What Is A Sustainable Jewellery Brand?

How Claire Hill Designs creates responsible jewellery - and why it's better for all

Claire Hill Designs is a Welsh demi-fine jewellery brand creating responsibly-crafted modern heirlooms inspired by hidden beauty.

Each piece is created with wearability and versatility in mind. With craftsmanship, design and sourcing that lets you express yourself with a clear conscience.

By buying better you not only get jewellery that is long-lasting and distinctive, you can also feel-good about how it was made.

♢ 14k GOld VERMEIL

I know the feeling of buying a piece of jewellery, falling in love, just to have it tarnish after a few months. That's why all of the gold jewellery Claire Hill Designs makes is gold vermeil.

Pronunced ver'may it means that every single piece has a solid base of precious 925 sterling silver (all recycled here). Then it is plated with a 14k gold vermeil 2.5 microns thick. This plating is 5x thicker than normal gold plate.

I want you to wear your jewellery on repeat, every day, so believe than spending a little bit extra will mean your jewellery will last you for years.

Better for you, and also it means you are not discarding jewellery that has tarnished and dulled after a few wears. This is a new kind of luxury that’s made to last.


All of my jewellery is made from a base of certified 100% recycled silver.  We only use 925 Sterling Silver so you can be sure of quality every time and jewellery that is hypoallergenic and contains no nickel or brass.

Recycling silver CO2 emissions by ⅔ versus mined silver. This technique is more planet-friendly and recycling silver helps close the loop and gives this precious metal a new life.


The factories I work with only use ethically sourced gemstones. They have years of working trusted suppliers who guarantee ethical sources of our materials including chains, findings, and stones.

Mined gemstones are not without their issues and the jewellery industry is still playing catch up in the best way to make these as ethical and sustainable as possible. This is an ongoing process of improvement.

One of the solutions is lab-grown gemstones. I use a selection of lab-grown opals and cubic zirconia in my designs. These have all the beauty and chemical make-up of mined stones but avoid the heavy toll that mining puts on the land. I will be launching my first lab-grown diamond collection in 2022. And as the options grow for lab-grown gemstones so will our collections.


♢ I work with two factories based in Thailand. They have high standards of staff welfare and pay, no child or forced labour and proper working hours. One is a member of The Responsible Jewellery Council and the other has been audited by Intertek.

♢ These factories have a high female workforce with many women in management positions. Between both factories they have schemes like onsite childcare, education scholarships, paid for Covid vaccinations for staff and have set up charity funds and services for families in need. As soon as travel restrictions relax a little more I’ll be visiting for regular check-ins. I also use a family-run factory in Shropshire for a selection of chain and a plater in Hatton Gardens, London.

♢ In 2022 I am working with a third factory in India which has the same ethos and ethics as my other factories and is currently undertaking the process to be a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council.


♢ I’ve always believed in creating jewellery that is wearable and designed to fit into your wardrobe seamlessly to and make you feel great in an instant. I don't know about you but I really don't have the time to work out my accessories clash with my outfit. From your wedding day to the office, beach to bar Claire Hill Designs jewellery is always the right fit. Plus it's super comfy and easy-to-wear allowing you to feel effortlessly confident 24/7.

♢ But I also believe in giving more for your money. Which is why I have designed jewellery collections that can be worn in numerous ways. Think reversible coin necklaces, two-in-one gemstone hoop earrings and removable gemstone pendants which can be mixed and matched. You can buy complete pieces or elements like chains, pendants and hoops so that you can express yourself in your own way.


♢ When I say I want you to wear your jewellery for a lifetime, I mean it. The materials and processes used to make your jewellery means the quality will last a lot longer. All of the jewellery comes with a year-long guarantee which covers any manufacturing defaults.

♢ After time though, and depending on how well you look after your jewellery (see my care guide here) you might need to look at refreshing your pieces. I work with expert platers in London's Hatton Garden so we can arrange to have your jewellery replated and completely refreshed. I make no money on this service and the cost only covers the platers' fee. If you have non Claire Hill Designs jewellery that needs to replated to, contact me here and I can also arrange a quote for you.

♢ Accidents happen with jewellery so I happily offer a fixing service. If I can fix it for free I will, otherwise we might have to arrange a replacement or speak to my factories to see if we can do anything. All I ask is you are honest about any jewellery mishaps - I know when a chain has been pulled or snapped, they don't "fall apart" in your hands.

Claire hill Designs Antique Recycled Silver Huggie Hoops

It’s my goal to give you, the customers, the best choices possible and keep making improvements day-by-day as the jewellery industry keeps developing to become more responsible and sustainable. I’m not pretending to be perfect so if there’s anything you’d love to see or you have any questions then I’d love to hear from you.

And I’m so excited to see you wearing the new collections. They come from the heart and are made with love, and with you, in mind.