ondon-based Eden Diodati, founded by lawyer-turned-designer Jennifer Ewah, is a prime example of a brand that is passionate in the pursuit of social justice and meets Millennial consumers’ demands for the highest ethical standards in luxury jewellery. Jennifer tells David Brough about her motivation to help improve the lives of women in Rwanda, victims of the 1990s genocide, who belong to a cooperative that supplies hand-beading to Eden Diodati for the brand’s ethical collections.
The ethno-minimalist designs of Eden Diodati luxury jewellery, inspired by global cultures, meet the high ethical standards in the sourcing of jewellery sought by the new generation of consumers, especially as they support vulnerable artisan groups.
Creative Director and founder Jennifer Ewah was shocked by the brutality of the genocide in Rwanda and is now helping some of its victims through her jewellery brand. Women belonging to a cooperative there supply intricately crafted beading to Eden Diodati and receive a premium income. Each Eden Diodati piece of jewellery, depending on the style, affords the cooperative between 10 and 20 times the payment for the hand-beading in terms of time spent at work relative to their staple weaving of peace baskets, homeware items which on average, each require 80,000 stitches. “I am originally from Africa and watched reports of the 1994 Tutsi genocide from London with utter horror,” Jennifer said. “So I made contact with the ladies. Subsequently, I boarded a plane to Kigali.” Jennifer’s vision, realised through research, development, and relationship building with the cooperative, is to use her passion for designing jewellery to support and empower the women, who are genocide survivors, but more importantly highly skilled artisans. Some of the women were raped and contracted HIV, or tragically suffered the loss of family members during the genocide. “Eden Diodati is a brand which aims to evoke inner beauty, by actively seeking out socially marginalised women to support, and through an ethical business approach of love and inclusiveness, always through elevated design, to showcase the craftsmanship of my partner artisans who have triumphed in the face of adversity,” she said.
“Through the creation of each Eden Diodati piece, hand-beaded with tiny Swarovski crystals, utilising phenomenally intricate wire-work, the ladies in the cooperative, our customers and supporters become part of a utopian circle driven by positive social good.” Millennial consumers are insisting upon high ethical standards across the luxury spectrum, including jewellery, Jennifer said. “The Millennial generation especially (as well as Generation X and Gen Z) are calling for more positive accountability for social sustainability, brand social impact, and a fair and equitable sharing of social and economic benefits throughout the supply chain,” she said in a recent interview at the Vicenza gold jewellery fair, VICENZAORO. “It is anathema to me and to them that ‘a thing of beauty’ can be a product that comes at the cost of the blood, toil, enslavement, and tears of another human being in any systemically unethical supply chain.” Millennial consumers had become more disaffected by large luxury brands, she said. “We live in a world where luxury brand patronage is shrinking within younger generations who show less loyalty to mega-brands,” she said. “We are not seeing conspicuous consumption amongst Millennials in their purchasing habits and even if they do not shop exclusively ethically, they care about other people on other continents who have experienced trauma or exploitation.” Jennifer is now aiming to use Fairtrade gold and silver in the manufacture of future Eden Diodati collections.“Our first collection was gold-plated brass but the next collection will use Fairtrade silver, and we are researching pioneering gold-plating with Fairtrade gold,” she said.
As for plans for her next designs for the brand, Jennıfer described the next collection:
Sinuous shapes and forms inspired by the universe, constellations, links, kinetic energy, and informed by visual representations of human interconnectedness. Watch this space!”