Shristi Ghunawat, founder of Tangerine, talks about sustainable jewellery and more
The green shine
Imagine dressing up for a party in jewellery made of natural elements like seeds, spices, flowers, fruits etc. What was once only dreamt of, has now become a reality, thanks to Tangerine, the country’s first bio jewellery brand. We caught up with Shristi Ghunawat, founder of Tangerine, who was in town recently, who speaks her heart out about sustainable jewellery.
The insights and understanding that she received at different stages while working in the jewellery industry, made her conscious of the adverse impact of the industry on the environment. “These impacts were not only limited to the colossal amount of metal and stone extraction but also included the use of harmful chemicals, energy consumption and waste generation is also extensive,” she tells CE.
Shristi went on to do her Masters in Design Management from Birmingham City University, which gave a boost to her vision as her main focus during the degree was on design and sustainability. “I did in-depth research about the harmful impact of the jewellery industry on the environment and received a distinction and appreciation from the faculties in BCU for my work. This made me realise that an alternate greener option for a product that everyone invests in, appeared to be the need of the hour,” she shares.
The environmental consciousness and creative streak in her helped carve the path towards creating an alternative greener option in jewellery. With the pandemic reinforcing sustainability and consumers becoming more aware, launching a brand like Tangerine, that promotes this conscious behaviour felt right to her. Where does she think the sustainable jewellery market is headed, in India?
According to her, with the rising awareness amongst consumers and an increase in the number of rules and regulations governing the CSR practices of a business, a shift can be witnessed in the industry towards sustainability. “All the major players as well as the small business are incorporating sustainable practices in some way or other. The use of alternative materials and unconventional design of the jewellery is linked to changing consumer profile that concerns the environment. Recycled metals, upcycling gold and gemstones are adopted as a route to sustainability,” she adds.
All their jewellery is created using elements found in fields, forests or tribal areas. As nature has so much to offer, they believe they will never run out of elements and so never go out of designs! “We try to keep the texture and the shape of the elements intact. We keep the framework around the elements simple, supporting the hero piece. Keeping the designs simple but in no way ordinary is our mantra. We believe in simplicity and maintaining the uniqueness of the designs pre-created by nature,” says she.
The process of creating green jewellery involves a six-stage process which starts with the sourcing of the raw materials. “As we are always on a hunt for unique natural elements, we ethically source our raw materials from different parts of the country. We are creating wealth from the natural elements which would have gone waste. This is followed by sorting, sizing, crafting, coating and cladding the pieces in 24Kt gold. 80% of the process is done in-house to keep a close tap on the quality and look of the product at each stage,” she explains.
The brand recently launched its third collection, called the Spice Collection, which is created using everyday spices that we are familiar with and can resonate with. “We have used spices like clove, cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, black pepper and long pepper. The mix of spices with pearls to create simple yet elegant jewellery was largely loved and appreciated by everyone. Sourcing spices from parts of South India, and sorting and sizing them to achieve the right look for the piece is what makes our jewellery so special. To make the pieces even more sustainable, we have used recycled pearls which are again sourced from different regions,” she shares excitedly.