. A pdf shared on their website helpfully explains the brand’s current Carbon Footprint Methodology including a Life Cycle Assessment (which asses their products’ environmental impacts during their life cycle). From this analysis they again show areas where they want to improve, like creating a model that goes beyond carbon footprint to incorporate water and waste in the calculations as well as analyzing each jewelry piece’s carbon footprint on an individual basis.

who makes it:

3

What really stood out to me about the founding of Ana Luisa jewelry was the founders’ knowledge of the jewelry industry and their decision to break the mold and make conscious jewelry that’s both ethical and eco-friendly. The founders were jewelry industry veterans, and, as their About page highlights, they witnessed the lack of transparency, sketchy manufacturing, and retail mark-ups and it didn’t sit right with them. Having this first-hand experience gives them a lot of credibility and their vision to go against the norm is a testament to the sustainable mission of the brand. Rather than take advantage of consumers and the planet for profit, Ana Luisa has since its origin sought to bring “clarity to the jewelry industry.” This shows their dedication to transparency, also evident in the easy access to information, from the product page to the pdf provided for more information on their carbon footprint methodology. Ana Luisa’s philosophy made me think of the UN Sustainable Development Goal #12 “Responsible Production and Consumption” in particular because they not only make sure their production is sustainable and ethical, but empower consumers to consume more sustainably with their transparency— the site also has blog posts on topics like recycled jewelry and sustainable living.

As for working conditions, Ana Luisa has a zero tolerance policy for both forced labor and child labor, and they are committed to ensuring that their supply chain reflects respect for human rights, as their choice to conduct in-house plating rather than out-sourcing to places with poor working conditions shows. They also have agreements with venders to ensure lawful and fair practices and have the right to third-party audits and termination of their vender relationships when they don’t comply. It’s also worth noting Ana Luisa’s use of social media to promote their brand, since that’s how I and a lot of people find new brands these days. Their Instagram bio makes sure people know that they offer “Sustainably-made jewelry with a conscience.” You’ll also see in their comments section that the brand takes the time to answer customer questions about things like what the products are made of, again showing their dedication to the customer and transparency. They do use influencers to promote their jewelry, but like their products, the collaborations are made consciously. This necklace for example is in collaboration with the YouTuber Jusuf, whose channel is dedicated to minimalist and sustainable living. With the influence social media has on consumers these days, Ana Luisa’s social media is influencing in the right direction of conscious consumption, something a lot of mainstream jewelry brands could learn from.