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Designers Doing Good
Pippa Small

While working on human rights issues for an NGO in Borneo, Pippa Small noticed many in the community creating traditional crafts to generate extra income. Taken by the beauty of the workmanship and the generations-old skills used to make each piece, she knew if the artisans could find a wider market, they could make a real living. This, in turn, would mean fewer forced migrations to find work and more stability for economies, families and villages. Her experience designing her own jewelry provided the bridge, and her first collaboration, with the San Bushman in the Kalahari desert of Botswana, was 15 years ago.

While working on human rights issues for an NGO in Borneo, Pippa Small noticed many in the community creating traditional crafts to generate extra income. Taken by the beauty of the workmanship and the generations-old skills used to make each piece, she knew if the artisans could find a wider market, they could make a real living. This, in turn, would mean fewer forced migrations to find work and more stability for economies, families and villages. Her experience designing her own jewelry provided the bridge, and her first collaboration, with the San Bushman in the Kalahari desert of Botswana, was 15 years ago.

PS Mainline

Cup Ring
Pippa Small
Cup Ring
$830
Cup Ring
Pippa Small
Cup Ring
$830
Flower Shower Drop Earrings
Pippa Small
Flower Shower Drop Earrings
$690
Classic Stud Earrings
Pippa Small
Classic Stud Earrings
$590
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“I think the role of the master craftsman—the skills, ability, experience, specialization—and the role of the handmade will become more valuable and will be seen as true luxury.”
Pippa Small

Celebrating Artisans

Small has since worked with many communities in Panama and Chile. Also, this year marks the tenth anniversary of her partnership with Turquoise Mountain, which was founded in Afghanistan to revive traditional crafts. The designer collaborates with and employs the artisans trained by the foundation’s three-year jewelry-making program. More recently, Turquoise Mountain extended its work into Myanmar, a country with a rich history in delicate gold jewelry, and Small is working with them to help revive it. “I’d like to see artisans’ stories told alongside the pieces, so they are not invisible and voiceless,” she says. “In fashion, we are constantly inspired by traditional and indigenous designs, it is nice to acknowledge this.”

Small has since worked with many communities in Panama and Chile. Also, this year marks the tenth anniversary of her partnership with Turquoise Mountain, which was founded in Afghanistan to revive traditional crafts. The designer collaborates with and employs the artisans trained by the foundation’s three-year jewelry-making program. More recently, Turquoise Mountain extended its work into Myanmar, a country with a rich history in delicate gold jewelry, and Small is working with them to help revive it. “I’d like to see artisans’ stories told alongside the pieces, so they are not invisible and voiceless,” she says. “In fashion, we are constantly inspired by traditional and indigenous designs, it is nice to acknowledge this.”

Turquoise Mountain Afghanistan

Ruz Ring
Pippa Small
Ruz Ring
$275
Afsana Earrings
Pippa Small
Afsana Earrings
$190
Small Square Studs
Pippa Small
Small Square Studs
$95
Afsana Pendant
Pippa Small
Afsana Pendant
$225
Afsana Ring
Pippa Small
Afsana Ring
$110
Qamar Pendant
Pippa Small
Qamar Pendant
$300
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Ethical Materials

Some of Small’s gold is sourced from the the world’s first registered fair-trade gold mine, in the Bolivian Andes. That means safer conditions for the workers, fair pay and that a premium is paid for the gold itself. The extra money funds community-based health and education programs. Small also uses stones gathered by the local women in Myanmar. They sort through rubble searching for rubies, sapphires, tourmalines and peridots, and then sell what they find at an all-female market nearby. “We are part of a growing movement to understand who is behind the processes of making. People want to be sure what they buy is empowering, not exploiting.”

Some of Small’s gold is sourced from the the world’s first registered fair-trade gold mine, in the Bolivian Andes. That means safer conditions for the workers, fair pay and that a premium is paid for the gold itself. The extra money funds community-based health and education programs. Small also uses stones gathered by the local women in Myanmar. They sort through rubble searching for rubies, sapphires, tourmalines and peridots, and then sell what they find at an all-female market nearby. “We are part of a growing movement to understand who is behind the processes of making. People want to be sure what they buy is empowering, not exploiting.”

“I have always been beguiled by stones, by stories and symbols, meanings and the magic around them. The formation of stones deep in the earth and the energies that are involved in the creation of gems.”
Pippa Small
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