London-based jewellery brand Loquet is renewing the concept of a keepsake locket with sustainable, modern designs that consumers can personalise and pass through the generations. Here, Abigail Hodges speaks to co-founder Sheherazade Goldsmith about the brand’s ethical ethos, her love of vintage fashion and collaborating with the Wild at Heart Foundation
1.How does your environmentalist background inform your approach to making jewellery?
I’d say it informs everything. Environmentalism isn’t something you frequent; it’s a way of life and seeps into everything you do. Once you understand the repercussions of not protecting our future and that of our children, it’s impossible to ignore. As a fine jewellery collection, Loquet is part of a luxury world and to me, luxury is sustainability. Our process informs that message by taking the time to source the very best materials, crafted with care and implementing practices that create longevity. Our jewellery is for the generation that makes the purchase, the next generation and the generation after that. It’s about preserving someone’s story to be told, treasured and passed on. At Loquet we are preserving what is important to an individual, without sustainability there would be no point in what we create.
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Our first port of call is the office itself, we use recycled or recyclable materials wherever we can, and we create a product that has no existential timeframe, it is recyclable and has no waste. The problem with so much of what we consume is the waste, but in jewellery there are no seasons and the sentimentality of the pieces make them heirlooms.
2. What inspired you to reinvent the classical locket form?
I already had a classic photo locket and a charm bracelet. My locket was an Indian antique made in 18kt yellow gold with elaborate coloured enamelling on the inside. I love Indian jewellery for this reason. They believe that everything should be as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. My charm bracelet was fun and gregarious, full of charms that patted against my laptop keyboard. On a visit to a fairground my son bought me a present, a pendant made with dried flowers, something I use to do with hedgerow flowers when my children where little. It inspired the idea of being able to combine the two and personalise it myself.
3. Is there a particular piece that you feel best expresses the story you set out to tell through your work?
Our sapphire crystal lockets are our signature. They allow our customers to be there own designer and create a piece that tells their story, in essence a unique talisman of everything that brings them luck and makes them smile, to be worn close to their heart. We’ve recently relaunched our 14kt collection to include some of my favourite pieces to date, that elegantly translate from day to night. Each of these geometrical shapes is hand cast in 14kt gold encasing a clear faced sapphire crystal facade and can be opened to personalise with our endless selection of meaningful 18kt charms.
4. How do you ensure that the elements of your design process are ethical?
I spent a lot of time visiting jewellery studios all over the world before deciding to work with our current ateliers. This was to insure that the working conditions where healthy and vibrant, and to also talk through the designs with the artisans that were selected to make our jewellery. The companies I ended up choosing are all members of the responsible jewellery council or similar organisations and are, therefore, required to adhere to certain workers rights and high environmental standards.
The human connection behind what we do is paramount to the Loquet design. Our pieces are emotional and as such need to be made that way. So many of us jewellers won’t work with a company unless they have the same ethos and it’s important to champion those that have worked hard to campaign for their workers and implement high standards that look after both their employees and the environment.
5. Besides purchasing from you, how would you advise a consumer looking to shop more sustainably?
Sustainability is about longevity and well-designed things don’t have seasons. Whether that be furniture, clothing, accessories or jewellery, if something is worthwhile it will last through time and trends. With luxury items, less is most definitely more and that is my philosophy both in the way I decorate my house, my jewellery and wardrobe. Admittedly, I wear mostly designer clothing, but much of it is purchased from secondhand websites such as Vestiaire Collective, Hardly Ever Worn and The Real Real. I love vintage fashion, but you can also find all kinds of past-admired items for a quarter of the price. The buying and selling aspect makes you feel part of a community, almost like an exchange and gives your clothes a limitless life.
6. What’s next for Loquet?
We have a very exciting year ahead with some brilliant collaborations. The first launches in October with Nikki Tibbles and the Wild at Heart Foundation. We have put together a charm collection of Nikki’s favourite flowers chosen for their association with her beloved dogs, each epitomising the way we feel about our pets. A percentage of all sales will be donated to her very special dog charity that was set up a few years ago after rescuing a stray from the streets of Puerto Rico, who became her beloved Rose. The charity is now global and works tirelessly to end the unnecessary suffering of these much-loved pets.
Find out more: loquetlondon.com