In an industry where more and more news echo the problems that affect the environment – from toxic agents used in precious gems and metal extraction, labour exploitation, to the unfavourable impact generated by small and large-scale mining – thankfully, there are several companies in the jewellery industry who are actively addressing these problems.
Meet Ro Copenhagen, who have been in the business since 2015.
A rising name on the Danish jewellery scene, Ro Copenhagen’s mission was to create a sustainable brand with tremendous care and kindness towards the environment and its community. For them, Ro Copenhagen is strongly linked to emotions, connec- tion, love and celebration – a collection with purpose for those who seek beauty both inside and out. When considering decisions through the sustainable lens, they understand that it’s also about the value of social education and constant evolution. Sustainability for Ro Copenhagen is not just a fad of the moment, but a practice that’s alive and in perpetual growth, and most of all, integral to an urgent global conversation.
Protecting and caring for the environment, while at the same time, ensuring ethical working conditions have been essential for the company’s development. Deeply responsible in their craftsmanship, Ro Copenhagen takes great measures to reduce its social and environmental impact during the production process, betting on honesty and traceability in each of the steps across their supply chain. The company works against exploiting the earth unnecessarily, and instead takes advantage of raw materials that are already extracted, preferring to work with ‘responsible gold’ obtained through rigorous criteria of sustainability and enhanced working conditions.
Firm advocates of responsible consumption and free-of-guilt luxury goods, Ro Copenhagen is constantly making efforts to provide real solutions that embrace their sustainable values. This is one company that refuses to belong to the world of the disposable.
How did Ro Copenhagen come to life for those unfamiliar with your story?
Helle, the founder and designer of Ro Copenhagen, found that the quiet times she had to work with jewellery and design filled her with a deep sense of inner peace and serenity. She manages to find inspiration from all around, which drives her passion to sketch intensely, to search for precise gemstones, and finally to materialise her ideas with a team of talented goldsmiths. A tiny diamond in each and every Ro piece is Helle’s distinct signature. This diamond stone is also a sparkling greeting and discreet reminder of natural beauty and strength for the person who lives with their Ro Jewellery.
Jewellery is an industry that has garnered a reputation for not being the most sustainable. Can you walk us through your own experience, and why was it important for you to break that mould?
When Ro Copenhagen was founded in 2015, the definition of our name, Ro, became a commitment: a feeling of calmness and thoughtfulness that pervades everything we do. Calmness for creating quality and for thinking our actions and responsibilities through.
Ro has a great appreciation and respect for the environment, so the choices we make support the belief of operating in a sustainable and honourable way. Quality, durability and sustainability are three pillars that inform everything, from the materials we choose, the production partners we work with, to the kind of jewellery we end up creating. Our goal at all times is to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror, so we always strive to do the most considerate thing for the environment and people alike.
Ro has a unique initiative, the Rebuy Guarantee, which acts to support recycling of our materials back into our production chain – thus ensuring circularity and recyclability of our products. By improving our environmental impact and reducing un- necessary waste, we can then prolong the lifetime of Ro Copenhagen jewellery. This proves the sustainability of our designs, and in turn brings an added level of joy and peace-of-mind to their wearers.
What inspiration lies behind your creative process and what ultimately impacts your designs?
The creative process often begins with inspiration from a gemstone distinct with a unique colour or other specific characteristic, one that’s not just pleasing to the eye, but nourishing for the soul. For Helle, our designer, working with gems brings about a sense of inner peace and harmony. There is a silent pleasure in working with gemstones that Helle likes to think carries over to the person who eventually wears that gem close to their body.
What would you say are the key aspects that set your brand apart from other sustainable jewellery companies?
One philosophy at Ro Copenhagen is to not fuel fast consumption or over production. Instead, our designs are brought to life based on the ethos ‘consume with care’. To this end, we only produce new designs when we have something really special to share – small yet exclusive collections with no minimum requirements for production quantity.
Another Ro Copenhagen mindset is that materials really do matter, and we have deliberately chosen to produce only in 18kt gold so that we can create jewellery with a long- life cycle. This is different to many other modern jewellery brands that are operating in the demi-fine area of the industry (demi-fine uses silver and lower alloys of gold). By using solid 18kt gold from a primarily recycled source, we can ensure a strong sense of timelessness in Ro pieces and minimise the need of gold mining.
Ro Copenhagen also only works with ethically sourced diamonds and precious stones of natural origin, always untreated and from conflict-free zones in compliance with UN resolutions. We go beyond standard industry regulations to ensure that we can vouch for every single stone set into our designs. We hope that with our carefully thought-out jewellery, you can always wear your values.
In what ways did you apply The Comarché Framework to your work, and how has it helped you to structure and report on your sustainability efforts?
For the Ro Copenhagen team, transparency and sustainability are core values that feature as a priority on our agenda. We strive to do our best, but we acknowledge that we are human and therefore in a continual process of learning. We have created a Ro Copenhagen ideas bank of sustainable initiatives, to which our team regularly contributes and discusses the concepts. This system also helps us measure the ways in which we can always improve.
The Comarché Framework has been a great tool to look at our holistic approach of the social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainability. At the moment, a key area of focus for us is working on developing our packaging. We’re almost ready with our new solution, and the result is an effective and sustainable alternative. Currently, our biggest sin is the foam inside of our existing jewellery boxes but throwing out our old packaging is not a very sustainable option either. Therefore, Ro’s new sustainable packaging will only be introduced once the warehouse is empty. We are excited to share this new development with you!
Talk us through an initiative or campaign of yours that you are particularly proud of.
Our #RoWomen campaign with AltForDamerne magazine is an ongoing monthly project that we are really proud of. Through a series of conversations with different women, we explore how to find a sense of peace and tranquillity in modern life. Sharing stories, knowledge and information with our community helps not only to keep us inspired, but also to encourage women everywhere to find inner peace and hold on to it.
What are your personal top 5 favourite Ro products and why should our readers be inspired to check them out?
1) My Collection
A range of alphabet and numerical pendant designs that act as tokens of affection that you hold close to the heart. The #RoSignatureDiamond detailing is a discreet symbol of natural beauty and strength. Many of our customers like to mix-n-match their My Collection pendants, because depending on how you stack them, these pieces tell a personal story. #apieceofyourstory
2) Rock Diamond Signet Ring
A Ro statement piece that possesses a unique spirit. The open face of this signet ring lends itself to be personalized. Engrave it either with initials or a date that holds special significance and bring your story to life through your jewellery.
3) Rock Classic Diamond Hoop S
An all-time favourite hoop design that’s both streamlined and timeless. This hoop earring comes in such a wearable size, yet the dazzling white diamonds make it instantly eye-catching.
4) Fryd Wave Diamond Earring
These designs have a very progressive form. Each Fryd Collection piece can be used in multiple combinations (as an earring, earring pendant or addition to a necklace chain). This versatility allows you to create your own expression of beauty.
5) Fryd Baroque Pearl Pendant
These pearls are a timeless statement and a wonderful piece to be passed on for future generations to enjoy. The subtle white hue feels particularly suited for spring and summertime.
Other than a more sustainable tomorrow… what else do you dream of these days?
Each day we want people to feel inspired to find their balance and inner harmony and hold on to it.
We dream that you will bring your stories to life through your jewellery and enjoy the moments of peaceful recognition. A Ro Copenhagen motto that we’d really like to share and leave you with is: You are a part of the infinite, but still one of a kind. Be you. Be different. Be the inspiration.