Sustainable fine jewelry brand, KBH Jewels’ latest collection, Wear Your Values, was recently fêted during a special summer soiree in Montauk. Created with the intention of making the world a better place, proceeds from the charity collection’s We Will Rise necklace supports Together Rising, while the Calling All Mothers necklace champions The Loveland Foundation.
“KBH has been about doing something for the world that my children are going to live in and eventually share with their own families. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about trying to do better. The well-being of the planet, the oceans, all species and the people on it are inter-connected,” Founder of KBH Jewels and Mother of three, Kimberly Berry Haisch noted. “Fighting for climate justice can’t just mean protecting nature and the environment while ignoring racial and social injustices. We have to act now to fight for black rights; human rights, social rights, equality and environmental rights. Things will never be the same again – and that’s how it should be.”
We had the pleasure of speaking with Berry Haisch about documenting the stunning collection in the Hamptons, the brand’s sustainability efforts, latest line and more.
Earlier this summer, KBH Jewels held an intimate brunch and shopping event, hosted by Molly Sims, Ben Watts, Gabriela Langone, Jayma Cardoso, and yourself, in support of The Loveland Foundation and Together Rising at The Surf Lodge in Montauk. Tell us about the fabulous gathering.
KBH: Thank you! We were thrilled to have amazing hosts and partners who helped us create an event that was truly unforgettable. Our private brunch took place outside at The Surf Lodge where guests could be socially distant, shop for a cause, and feel good about supporting small, sustainable business.
As a brand, it is so important that we align with companies and individuals whose values are like-minded. Everything from our catering menu created by Little Gem, which included locally sourced ingredients and oysters sourced from the sustainable farm, West Robins Oyster Company, to bringing in a local mixologist, Kevin Grillo, was done in an ethical and responsible way. Mimi Brown Studios produced the event with their newest division, Six Feet Apart By Mimi Brown Studios.
During the event we had the very talented photographer, Ben Watts, capturing content with notable guests for our latest “Wear Your Values” charity collection that we will launch September 21st during Climate Week.
This collection aims to turn our hopes into affirmations. Our first two necklace designs, “Calling All Mothers” and “We Will Rise” will support The Loveland Foundation and Together Rising. Not only can you feel good knowing that proceeds are directly supporting organizations that are bringing the changes we need to see, but our necklaces are also handcrafted in NYC from 100% recycled gold. This means no pollution due to mining is happening – arsenic, mercury, and cyanide pollution is being avoided by recycling one of earth’s naturally renewable resources.
Could you speak to the founding of KBH Jewels and why it was important that sustainability was at the brand’s core?
KBH: KBH has always been about so much more than selling jewelry. It was an ambition born out of wanting to pass on a legacy of love to my children for their health and the health of the planet without compromise. Jewelry made as a true symbol of love and labor with a focus and commitment to clean material sourcing, circular practices from the ground up, quality and craftsmanship.
If luxury means the best of everything – design, materials and craftsmanship – it also must mean what is best for the health of the world and all living things. We need to be as mindful about what we are putting on our bodies, as we are about what we put in it.
After I had my own family, I started to think about what my legacy would be. I was spending time with my mom resetting jewelry on 46th and 47th streets in Manhattan (growing up my mother had a small jewelry company) and going to shows, when I was first properly introduced to lab diamonds. I didn’t understand why this sustainable option for real diamonds wasn’t more widely known or available, especially in the pieces that I wanted to wear every day and eventually pass onto my kids. That is when KBH Jewels was born. Then, I began to dig a little deeper and learned that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Report, “metal mining is the US’s #1 toxic polluter” contributing to arsenic, mercury, and lead pollution. It became apparent that we needed to do something different when it came to the provenance of our gold. From launch, we decided that we would use only 100% recycled and reclaimed gold in our pieces. Gold is one of earth’s natural renewable resources that can be recycled without any quality degradation; so why are we mining for more?
How does KBH Jewels achieve its sustainability goal?
KBH: The jewelry that KBH produces is made from 100% reclaimed gold, cultivated diamonds and sustainable south sea pearls. We are unmined. Everything we do, from upcycling plastic waste into our packaging, to choosing organic “GOT” certified fabrics for our pouches, is an attempt to inject conscious sustainability into every area of business.
The recently launched South Sea Pearl Collection is stunning. Could you speak a bit about the latest KBH Jewels line?
KBH: Thank you! I am so proud to introduce this collection of Sustainably Cultivated South Sea Pearls. The first pieces we’ve launched for Fall/Holiday are some of my favorite, iconic jewelry staples.
The best marine pearls come from pollution free waters. The cultivated pearls that KBH designs with are sourced only from small sustainable south sea pearl farms that, like KBH, are doing their best for the health of the earth and oceans by implementing clean and circular practices throughout their farms and harvests. When you purchase cultivated pearls from KBH Jewels, you are supporting these positive environmental and socio-economic initiatives that promote responsible pearl farming globally. This improves water quality, positively impacts coral reef conservation, reduces overfishing and supports local artisans and communities.
Our Tahitian Black Pearls are sourced directly from a local farm in French Polynesia. They are extremely rare because they are organically harvested in small quantities seasonally. The Akoya white pearls are sourced directly from a second-generation farm in Japan. For over 40 years this local farm has focused solely on creating a sustainable supply chain for Akoya pearls, and developing a circular business that gives back to the local community from clean water initiatives, to providing shells for local craftsmen to carve for profit.
When creating a new collection, where do you draw inspiration from?
KBH: KBH Jewels is created for an audience that prioritizes modern beauty and ethically conscious materials alike. Each style is inspired by the spirit of women – equally strong and powerful as they are gentle and pretty. Our latest collections are steeped in 1960’s glamour and feminine mystique. Timeless silhouettes, evoking nostalgia for Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, meet an elevated yet edgy aesthetic- giving birth to new sustainable classics.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
KBH: Any brand that wants to speak to the modern consumer has to keep sustainability at the forefront of the emerging circular economy which focuses on recycling, reusing and minimizing waste. This should not only apply to brand strategy, but also to our responsibility as humans in the world. We are the ones that have to make a difference for our children. The women that we know, who inspire KBH pieces, are doing the best they can today to secure a better tomorrow for the people they love. If there is a time to do this, it’s now. The focus is on what we are doing, what we are buying, and how that affects the world.
For more information, visit www.kbhjewels.com.