Sustainable Stories | Hamilton & Inches
As Royal Warrant holders and Scotland’s premier destination for fine jewellery, Hamilton & Inches take their commitment to sustainable practices and the environment very seriously. They are members of the RJC (Responsible Jewellery Council), whose standards for certification, from mine to retail, are rigorous. At a grassroots level, Hamilton & Inches’ showroom and workshop have occupied the same premises, first on Princes Street and now on George Street, since the company’s inception in 1866, which in turn reduces mileage and emissions.
Last year, Hamilton & Inches became the first and only fine jewellers in the world to have access to exceptionally rare Scottish Gold, unveiling a collection of celebratory jewels. The proximity of the Cononish Mine, from which the gold is sourced, is also a factor in Hamilton & Inches’ sustainability story
The mine itself is owned by Scotgold Resources Ltd, who have pledged to preserve its natural surroundings, vegetation and wildlife: despite its remote location, Scotgold are acutely aware of the privilege and responsibility that comes with working in such a wild and beautiful landscape. Clean and modern methods are used for the recovery of the gold, eschewing mercury and cyanide in favour of a gravity and flotation method that eliminates the danger of contaminating the purity of the Highland waters.
Hamilton & Inches’ 87 George St premises are listed, and this has, of course, been factored into the company’s 2020 refurbishment plans, with original features actively retained and preserved. The use of Scottish materials will also be favoured, so far as possible, in the refit.
Sustainability is more than reduction of waste; it is also tightly linked to the preservation of time-honoured practices. To this end, Hamilton & Inches actively support craftsmen and apprentices in the development and retention of artisanal skills and traditional methods, and work with QEST (The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust), which fosters education and excellence in craft in the UK, through its Academy.
Sustainability is at the core of the Hamilton & Inches ethos, too, in terms of the quality and longevity of the product. The jewellery the brand creates is the very antithesis of fast fashion, with pieces lovingly crafted and made to last and be treasured. Hamilton & Inches also encourage the recrafting of existing pieces – take, for example, an heirloom piece that’s languishing in a box, or a gift from a loved one that’s not quite to the recipient’s taste: the jeweller’s in-house craftsmen can liaise with the client to rework these into pieces to be worn and loved. The company’s repair offering is exceptional and due to be extended, in keeping with an eco-responsible attitude of mending, rather than disposing. The brand is also reviewing the materials from which its distinctive purple bags are made and working towards these being fully recyclable as part of their long term commitment to sustainable practice.