Our Ethos

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.”
― Maya Angelou
 
 
 

We at Common Ground believe that all of us are responsible for the three facets of healthy and ethical consumption: economical, social, and environmental. We are stewards of this planet and it’s up to us to make choices that are both fair and beneficial to everyone in our supply chains while also leaving the lightest possible footprint on the earth.

Common Ground is a member of the Ethical Metalsmiths Coalition, a 501c3 group dedicated to inspiring responsible jewelry practices through education, connection and action. 

 

What is your packaging made from? 

 Our packaging is 95% post-consumer, biodegradable, recyclable material. The 5% that's not is the little bit of poly/cotton fill that comes in our jewelry boxes to prevent tarnish and protect the piece. We're looking for a way to eliminate that, but the rest of our boxes, shipping materials, labels ect are eco-friendly!

 
Where do you source your metals?
 
All of the metals used in our pieces are recycled from post-consumer materials. When we have scrap material at the end of a production cycle, we sell our bits of scrap back to our dealers to be refined and, ultimately, used again. This creates a closed-loop system which means less mining, less international movement, less environmental impact, and a more sustainable product. 
 
Who makes your jewelry?
 
Most of our jewelry is made in house by owners Susan Pridham and Alexa Suess in Greenport, NY. We also stock select studios that align with our principles from across the country. No sweatshops, no slave labor. 
  
Who benefits?
 

A portion of our profits support organizations that continue to move transparency and accountability forward in the industry, such as Ethical Metalsmiths and Better Without Mercury - an initiative that seeks to lessen the impact of mining on the environment and its surrounding communities.

Past donations have also been made to: Community Action Southold Town, the North Fork Animal Welfare League, the First Nations Development InstituteVictims Information Bureau of Suffolk, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenport Skatepark Project, New Alternatives for Homeless LGBTQIA+ Youth, the Toolbox Initiative, and Campaign Zero. 

 

What are your social responsibilities? 
    

We do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, family structure, religion or background. We firmly support gender equality and the LGBTQIA+ community.  We actively work on being anti-racist as humans and as members of the jewelry community. 

 We choose not to work with vendors who do not share these values.  Additionally, we support industry projects which promote these ideals. 

 
Are your gemstones ethically mined?
 

This is a long and nuanced discussion that we can spend hours on (stop into the shop and ask - Alexa may deliver a whole lecture if you're interested) but the short answer is yes, we are exceptionally discerning about the ethical provenance of our stones.

All diamond materials used are certified under the Kimberly Process or are reclaimed or lab grown. We have developed close relationships with our colored gem dealers who are all certified by the American Gem Trade Association. The AGTA requires strict adherence to an uncompromising code of ethics when working with miners or siteholders. We only work with dealers whose chain of custody is short and whose provenance is well documented to not incorporate practices like forced or child labor. We currently avoid newly mined materials like emerald, tanzanite, jade, coral, and lapis lazuli that regularly fund organized crime or cost an increased environmental toll.

We also provide reclaimed & post-consumer stones that have been recut and reused. There’s also the option to buy stones mined and cut within the USA which reduces environmental impact and energy usage.

Finally, there’s always the option of purchasing a cultured or lab-grown version of the stone you’re looking for. These stones are chemically and structurally the same thing as what you’d mine from the earth but are instead made in laboratories. They have the added benefits of being more budget friendly and environmentally friendly, but also cost many communities in developing countries the opportunity to profit from their natural resources - instead compounding wealth in the hands of a few wealthy corporations.

Overall, we realize that there are a lot of challenges in finding the right ethical option. Don't be afraid to tell us about your concerns and we will find a stone and a solution that fits your life and your ethos.