How to Become B-Corp: Interview with Ethical Jeweller Shakti Ellenwood
What would you like someone wearing Shakti Ellenwood to feel?
I intend for them to feel the high vibration of love my jewellery carries. Although I am a goldsmith, I'm primarily a healer and gold is the medium through which I have chosen to carry out my life's purpose. Whilst working with gold I sing ancient healing mantras and say blessings for the wearer. I like to think of my jewels as little gold prayers. If I'm making wedding bands, I put specific blessings into the rings for the couple's journey through life together. Many couples tell me they can feel it. I think it touches people's hearts in a way that manufactured jewellery never can.
Does your spirituality feed your work or is it the reverse?
I think they are inseparable. My spirituality is my work and visa versa.
What do you struggle with as a creator?
If I'm making a piece of jewellery for someone and they have emotional blockages that have not been dealt with, I'm often processing their pain as I work, which can feel like a struggle with the materials. These are my favourite pieces as I can help people make the changes they have been desperate to make. They will still need to do the work themselves but the jewellery can become a key to unlock their potential in this life.
What three words describe your designs?
ethical, earthy, mystical.
What would you be doing, if not jewellery?
I can't imagine doing anything else. I tried to give up a few times in the early, difficult years but there was nowhere else to go and I kept returning to my passion, which is goldsmithing.
Who would you love to see wearing your jewellery?
Russell Brand, Jodie Comer and Sam Taylor Johnson.
What do you return to for inspiriation?
First and foremost plant medicines. They are an amazing guidance tool and during the ceremony I always see jewels swirling around in my visions. Also fairytales, folklaw and ancient civilisations are my greatest source of inspiration.
What are your favourite stones to work with?
All the precious ones; diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.
Are there any fellow jewellers or creatives you admire?
Joel Arthur Rosenthal and Judy Geib. Both are mind-blowingly great in their own way. Somerset House had an exhibition of Joel's work in 2003. It was all in the dark with flashlights. I remember coming around a corner and my torch flashed on a collection of gem-encrusted butterflies. I burst into tears at the sheer beauty of it.
How challenging was your journey to become a B-Corp and why is it important for you to achieve this?
The road to becoming a b-corp was long and winding! Even though I knew that I was already doing my ethical best in all aspects of my business, it had to be proven and documented. B-Corp do a deep dive into how you conduct your business and so I set aside a few hours each week (for 12 months) to go through the assessment questions. I'm happy to say I passed with a score of 113.7 (the highest of any UK jeweller). The reason it was important for me to achieve this is that, amongst all the industry greenwashing, I wanted proof of my social and environmental impact on the world.
How has your relationship with jewellery changed since you began making?The overall aesthetic of my jewellery has changed very little in 25 years but my relationship with the materials has deepened. When I first started out, ethics and sustainability within the industry were unheard of. Also, the more I moved into the world of plant medicines, my connection to the gold became much deeper. I recognised that it naturally carries a high vibration, this is why you will see it in churches and mosques. One of the major reasons I only work with 18ct Fairtrade gold is because it has a purity that lends itself to my work as a healer.
What are some of most memorable moments of your brands journey
Most recently becoming B-Corp but also in the early days; having Kate Moss buy a few of my pieces and a collection of my snake rings were purchased for the entire cast of Salome on Broadway starring Al Pacino and Marisa Tomei in 2003.
I have a feeling my recent move to London will take pride of place on this list as I begin to develop and expand the brand. I'm very excited to see what unfolds over the next few years.