At Temple St. Clair, we strive to be a positive, inspirational force not only in the creation of beautiful jewels but also in how we exist in the world. We are committed to conducting business in a manner that recognizes our responsibility towards a broad system of people, values, other organizations and the natural world. We see our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a way to give back to the world that supports us.
As a current member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), we are in the final stages of the stringent audit and certification process as put forth by the RJC's international guidelines and standards. Our full certification is anticipated in early 2021.
The Responsible Jewellery Council is the world's leading standard-setting organization for the entire jewelry and watch industry. Our goals for achieving sustainability are grounded in our respect for human rights and in our commitment to protecting and preserving the Earth. We will continue to update this statement and to share information on sustainability efforts and achievements at Temple St. Clair as we complete the certification process and as we continue to create and refine best practices. This is an ongoing endeavor as we strive to be better and better at what we do. It is our desire to be a leader in the future of sustainability and responsible stewardship within the jewelry industry.
At Temple St. Clair, we are guided by our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as put forth by the United Nations General Assembly.
It all starts at home. At our offices and studio in New York City, we are committed to providing a workplace that upholds human rights with regard to safe, fair and non-discriminatory practices and conditions. We have always embraced and enjoyed a diverse team, and each Temple St. Clair employee is given a mandate to integrate these best practices within the framework of every individual's job responsibilities.
It takes an extended global village of communication, cooperation, and transparency to mind the wellbeing of each and every person that we work with. We are committed to ethical working practices at home and abroad.
We have worked with many of our sourcing and manufacturing partners in the US and across the globe for years, if not decades. We actively communicate to all of our business partners, old and new, our expectation that at every touch point full human rights policies and sustainable practices are adhered to, including unjust labor practices, from forced labor to human trafficking. As jewelers, we must pay exacting attention to the process of identifying precious metal and gemstone vendors who demonstrate a verifiable commitment to a transparent, responsible supply chain that respects human rights and sustainable environmental practices.
This is a "living" policy; we all work together to review, refine, and evolve, internally and at every step in the supply chain. This evolution is strengthened when we actively communicate Temple St. Clair's human rights principles throughout our entire network. We invite our partners, suppliers and customers to join in the ongoing efforts to support and implement these values.
MATERIALS & SOURCING
We are committed to the responsible procurement of precious gemstones and metals and all materials that we work with. This commitment requires adherence to and close attention to best practices in human rights and the environment.
Given our knowledge of its best and worst practices, and our understanding of the potential impacts -both harmful and beneficial- of our industry's work, we are committed to procuring gemstones and precious metals responsibly, along with all of the additional materials we use in our work.
To meet our values, Temple St Clair will immediately suspend or discontinue engagement with upstream suppliers where we identify a reasonable risk that they are linked to any party committing abuses of any kind, and where measurable, reasonable attempts at mitigation are not successful. At the same time, we will engage with suppliers, central or local governmental authorities, international organizations, civil society and affected third parties, as appropriate, to improve and track performance with a view to preventing or mitigating risks of adverse impacts.
At Temple St. Clair, we are known for our fine gold work. A fascination with this precious metal and its history are what first inspired Temple to explore jewelry, and so maintaining the highest possible standard is extremely important to us. Our gold is obtained only from sustainable sources certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council. Currently these gold sources include recycled gold and Fairtrade Gold. Fairtrade Gold supports small-scale miners to receive a fair deal for their hard work, as well as protecting the environment, family and community livelihoods.
Most all of our jewels are made in 18K gold, meaning approximately 75% (or more) pure gold alloyed with a 25% alloy mix of silver and copper to obtain our signature yellow gold. To verify the integrity of our pieces and protect our clients, we regularly test our gold (a process known as "assaying") to make sure our manufacturers are adhering to the correct level of pure gold in each jewel. We require that all of our gold is "750 plumb" meaning just over the 75% pure gold content. Each of our gold jewels is marked with our "temple" hallmark of authenticity and "750" to indicate 18K gold.
At Temple St. Clair, we are also known for our use of color in the way of beautiful colored gemstones. We are extremely discerning when it comes to the color and quality of our gems, both cabochon cut and faceted. We have a very high rejection rate in our procurement of gems, choosing each gem individually for cut, color, saturation, brilliance, and minimal to no treatment.
Certain gemstone treatments, such as heating, are accepted industry wide. At Temple St. Clair, we allow as little treatment as possible to our gems; we never use gemstones treated with chemicals, radiation, or other unnatural forms of color treatment. For that reason, you will not find certain gems in our offerings such as blue topaz (always radiated) and dyed quartz. At most, we employ heat treatment to stabilize color (typical for sapphires and many tourmalines) or mild natural oil application (primarily for emeralds). Whenever possible, we use gems with no treatment whatsoever. Our signature blue moonstone is an example of a gem that is not treated in any way.
Transparency around gem treatments is particularly necessary since certain treated gems may require special care; we adhere to.
Regarding sourcing, colored gemstones are often difficult to trace, since most originate from small-scale, artisanal mines. While verifying provenance can be challenging, Temple St. Clair requires its gem suppliers to identify the country of origin or probable country of origin, and to disclose any form of treatment on every gemstone that we use.. Gemstones provided to us are laboratory tested on a cyclical basis, and our gem acquisition staff is committed to the company's goal to achieve 100% verifiably sustainable and responsibly sourced materials by the end of 2022.
At Temple St. Clair we use only natural, untreated, Kimberley Process certified diamonds. Our minimum diamond quality for clarity and color are VS1 and G-H respectively; we rely on these industry-standard classifications to accurately communicate the high quality of our gems.
Our diamonds are conflict-free and sourced only from suppliers that adhere to the guidelines established by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). Our suppliers must participate in our vendor approval program that requires signed agreements confirming that all diamonds presented to us for purchase are Kimberley Process guaranteed. In addition, our suppliers -as with all of our partners- must pledge to comply with our high standards for human rights and fair labor practices.
Along with larger leaders in the jewelry sector, we recognize that it is vital for us to come to terms with the significant risks associated with the extracting, trading, handling, and exporting of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas (CAHRAs). CAHRA's are identified based primarily on human rights threats associated with labor conditions, abusive governance, conflict, or mineral flows where undeclared high-risk sources may enter a supply chain. Accordingly, we have implemented a thorough risk-assessment management system for responsible sourcing of minerals from these areas and (b) established policies that we widely disseminate and incorporate in agreements with suppliers. We will continue to research and communicate with other organizations such as the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) as we strive to go even beyond the Kimberley Process to ensure the quality of our sourcing.
In the past few years, another challenge has arisen: synthetic diamonds have made their way into the supply chain of even the most reliable suppliers. At our home office, we have acquired instruments for testing diamonds to ensure that no synthetic diamonds make their way undetected in to our jewels; we test each and every gem ourselves adding this additional layer of security and assurance to our customers.
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT & ENERGY USE
Temple St. Clair draws infinite inspiration from the natural world. We believe it is our role and duty to help to protect the planet in every way that we can both at work and beyond.
We are committed to continually monitoring and improving our environmental performance, reducing environmental impacts, incorporating environmental factors into business decisions, and increasing employee awareness and training. The same attention to detail that we apply in the design process is brought to bear on every aspect of our operation, so that our actions can match our values. We have established rigorous environmental goals that comply with and exceed all relevant regulatory requirements.
In practice, this means that we want to reduce our reliance on plastic. We are working to eliminate use of plastic in our shipping materials by choosing alternatives for bubble wrap and other plastic lined materials. We are also requesting that vendors move away from plastic and styrofoam when they ship to us. When we do need to use plastic, we seek to treat it carefully as reuseable material.
As far as our daily practices in the offices and studio, we are moving towards changing our daily behavior and habits to become more and more sustainable - from replacing a plastic water system with a Berkey Water Filter that sustainably filters tap water to eliminating the use of single use plastic food utensils and containers. We are reaching out to urge outside food vendors to move to sustainable, recyclable containers. We are examining all paper-packaging materials to make sure they are made from recyclable materials. At the same time, we are generally moving to reduce use of paper in favor of keeping purely digital files. We also manage our studio's energy consumption with attention to temperature control and an eye toward supplying all the required elements of our work - such as AC units, copiers and printers, kitchen appliances, etc. - with efficient and environmentally friendly products wherever possible.
Given its carbon intensity, we restrict our transportation to necessary trips only, and when we can, we rely on e-mail or video conferencing to communicate with our extended network of vendors, artisans and clients around the world. When local travel is required, TSC employees make every effort to use public transportation or bicycles. Just as with our office devices, when we must rent or lease vehicles, we opt for 'green' vehicles and keep them well-maintained to ensure ongoing efficiency.
For our business to achieve its goal of sustainability, we know that we must proactively communicate these measures to every member of our team, as well as to our customers. Staff members are provided with environmental training, and we work with suppliers, contractors, and sub-contractors to bring sustainability to the fore.
These efforts cover a wide range of details and materials. We will update our information here as we find solutions so that this may aid others to arrive at more sustainable modes of working and living and taking care of our planet. We welcome solutions from friends and colleagues as alternatives are created and found. We are all in this together..
PHILANTHROPY & COMMUNITY
Temple St. Clair is devoted to supporting community, the arts and to addressing global issues close to our heart.
Temple currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Big Life Foundation dedicated to preserving wildlife and lands in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem of East Africa. We also support Lion Guardians, working with the Maasai tribes in Kenya to protect lions. Temple has been a spokesperson and advocate for coral conservation through the Too Precious to Wear Campaign, which targeted the destructive use of coral in the jewelry industry. Nearer to home in New York City, we focus our support on SAFH, an East Village organization that has provided food and assistance to the homeless for over 30 years; we have been dedicated to sustaining their mission for the last two decades.
Support of the arts is also a foundational part of our company's ethos; we see ourselves as a part of the broader community of artists, and regularly give back to those whose creative work in dance and literature often inspires our own.
To learn more about each of these initiatives (and to lend your support), explore our Philanthropy page.
2020 ANNUAL REPORT
For over 35 years, Temple St. Clair has enjoyed tremendous success as one of America’s leading women jewelry designers and creative entrepreneurs.
Conservation and philanthropy have always been a part of the company’s mission.
In 2020, to expand upon that mission, TSC’s executive management team initiated a rigorous process to strengthen the company’s foundation in sustainability by implementing a comprehensive Responsible Business Practices program.
To launch this initiative, TSC chose to engage with the sustainability certification program created by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), globally recognized as the jewelry industry’s foremost standards-setting and certification body. TSC’s timeline for achieving certification is early 2021.
TSC commenced the process of developing far-reaching sustainability systems for its New York City headquarters as well as measurable compliance standards for its extensive supply chain.
The RJC’s Code of Practices system sets a rigorous framework ensuring greater protection of human rights and financial accountability, proper/humane labor policies and practices, energy and environmental stewardship, safe and healthy working conditions for all stages contributing to TSC’s product, transparent product disclosure, and meaningful, effective community engagement.
The company’s first step was to identify, gather, and review local and federal laws applicable to all areas of the Temple St. Clair business.
In addition, the company looked to leading international organizations and guidelines such as the U.N. Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights; Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (CAHRA); and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
Upon thorough review of applicable laws and guidelines by TSC senior management, policies and procedures appropriate to the Temple St. Clair business were created to address the practices of the company and its supply chain in areas that include human rights, product disclosure, CAHRA, KPCS, metals and gemstone testing, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering (AML), labor and wages, energy and environment, health and safety, and community initiatives.
All gemstone and manufacturing suppliers were asked to read and sign Temple St. Clair’s “Supplier Code of Conduct” statement which conveys the company’s commitment and expectations in the areas above.
A supply chain due diligence management system was created and utilized to identify potential risks at each touch point in the company’s supply chain. We began by reviewing the practices of each TSC manufacturer as well as major gemstone suppliers by issuing a comprehensive questionnaire covering key areas of working conditions, energy & environmental programs, labor and human rights policies, fiscal safeguards, and community initiatives.
The data was reviewed and, based on responses, suppliers and manufacturers were rated by level of risk to determine if serious “red flags” were present – i.e., areas that required additional levels of inquiry with regard to responsible business practices, in particular human rights.
TSC followed up by seeking further explanations where needed, and wherever possible, additional documentation was provided. Our ongoing strategy is to regularly investigate, monitor and verify that responsible practices across all areas continue to improve and evolve.
100% of TSC diamonds are Kimberly Process Certified (KPCS). TSC is seeking additional support via audits and/or alternate certifications to ensure that the KP designations were certified properly.
100% of gold and alloys used in TSC products were verified as responsibly sourced through RJC certified suppliers, along with similar certification entities, verifying the use of best practices. Manufacturers supplied ample documentation that confirmed that metals were either recycled and/or originated from certified, responsible mining entities.
TSC’s primary colored gemstone suppliers tend to acquire material directly from mines and are able to verify proper practices, safe and humane conditions, and procedures for environmental stewardship.
Medium-to-smaller-sized colored gemstone suppliers tend to work through more than one upstream provider. Most all expressed strong, longstanding relationships with their supply chain partners, most of which are artisanal in nature.
Many of TSC’s direct colored gemstone suppliers cited cases where they provide various forms of support at both the mining and cutting location(s), or within the communities of the upstream suppliers. However, documentation in the form of site audits and certifications was scarce.
Accordingly, TSC has established a 12-month goal to achieve 100% documented responsible gem sourcing practices and policies. TSC will work closely with important smaller suppliers to generate inspection certifications by connecting suppliers with international NGO’s that specialize in bringing proper, sustainable practices to artisanal gemstone miners and cutters. Suppliers that cannot, over time, provide verification will be replaced with those that can.
Key 2020 Accomplishments
A company-wide sustainability management system was created and put in place.
TSC created and implemented policies and procedures that will ensure a continual focus on, and strengthening of responsible and sustainable business practices.
TSC’s Sustainability Committee designed and implemented a supply chain due diligence system for manufacturers and gemstone suppliers.
The company’s full staff was trained in applicable laws, TSC policies and procedures, product disclosures, and in general, a comprehensive understanding of the sustainability “mindset” required in all areas of the TSC business.
TSC began communications about our sustainability program not only with suppliers, but also with clients and retail partners.
TSC has published this new Sustainability section on our website that will provide ongoing updates and visibility in to TSC’s policies, products, and state of progress in the development of its program and practices.
An ongoing, year-round oversight schedule was designed to monitor compliance and the progress of goals.
Philanthropy in 2020
Temple St. Clair has a tradition of giving back by supporting initiatives that are close to our hearts in community, conservation and art. In 2020, we supported the following initiatives:
SAFH Services and Food for the Homeless - Throughout the early COVID spike and further in to the pandemic, food banks in New York City have been overwhelmed with those in need. TSC gave a gift to SAFH that provided three months worth of meals to the homeless.
Big Life Foundation – Since 2019, Temple has been a member of Big Life’s Advisory Board. In 2020, Temple St. Clair donated funds that support full annual salaries for 21 rangers that work to protect wild life and lands in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem. This gift extends to the annual support 210 of the rangers’ family members in the Maasai community.
Lion Guardians – TSC provided an annual gift to Lion Guardians. Support to this Kenyan-based conservation organization provides local Maasai tribes with tools to effectively mitigate conflicts between people and wildlife, to monitor lion populations, and to help their own communities live with lions.
NarrativeMagazine.org - Narrative supports literacy, the literary arts and provides an extensive free online library to readers and teachers around the world. TSC provides ongoing support to Narrative and re-launched the “Tell Me A Story” Pendant. Proceeds from the pendant go to Narrative.
The Yard at Martha's Vineyard – Providing Creation Residencies for artists. This unique residency program provides room, board, transport, and stipend to both upcoming and established artists from around the world to live, work, create and perform on the Yard’s campus. Temple & her husband, a former modern dancer have been involved in supporting dance and choreography for decades.
Read more about Temple St. Clair’s philanthropic endeavors.
Key Goals for 2021
Instill an ongoing Sustainability “mindset” throughout the TSC culture.
Establish that a minimum 90% of gemstones in TSC jewelry are deemed “responsible & sustainable” through proper documentation or otherwise reliable forms of verification. Our goal will be 100% compliance by the end of 2021.
Forge relationships with NGO’s that can support TSC’s suppliers in establishing sustainability “frameworks” that ensure greater confidence in supply chain practices.
Ensure that TSC shipping and packaging supplies are composed of eco-friendly materials. Require that our suppliers ship to us with only recyclable and/or compostable materials.
Working towards 100% plastic free workplace. Actively seeking alternatives to plastic bag usage for jewelry storage.
Eliminate personal single-use plastics in the workplace, particularly take-out containers. To help the TSC team achieve this goal, we will work to identify local vendors that provide sustainable delivery systems.
Review and upgrade (where possible) office lighting, AC, heating, electrical, and appliances for those with optimal energy efficiency.
Expand our philanthropic focus to create evergreen initiatives that continue to support community, conservation and art.