Green Bling

Finding Eco-Friendly Jewelry with Sarah Hood

We asked Sarah Hood about Seattle, sustainability and her eponymous line of wearable art.

By Colleen Williams July 22, 2016

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Image from Sarah Hood Jewelry.

In our August issue, we featured four local jewelers committed to sustainability. We caught up with one of the artists, Sarah Hood, to tap into her ethos and methodology, as well as find out a little bit more about her. 

How long have you been in Seattle?
I was born here in Seattle, and though my family and I moved around a bit for several years, we were back by the time I was in fourth grade. After high school I moved away for ten years to go to school and travel, but I always knew I'd be back to settle here. When you're born here, or once you've lived here for a while, there's a pull to come back, something that compels you to measure every other place against it, and nowhere quite measures up. Being able to live in a major city full of art, good food and all the big city comforts while being surrounded by water and mountains is really unique and special. Seattle is a gem and I can't imagine living anywhere else.

What drives inspiration for you in creating jewelry and art?
My art is driven by my reverence for the place I live and the places I've been. I look to nature and natural forms like trees, leaves and seed pods because those are the forms that provide a grounding for me when I travel and when I come back home. I find endless inspiration in the natural world and see the botanical forms as inherently perfect and a continuous source of inspiration. Each piece of botanically based jewelry I make is a planned composition that highlights the natural forms within it and lets the shapes and textures of those botanical elements become the focus.
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Savannah Bracelet; image from Sarah Hood Jewelry.

How do you feel about sustainable practices in jewelry —metals, gems, stones?
Sustainable practices in jewelry are so important. The wider jewelry industry has traditionally not been one that showed great care of the earth or valued healthy global practices, but this is changing as we all become more connected and aware of the industry's impact on the earth and on its populations. As jewelers we work to create heirloom works that will last for generations. We also need to create, maintain and support wide-reaching studio practices that last just as long. Looking away is easy, and this approach takes care and time, but it is worth it not just for immediate peace of mind but for the larger world which even our tiniest purchases and studio tasks impact.
Is eco-conscientiousness a big factor in your work?
Sustainable practices are very important to me, and something I think about a lot. I work hard to maintain a low impact on my local environment and on the wider global environment. I maintain environmentally and health conscious studio practices. I work with local suppliers that have demonstrated the same commitment to environmental practices and I purchase conflict free stones from vendors that research and stand by their chain of supply. I use vintage, recycled diamonds when I can, and I have personal relationships with some of the folks that mine and cut my US-sourced sapphires. All of the metal I use is recycled, and my cast pieces are made using gold and silver from a U.S.-based refiner committed to environmental responsibility and globally certified for 100 percent recycled content. I know I can do more, and so am always thinking of ways to improve. I feel this conscious approach is really the only viable one if we care about ourselves, our neighbors and the world at large. 
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