Whevever possible, I only use materials that are sourced from UK suppliers and preferably from a small business - I believe that it is important to support our network of small businesses.
I also want to use the finest and most luxurious materials available and I use a lot of Swarovski crystals and glass pearls - I use an authorised UK Swarovski seller and buy bulk factory packs of pearls and crystals to save on packaging and transporation. Swarovski as a company have a pretty good environmental policy for a large organisation and their products are of the highest quality. There are big changes on the way for Swarovski in 2021 which will see production of a lot, if not all, of their crystal componenets stopped. I have quite a good stock of materials and can still purchase beads but as these changes occur some of my designs may not be able to be made with the same materials as before.
I also use Czech Preciosa glass pearls and crystals. Preciosa is another company that take their environmental responsibilities seriously and they have a comprehenisve green policy. They have a beautiful range of fire pressed glass beads and their glass pearls come in a lovely selection of colours.
I use Miyuki delica seed beads which are made from glass and produced by a small family owned Japanese business. I also use Toho glass seed beads to a lesser extent - all of which are sourced from UK suppliers.
All precious metals that I use are made from recycled materials - all sterling silver and gold is recycled and is purchased from two UK bullion dealers in Hatton Garden in London and Birmingham. I use brass wire and sheet for a lot of my designs - brass is nearly always recycled as it is not economically viable to produce new and I use a silver plated copper wire for a lot of my silver designs. I buy wire in bulk (I use a lot of it) as this saves on packaging and transportation costs. I do use cut brass leaves which I have cut for me by a lovely woman in the US so these are the only items I currently buy from overseas - I will eventually move to cutting all of my own leaves from sheet metals. I also use quite a bit of raw copper to make my headbands and this is recycled from my partner who is an electrician! I strip waste cable and re-purpose the copper wire - it makes the best headbands!
I do use freshwater pearls and natural gemstones in some of my designs and these are sourced from a company in Birmingham and a Cornish company who guarantee that their stones are fair trade.
I try to source vintage materials such as mother of pearl beads and jewellery so that I can re-use the materials in my designs - I love scouring vintage and antiques shops and markets to see what treasures I can find.
I do use silk ribbons which I purchase from small creative businesses that hand dye small batches of ribbon using natural plant based dyes. Wherever available, I will use peace silk or bamboo silk and eventually, I will only use ethical silk.