Gold jewelry has grown in recognition in recent times, because of manufacturers like Missoma, Orelia, and Astrid + Miyu, who’ve helped make traditional items extra reasonably priced and accessible by way of gold plating and using brass metals. But what lots of people do not find out about gold is that the purer kinds have an inherently restricted provide, and there’s a probability that we cannot be capable of get far more of it sooner or later. With an ever-increasing demand, and with mining turning into much less economically possible and sustainable by the day, it is now extra essential than ever to facilitate the recycling of gold, one thing that new jewelry model Aurum LDN prides itself on.
The genius behind Aurumn LDN is Karly Wake, who was born and bred in Leeds, and moved to London seeking alternative. She based the preowned jewelry model as a method to encourage extra individuals to purchase classic and actual gold jewelry. In simply over a 12 months, her classic finds have been worn by the likes of Kara Marni, Julie Adenuga, and Ella Eyre, in addition to Maya Jama’s stylist, Alizé Demange. Before lockdown hit in December, I met Wake at White City House in West London, the place we caught up over a scorching chocolate and a espresso milkshake, to speak in regards to the rise of preowned jewelry, how she sources items for Aurum LDN, and what’s subsequent for the model.
Wake’s been working as a purchaser for Paul Smith for 9 years now, taking care of the model’s collaborations. “Jewellery was the part of the job that I liked the most” she mentioned. But like with any job, there are ups and downs, and it was throughout a very worrying time at work that her boyfriend turned to her and requested, ‘What do you need to do along with your life?'” which (understandably) left her questioning every little thing.
The dialog led Wake to comply with her goals and begin her personal factor. Wake’s boyfriend additionally has his personal enterprise, which impressed her to consider that she was extra than simply her 9-to-5. “Where I’ve grown up in Leeds, it all was very orientated to having a 9-to-5. There wasn’t anything creative, and I never really saw having my own business as something that was in my reach until now”, she advised me. As somebody who’d at all times solely ever worn actual gold (quite a lot of her jewelry are hand-me-downs from her mum), Wake knew early on that gold was going to be the primary focus. “People were always asking me where my jewellery was from. Whenever I said to them that they were from a market, everyone would turn their noses up at it”, she mentioned. “I started sourcing little bits for people and just repackaging it in nicer wrapping, just for friends at first, making a little mark up on top. Then I realised, there’s a market for this.”
In style, with the dialog round sustainability rising louder and louder, the notion of shopping for classic and secondhand garments has grow to be extra mainstream. Jewellery, however, has been slower to leap on the preowned bandwagon. “There is a tendency with the younger generations to want everything new and it has to be branded and look expensive”, Wake defined. “If you took them to a little pawn shop in a small town they’re more likely to turn their nose up at it”, she added. For Wake, this false impression of preowned is why branding and schooling is so essential to Aurum. “You can often get secondhand jewellery a lot cheaper, even though it’s got so much more detail than something that you’re buying new,” Wake added. That’s as a result of once you’re shopping for older items of jewelry, you are now not paying for the labour prices however the intrinsic metallic alone. This is not fairly the identical for brand spanking new jewelry, the place you pay for the value of the metallic alongside labour.
It’s not simply high quality you are getting procuring secondhand. In the age of restricted drops and ticketed raffles, the hunt to search out essentially the most distinctive and one-off piece has by no means been extra actual. Luckily, restricted drops are one thing that Aurum specialises in. “I did a drop yesterday, and two of the earrings sold in a couple of hours, and it’s because there’s only one”, she advised me. For her clients, figuring out that Wake won’t ever discover something prefer it once more is a giant incentive to purchase.
Wake does not ascribe to the standard one-size-fits-all method in a wide range of methods. Aside from promoting one-off classic finds, Aurum LDN additionally presents ring resizing and a scrap service. For a majority of items that do not have engraving, she’s capable of noticed the gold and soften it all the way down to the scale required by the client, a course of that takes just some hours. The scrap service permits you to both weigh your gold your self and ship off the measurements, or ship the items to Aurum, who then weigh it and supply a quote. You’ll then be supplied a credit score to spend on-site, while Wake and her workforce soften down the items you’ve got despatched over so as to recycle the gold. On uncommon events, gadgets shall be despatched over which can be far too valuable to soften down, so that they’re cleaned up and repaired if essential after which resold on the positioning.
Next on the agenda for Aurum is taking the scrap service one step additional and creating an in-person trade (when it is secure sufficient to take action, after all), the place clients can have their items valued and have the chance to swap them for one thing they’re extra prone to put on. It’s fairly genius and an effective way to utilize any damaged jewelry that is been sat in your field for ages.
When it involves sourcing these classic items, there appears to be quite a lot of fact within the age-old saying, “it’s who you know”. “Because a lot of people know I’m doing this now, there’s always someone who’s got a mum or a grandma that wants to get rid of some gold”, that means that quite a lot of her items are found by way of family and friends.
Charity and pawn retailers have their place, too, with Wake citing East London’s Roman Road as an space that she frequents for its gold retailers. There are massive jewelry quarters everywhere in the UK, she mentioned, with Birmingham, London, and Glasgow being among the most notable. Jewellery items from every of those areas have their very own hallmark, so you’ll be able to examine your rings and see the place they could have come from. If your ring has a lion’s head on the internal band, it is from London, and an anchor symbolises Birmingham. Typically, the hallmarks are too troublesome to see with out magnifying them, however for jewellers like Wake, it is a simple method to monitor a bit’s journey.
When it involves checking the standard and the carat, particular assessments must be accomplished, too. The high a part of the piece is filed away, to examine if it is plated, after which an acid is positioned on high, earlier than merging with one other chemical. The acid does not have an effect on actual gold, and the added chemical modifications color based on the carat. Processes like these assist to determine the true worth of the gold you would possibly already personal, one thing that Aurum LDN seeks to assist its consumers with.
For these of us who need to start curating a extra sustainable jewelry assortment however could not know the place to start, the reply is easy. Research your metals. “A lot of the time, if you’re reading gold on a product description, they might just mean gold in colour. You think you’re buying something gold, and then it turns out that it’s plated, and it turns silver in a few months, and you end up throwing it away,” Wake mentioned. “There’s a lot of places where you can buy recycled gold” and, she revealed that you could even purchase it in sheet or wire kind for final customisation. People usually come to Wake asking for recommendation on different manufacturers and what to purchase, so evidently honing in on the schooling facet of what to look out for is certainly within the playing cards for Aurum.
Already sourcing merchandise for potential consumers, with tonnes of individuals in her DMs asking her to assist discover the right T bar or huggie hoops, procuring at Aurum LDN is basically like having your individual private shopper, however for actual gold and true classic. The extra private expertise tends to be the case with small and unbiased companies, the place homeowners like Wake are the advertising, PR, and manufacturing departments multi function.
Plans for the long run embody getting a small bodily location, so Wake can join much more together with her consumers and begin to educate gold newbies like us on issues like hallmarks and carats, with a particular emphasis on the extra bespoke aspect of her companies. As an avid real-gold wearer myself (thanks, mum!), I’m undoubtedly going to be one among her first guests.
Check out Aurum LDN at their web site or comply with them on Instagram.
Image Source: Aurum LDN