Susan’s pieces for the exhibition are all made from 18kt Fairmined yellow gold, reclaimed diamonds and responsibly sourced Aquamarine. Her style is clean and modern integrating natural textures into the metal. One of the things that makes Susan’s jewelry stand out is her passion for responsibly sourced Fairmined gold, gemstones and diamonds.
She carries the sustainable philosophy into many aspects of her life. Her studio in downtown Northfield, Minnesota where she creates her jewelry is low impact and environmentally conscious. It is in an older building with 12 foot ceilings. She strives for zero waste, low energy use, and the responsible use of chemicals in her business.
Susan is proud of the fact that she was one of the first 23 U.S. designers to bring Fairmined gold to American buyers. She states “I’m proud of being a Fairmined Licensee working with Fairmined gold, because all jewelry should have a clean, beautiful story that speaks of solidarity and global support.”
Her journey into discovering responsible jewelry design began after she had earned her Bachelor of Science in Design/Metalsmithing at the University of Minnesota, then going on to have a career as a jewelry and accessory designer. !n 2008 Susan decided to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), that offered a Certificate Program in Sustainable Design. This decision changed her life and her artistic vision. “There she became one of the early students of responsible design, mastering a curriculum that was focused on turning designers into global innovators who could not only produce beautiful and functional work, but who could also balance the factors of environment, ethics, and social responsibility in everything they create.” In 2010 she earned her Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Sustainable Design.
Sapphire 'Branch' earrings
Since that time, Susan has gone on to garner many honors and is deeply involved in the ethical-sourcing movement. She is a member of the Ethical Fashion Forum, The Fellowship 500 and serves on the Board of Directors of Ethical Metalsmiths. “Ethical Metalsmiths is a community of caring buyers, jewelers, designers, and suppliers. Committed to responsible, environmentally-sound practices for all facets of the Jewelry Industry, we strive to connect and educate people globally from mine to market.”46 American jewelers licensed by the Alliance for Responsible Mining to create jewelry from Fairmined metals. “Fairmined is an assurance label that certifies gold from empowered responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organizations who meet world leading standards for responsible practices.” . She is also one of only
Susan was an honoree of the 2018 Minnesota Business Magazine’s “Women Who Lead Award” as well as having the Huffington Post state “(she is a)…woman with a passion for sustainable jewels for the conscientious person.” Artistar Jewels also publishes a large book yearly promoting their exhibition participants, which will be available in Italian and European museum bookstores.
Aquamarine 'Tiny Pod' pendant
So when Susan goes to Milan, Italy in February she will be representing some of the best of American jewelry design as well as showing what can be done when your materials are as beautiful, thoughtful and carefully created as your jewelry.