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18k Gold Vermeil & Gemstones

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18k Gold Vermeil & Pearls

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The Good, the Bad, and the Inspiring

The Good, the Bad, and the Inspiring

BRUNA Is A Journey,
Not A Destination

We understand the importance of transparency. So we decided to make a page that openly talks about our hits, our misses, and the opportunities we’re excited about moving forward. We’ve learned a lot from our successes, but we’ve learned even more from our failures, and we feel it’s important to highlight the changes we’ve made because of them so that our community can understand where we started and where we’re headed. Only together can we work to reshape the world around us.

Why We Test Our Packaging

Why We Test Our Packaging

We like to think that just as important as our jewels are the boxes they’re delivered in. In other words, we pay a lot of attention to our packaging and are constantly looking for ways to improve it. This hasn’t been without its challenges.

In November 2022, a small batch of jewelry boxes created a big problem. Some of our customers were unboxing their new jewels only to find them badly tarnished. What had happened?

Turns out that the cardboard inlays at the base of this new batch of jewelry boxes were out-gassing excessive quantities of sulfur and, in a process known as oxidation, reacting with the surface of our jewelry to form silver sulfide—science talk aside, this caused an accelerated tarnishing in our sterling silver jewelry. And while it’s normal for sterling silver to eventually tarnish over a period of time, we learned that it’s possible (although rare and unlucky!) for packaging to emit such high levels of sulfur that would speed up the tarnishing process to this extent.

Together with our supplier we tested and implemented new inlays to replace the ones that were causing issues. When customers reached out to us about problems with their deliveries, we were very open about the problem and offered them free replacements. And to make sure nothing like this happens ever again, we put in place a series of rigorous tests that are conducted on every jewelry box batch before it goes to production. We’re satisfied with the solutions we found but still see plenty of opportunities for improvement in our packaging offer—so stay tuned for more developments!

How We Define Responsibility (And Why We Don’t Call Ourselves Sustainable)

Here at BRUNA, we want to take an honest approach to communicating about our journey, and that means being clear about what we are and what we’re not. We’ll come right out and say it—we’re not a sustainable brand. Even though creating conscious jewelry that has a positive impact on our ecosystems is at the heart of our vision, we’re not there yet. We believe the only way forward is to constantly improve and never settle. Since the beginning of BRUNA, we’ve made good steps in the right direction—and we’re far from finished.

Like all industries that produce and sell goods, today’s jewelry industry is a complex one that faces many challenges on the road to sustainability. We recognize that we’re part of the problem, but that doesn’t make us want to give up—instead it makes us even more determined to help change our industry and our world. To make this clear to our community, starting in 2022 we began to phase out the word sustainability from our communications. Instead, we prefer to talk about responsibility.

Ever since we started BRUNA, our intentions and actions have been informed by progress. Despite our small size, we have big ambitions and invest in resources that help protect our planet. We believe that we have a responsibility to act in line with ethical business standards, to protect the environment and the ecosystems from which we source our raw materials, and to treat workers in every part of our production chain in a dignified manner. That’s what responsibility means to us and that’s what we mean when we say that our jewelry is responsibly made. At BRUNA, we don’t have all the answers, but we do believe that progress is a process. That’s why we take steps each and every day to help shape a better industry and a better world.

Why We Don’t Use The Word Handcrafted Anymore

Since we started BRUNA, we used words like “handcrafted” and “handmade” when talking about the production of our jewelry pieces. Now we don’t. You’re probably wondering why, and that’s a great question. The way we design and produce our jewelry hasn’t changed—so what has?

Our decision to reevaluate the way we communicate about our jewelry production comes from a desire to be as clear and transparent as possible. There’s been a lot of confusion about the term “handcrafted,” and it’s led to some misaligned expectations about our jewelry pieces. So we’d like to clear up any questions you might have. It’s true when we say that a large and important component of our jewelry production is done by hand. Steps that require a high level of expertise and attention to detail are always performed by hand, from model making and finishing, to mold cutting, filing, soldering, and assembly. Stone and pearl sorting, stone setting, polishing, and pearl stringing and assembly are also performed by hand. That being said, specialized equipment is used for certain steps of the production process, including wire drawing, chain making and assembly, plating, and casting.

We learned that by using the terms “handcrafted” and “handmade,” we led some customers to believe that we did not use any machines whatsoever in our production process, and that’s not true. So we’re updating our communications to be more clear. You can, however, be absolutely assured that careful and detailed handwork is an important production component of every BRUNA gem. Each piece of jewelry is carefully crafted by combining the manual work of experienced jewelry-makers with cutting-edge technology. From casting to cooling, polishing, and stone-setting, you can read more about our jewelry production process here.

Our Sourcing Strategy is Changing—Here’s Why

Our mission? Presenting you with jewelry that’s uncompromisingly conscious and stylish. Since the very beginning, we’ve been committed to using only high-quality, responsibly sourced materials for our jewelry.

For the longest time, that meant relying on recycled precious metals to create our gold and silver designs. As described in our initial Impact Report, recycled metals have many benefits—such as a lower overall carbon footprint than mined metals—and sourcing our precious metals from refiners of recycled gold and silver has always been in line with our mission to protect our ecosystems and environment.

But it’s not only our ecosystem that needs protecting. Which is why we’re taking a new approach—one that aligns with our aim to constantly improve and challenge our practices to act responsibly in a way that not only protects our ecosystems but also creates value for local communities and respects the dignity of workers. That’s why, starting now, BRUNA is expanding its sourcing strategy for silver and gold to embrace “ethical precious metals.” For us, this term represents a broader commitment to responsible sourcing and a deep understanding of the impacts—both negative and positive—that our industry can have on people and the environment.

At BRUNA, we are committed to using ethical gold and silver for our jewelry. This means that we place great importance on sourcing precious metals from one of the following two sources that are encompassed in our definition of “ethical":

1. Recycled gold and silver supported by appropriate chain of custody documentation. A chain of custody is a documented sequence of custody of a material as it moves along the supply chain. Documentary evidence includes transfer documents, invoices, import/export, and shipping documentation.

2. Gold that’s responsibly sourced from artisanal mining communities, specifically, Fairtrade certified gold, Fairmined certified gold, or gold sourced through The Impact Facility (TIF). Should the gold and silver used by any of our suppliers not fall under the two categories outlined above, we’ll compensate for any potential negative impacts associated with sourcing these materials.

We've learned that by engaging with artisanal miners and supporting initiatives like TIF, we can play a vital role in improving working conditions, protecting the environment, and promoting fair trade. As we evolve, we remain dedicated to these principles, ensuring that your jewelry not only looks beautiful but also embodies a responsible approach that reflects the values we hold dear. Learn more about our strategy for ethical precious metals here.

Photo credits: David Sturmes & Gustav Dahlqvist | TIF

BRUNA may not be Balenciaga, but we share a problem faced by many fashion brands today—counterfeiting. A form of copyright infringement, counterfeiting involves imitating an original design to deceive potential buyers into believing that the fake has the same, or greater, value.

Counterfeiting and copyright infringement are big issues that can cause even bigger problems, especially for smaller brands. In addition to being illegal, both counterfeiting and general copyright infringement—like the use of original content or branded material—allow criminals to unfairly profit from a company’s name, ideas, and creativity. This can damage a brand’s reputation, generate mistrust in genuine, well-made products, and, in many cases, cause small brands to go under.

Counterfeiting is big business. While illegal and harmful to companies, it’s also becoming more widespread. We learned this firsthand when we were made aware that images and videos we produced in-house were being used to sell imitations of our jewelry on other online marketplaces. In addition to illegally profiting from our original content to promote counterfeit designs, this case—and others like it—had the potential to create a lot of confusion and mistrust among our buyers and our community. Not pleasant—for us or for you.

Since becoming aware of this problem, we set up a system to monitor and remove infringements on other online retail platforms. In numbers, that’s added up to a mindboggling 373 violations in 4 months—all of which have been reported and taken down. Despite our success in removing these infringements, new violations are added almost every day that have the potential to negatively impact buyers, our brand, and the skilled jewelry makers who are an essential part of our production process.

So what can you, as a buyer, do to help? First of all, you can ensure your jewelry designs are genuine by purchasing your pieces from reputable sites. BRUNA’s jewelry is sold in one place—on our own online shop. If we do decide to sell our designs on any other marketplace, we'll post this clearly on our site. But for now, if you see our jewelry promoted on other websites or online platforms, that’s not us. Additionally, you can help by letting us know if you see our images, videos, or branding being used to market products elsewhere. The use of our original content or branding material is illegal and a clear violation of copyright laws. So in other words, if you see something, say something. With your support, we can continue to combat counterfeiting and copyright infringement and provide you with the best experience and product possible.

To be continued...

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