THE STORY OF FAIR GOLD
High Jewellery with responsibility - that's what Vieri stands for.
The Berlin-based label designs handcrafted jewellery made of recycled gold and promotes better working conditions in mining all over the world.
Guya Merkle proves that you can respect an almost eighty year old company history and still think progressively. After the death of her father Eddy Vieri Merkle, an jewellery entrepreneur, the 21-year-old German-Italian-Belgian took over the business in 2007 - and radically changed it. Vieri had not only produced jewellery since its founding in 1939, it had also supplied jewellery to other companies in the industry. Guya Merkle decided to concentrate on her own collections. As well as on her own values.
Guya Merkle, CEO of Vieri
She studied at the Gemological Institute of America, an important jewelry and stone academy. It provided her with the necessary know-how, but where she also left with unanswered questions: Where does the gold that the industry uses come from? And under what conditions is it produced in? 2012 she travelled to Peru - and faced scenes there that changed her understanding of luxury forever.
"The majority of the gold that is now being processed into jewellery comes from mines like the ones I visited: they are in danger of collapsing and they make people ill".
25 million people worldwide, including children, work in the so-called small-scale mining, many of them are illegally employed. They dig the gold by hand, often barefoot, and come into contact with toxic quicksilver.
Her vision: sustainably improved production conditions
Guya Merkle decided to found the "Earthbeat Foundation". Her vision: sustainably improved production conditions. Instead of just condemning everything, to develop income alternatives together with the gold workers, as well as education for children and medical support.
Children in a community supported by the Earthbeat Foundation in Uganda
With her jewellery she brings together everything she believes in: High-quality jewellery that is not only produced under responsible conditions, but also has the greatest possible impact.
"It is my vision to build a company that not only acts and produces responsibly, but also makes the world a more beautiful and better place through its products", Guya Merkle.
Already for some time, Guya has been using only recycled gold for her label Vieri.
For her latest collection "Essentials" she has teamed up with the Dutch start-up Closing the Loop. The Dutch start-up was founded with the goal of reducing electrical waste. Closing the Loop buys and collects "old phones" in African countries, where many mobile phones from Europe and the USA are disposed of. On site they are dismantled under social and ecological conditions, so that old phones become valuable resources and an income for people in developing countries. The goal: to prevent mobile phones from ending up in landfills.
Mobile phones also contain gold. Guya is using this gold, which is extracted from electronic scrap, for its current collection. And it proves how high-quality and charming Circular Economy can be.