Today is the 8th June 2020—World Oceans Day.
One of my first vivid memories was aged about 8 on holiday on the Red Sea in Egypt—snorkelling and seeing coral for the very first time. I remember so clearly being totally staggered by the colour and textures, that I had simply never imagined living beneath the sea; a world that I had no concept of. As an adult I have been lucky enough to travel to some truly spectacular places and yet, wherever I have been since, the coral never seems to come close to what I saw that day. I still don’t know if it was all the more vibrant and impressive because it was the first, or if coral today is something quite different, because of the state of our oceans?
Whichever way, it was the inspiration for my recent Hidden Reef
collection, a vibrant collection, sprinkled with orange and pink Sapphires.
When I started designing jewellery, nature was, and still is, a constant source of inspiration. My mother had a wet fish business based on the south coast of England which I inherited after she died, and I spent many early mornings by the sea for years after. After starting Links of London my husband John and I visited the Philippines, where we produced our jewellery, two or three times a year—I love the country and the people. We visited so many islands during those years and on each visit I was reminded of how many people depend on the sea; the same as the fisherman I had first worked with. The Philippines is also home to the pinctada maxima oyster which produces the exquisite golden pearl. My Golden Pearls
collection, sourced directly from pearl farmers in Ilo Ilo, pays homage to this natural bounty; but is sadly entirely at the mercy of the oceans’ health. Even a small change in sea temperature can threaten an entire crop.
It was a chance meeting with a producer from the BBC’s Blue Planet that truly shocked me. She shared with me that a staggering 85% of the plastic found in the ocean is old or broken nylon fishing net. Having been so closely connected to this industry, I wanted to capture that idea and I went on to translate this concept into my Lattice
collection—to remind us of the nets that are consuming our oceans. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Rosalie Mann who founded No More Plastic, the non-profit ocean preservation foundation Imparting her knowledge
, Rosalie has hugely broadened my understanding of the impact the world is having on our oceans.
We have worked to raise awareness of this truly fantastic charity and have donated over £10,000 to support their latest campaign “The Truth About Plastic”
, which launches today on World Oceans Day. If nothing changes, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050, which is an utterly heart-breaking prospect. Single use plastic makes up 50% of plastic pollution; a problem which is now being exacerbated by disposable PPE equipment finding its way into the sea.
Much like the pandemic we currently face, no matter where you live or what your circumstance may be, the sea touches us all. It provides energy, regulates the weather, supplies food and medicine, as well as supporting communities of people whose livelihoods depend on its health. It also houses an unrivalled diversity of species, in a sensitive and complex eco-system; and yet every year, the amount of plastic produced around the world is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. 91% of this plastic is not recycled and an estimated 8 million metric tonnes of this ends up in the ocean!
“The Truth About Plastic” seeks to educate us further and find solutions that we, as individuals, can adopt. As a business our values always circle back to longevity, we produce 18 carat gold jewellery, which has an intrinsic and enduring value. We promise to improve and move things on, so that we can protect the unique ecology hidden beneath the surface of our oceans, which we may still be lucky enough to see first-hand in our lifetimes.
Please support this campaign for the benefit of future generations.