Brand Lebrusan Studio is this month marking its 10th anniversary in the jewellery business.
Arabel Lebrusan created Lebrusan Studio in 2012 as a brand representing fairness, traceability and sustainability.
In 10 years the business has gone from operating from its founder’s kitchen table to being the only company to win two awards at this month’s NAJ Awards.
“The decade that’s led to this point has been a journey of trials, triumphs, lessons and laughs – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Arabel Lebrusan said.
To celebrate the anniversary of its beginning, the Lebrusan Studio team has cast their minds back to come up with their 10 proudest achievements in the past 10 years…
1. Pioneering Fairtrade gold
In 2011, Arabel Lebrusan was selected, along with 15 other jewellers worldwide, to launch Fairtrade gold. Her first significant foray into the metal was Lebrusan Studio’s earliest bridal collections. Since gaining its Fairtrade certification all those years ago, Lebrusan Studio has continued to collaborate with Fairtrade.
2. Delivering a TEDx Talk on ethical jewellery
In 2014, Arabel Lebrusan was invited to deliver her own TEDx Talk in Bedford. At this time, the ethical dilemma of conflict diamonds and the issues in the gold mining process were well established, but were failing to drive the decisions of consumers and jewellers. Lebrusan saw this as an opportunity to make a compelling and memorable argument for ethical jewellery.
3. Winning the title of the NAJ’s Jewellery Designer of the Year
In 2017, Arabel Lebrusan was crowned Jewellery Designer of the Year by the NAJ. For Arabel, the pride derived from winning this accolade was twofold: she was overjoyed to be recognised for her creative flair, but particularly honoured to have received the recognition as a jeweller with an environmental and socioeconomic mission.
4. Discovering eco-friendly pearls in French Polynesia
In 2016, Lebrusan travelled to the Huahine pearl farm in French Polynesia, where black Tahitian pearls are harvested on a small scale and with minimal human intervention. After being put off by the idea of unethical pearl jewellery for many years, the discovery of pearls grown honestly and non-intrusively was a revelation for the designer, leading to some iconic black pearl commissions.
5. Visiting the Coodmilla mining cooperative in Colombia
In 2017, Arabel and her family travelled to La Llanada, a small town high in the mountains of Western Colombia, where Fairmined ecological gold is extracted.
6. Raising money for The Water Project
Lebrusan Studio has supported The Water Project since the beginning, meaning 10 years of quarterly donations. “We want to aid those without access to safe water in Sub-Saharan Africa, with our attention honed primarily onto Sierra Leone,” Lebrusan said. “Sierra Leone suffered 11 years of civil war, fuelled largely by feuds over the diamond mining industry and the traffic of blood diamonds. As an ethical jeweller we feel that it is our responsibility to right these wrongs.”
7. Exploring traceable and fair-traded sapphires in Sri Lanka
In 2019, Arabel Lebrusan embarked on a research trip in Sri Lanka, learning about the mining, cutting, polishing and trading of sapphires. She visited some of the gemstone mines Sri Lanka is famous for, spent time with an expert gemstone cutter who began teaching her the tricks of his trade, and visited a trade show where she established relationships with international suppliers.
8. Joining the London Diamond Bourse
In 2020 Lebrusan Studio announced its membership to the historic and world-famous London Diamond Bourse, nestled in the heart of Hatton Garden. “We were so excited to lay our roots in this inner-city hub. The London Diamond Bourse is rich in history and cultural significance, making it a fantastic environment for seeking inspiration. It enables us to offer our clients a memorable and authentic experience,” said Lebrusan.
9. Launching gender-neutral commitment rings for LGBTQ+ clients
In 2021 Lebrusan Studio lifted the lid on Freedom, its new collection of gender-neutral combinable commitment rings for its LGBTQ+ clientele. The founder said: “The inspiration behind this flexible collection is the eclectic variety of clients to walk through our doors on a weekly basis, and our fundamental desire to ensure that nobody feels pigeonholed when shopping for personal jewellery.”
10. Raising £1,000 for the Global March Against Child Labour
In acknowledgement of 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, Lebrusan Studio spent six months gathering funds for the Global March Against Child Labour.