By Arwa Lodhi
Call it the Downtown Abbey effect. Or maybe blame the craze for Valentino’s studded headbands. In any case, hair jewellery and embellished headbands are making a huge comeback, and no one designs them quite like Lia Terni.
Inspired by the art and architecture she saw whilst living in cities around the world, Brazilian-born Terni began designing jewellery in Madrid eight years ago. All her pieces–be they chunky rings, 30s style headbands, sexy gold garters or embellished belts– are handmade, and the designer is the first in Spain to work with Eco Gold.
The London College of Fashion graduate says: “I’m excited to work with Eco Gold. I think small actions can bring about big changes. With responsible mining, we can help to protect our environment and collaborate with artisan miners.”
According to Lia Terni, “Many people do not realize that the extraction of gold is not only a devastating thing to nature, but to man himself. This is why I want to place my little grain in helping to make a change while helping the consumer to become more conscious. Both artisan and small mining are present in over 55 countries, mostly in Africa, Asia and South America. At least 100 million people depend on this to substitute working in subhuman conditions, becoming trapped in a vicious cycle of exploitation. Most do not even fall into the legal system. They are neither registered workers nor protected in any way.”
Indeed, Terni is passionate about using only Eco Gold in her work for social reasons, too: “Lack of security, child labor and violence towards women are all huge injustices that occur in this industry. Furthermore, the price of gold has sky rocketed (from 195 Euros per ounce in 2001 to 1,500 Euros per ounce presently), leading a great exodus towards the mining zones. The impact on our environment is brutal. Deforestation, destruction of rivers and extraction of mercury and cyanide are only a few of the effects.”
Of course, fans of Lia Terni Madrid can rest assured that mines from which Eco Gold is extracted agree to respect the environment, to recognise women’s rights, and ban child labour. Additionally, the miners receive 15% more than the official market value, which they then use in social projects to assist their communities.
As a jeweller, Terni is very much aware of the importance of the role she can play in promoting responsible mining, and that’s why she ensures that each of her delicate pieces is made from gold that is extracted without either mercury or cyanide from mines of Chocó, a jungle in Colombia. But she wants consumers to know that they can make a difference by voting with their pocketbooks, too.
“Being conscious of what we purchase, making a difference and understanding that luxury may be sustainable are my objectives by using Eco Gold,” concludes the designer.
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