Christie’s, Vogue Italia Promote Sustainable Jewelry Design

AuctionsDec 17, 2018

Christie’s, Vogue Italia Promote Sustainable Jewelry Design

At this year’s renamed “The Protagonist” event, more than a dozen contemporary designers sold jewels made with responsibly sourced materials.

This Mortiz Glik bracelet is among the fine jewelry using responsibly sourced natural materials presented in Christie’s and Vogue Italia’s “The Protagonist” exhibition. It features 3.30 carats of diamonds, white sapphire, 18-karat yellow gold, tagua nut and pineapple leather.

New York—Originally founded by now-defunct magazine Vogue Gioiello as a platform to promote the height of contemporary American jewelry design, “The Protagonist” has found new life as an international showcase for sustainability.

This year, Christie’s New York and Vogue Italia partnered on the project, which used to be called “US Protagonists.” The two hosted a four-day sale and exhibition last week of designs from 14 contemporary jewelers from around the globe, all using responsibly sourced materials.

Designer Alexandra Mor, who spearheaded the event as creative director, said consumers are looking for alternatives to many traditional jewelry materials that don’t sacrifice on design.

Last year, she spearheaded the use of the tagua seed in the “US Protagonists” exhibition, inviting her fellow designer participants to work with the ivory alternative.

“Tagua seed grows wild in the Amazon forest,” Mor told Christie’s. “Its physical properties are comparable to elephant ivory. By introducing it as a fine jewelry material, we offer a real solution to the poaching of these magnificent creatures support the communities around the forest.”

Mor continues to work with the material, and so do some of her colleagues, like Moritz Glik.

“I’m definitely going to put it in my new collection because the sky’s the limit for it,” he enthused. “It’s a hard material, but at the same time it is soft to carve by hand. It’s also very porous, which means we can dye it many different colors.”

This year’s designer group wasn’t limited to the tagua nut, however. They were charged with utilizing all manner of responsibly sourced natural, or non-synthetic, materials, such as recycled wood, ethically mined gemstones and even leather alternatives.

All diamonds had to adhere to the Kimberley Process and all metals had to be from sustainable sources.

In addition to Mor and Glik, this year’s “The Protagonist” group was comprised of fine jewelry brands Yewn, Irthly, K. Brunini Jewels, John Hardy, Ana Katarina, Assael, Tamara Comolli, Sylva & Cie, Dana Bronfman, Alessio Boschi, Shamballa and Daria de Koning.

Vogue Italia’s Fashion Market Editor Francesca Ragazzi surmised, “The sustainable revolution is conquering the world, and our mission is to show the consumers how this shift can be absolutely glamorous and fashionable.”

Mor added, “I don’t consider sustainability to be a trend, I see it as a way of life, a way of being, and it is deeply crucial to the future of our planet. Designers are more than

just creative people; we are the new activists.”

Following the Christe’s event, “The Protagonist” collection is now available on
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

The Latest

CollectionsJun 18, 2021
Piece of the Week: Colette’s Rainbow Eye Pendant

It’s a new addition to the designer’s charm collection.

FinancialsJun 18, 2021
Jewelry Sales Surge in May, Says Mastercard

U.S. jewelry sales were up more than 200 percent year-over-year in May while also exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

Recorded WebinarsJun 17, 2021
Watch: How to Ace the Branding Game

Simon Mortimer offers must-know branding basics for companies that are just starting out or looking for a refresh.

Brought to you by
How to Engage and Sell to Millennials

Millennials were once feared in the diamond industry, but now this younger generation has become today’s largest diamond buying demographic.

CollectionsJun 17, 2021
Foundrae Has an Epic Charitable Giveaway in Honor of Juneteenth

All proceeds of “Juneteenth Medallion” sales, as well as raffle tickets, benefit organizations that support BIPOC.

Weekly QuizMay 20, 2021
This Week's Quiz
Test your knowledge of jewelry news from the week of June 14-18, 2021.
Take the Quiz
SourcingJun 17, 2021
Le Vian Donates Aquaprase Specimens, Jewels to New York’s AMNH

Two rough stones, three polished gems, and two jewels are in the museum’s redesigned gem and mineral halls.

MajorsJun 17, 2021
Mall Owner Washington Prime Group Files for Chapter 11

The company is implementing a restructuring plan after struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brought to you by
A New Golden Age

Gold has had its share of ups and downs over the last 5 decades. Here’s why the metal is having another big comeback.

TrendsJun 17, 2021
Amanda’s Style File: For the Fellas

In honor of Father’s Day, Amanda Gizzi rounds up gifts for Dad.