I first came across Caitlin Cimino's line of fine jewelry on Instagram after being drawn in by the beauty and detail of her pieces I was pleased to discover her sustainable practices. I was fascinated and had to learn more about this amazing line and woman. With a warm, welcoming and excited heart Caitlin shared with me her past experiences and her journey into creating her namesake line.
Meet metalsmith Caitlin Cimino, the woman hand mining her own stones and creating jewelry from recycled metals!
How did you get your start? What is your background?
It began in 2010 after shoulder surgery nudged me to reevaluate my chosen career path: a path that did not allow me to embrace my love of art and nature. A few months after recovering from the surgery a friend’s birthday came and money was tight for me because I could not work while my shoulder was healing, so I made her a gift: a pair of earrings. After that, I couldn’t stop making jewelry. My creative fire had been ignited. After 2 years of jewelry play, in 2014, I traveled to Florence, Italy to study under a master jeweler. Since then, I’ve incorporated his teachings with my own self-taught metal-smithing practices which includes utilizing bits of nature with sustainable metals.
Before you started your personal line did you always have an interest in creating a sustainable product?
I believe it’s always been in me. I became vegetarian in 2008, after watching a video on factory farming. That video was the catalyst for wanting to learn more about where my food comes from and how the animals and the environment are affected in the process. That need to know and desire to be a positive change spread to all avenues of my life.
What was your inspiration behind creating sustainable jewelry?
It came from my understanding of the harmful effects mining for metals and gemstones has on the environment and it’s inhabitants. I’ve been mining my own stones for a few years now, but the day I learned the negative effects corporate metal-mining has on the environment, I put down my tools. I learned things like: 20 tons of toxic waste is created for ever .333 ounce (this of the size of a wedding band) of gold found and 180 million tons of toxic trash is created and dumped into our oceans, rivers and lakes per year from metal-mining worldwide. I took 8 months off and sat with the information, I let it really sink in and even contemplated leaving the industry, which over time really tore at my soul. Over time, I found reputable companies that provide jewelers with quality recycled metals, at which point I picked my tools back up again and decided to create consciously.
What challenges do you face creating sustainably?
There really aren’t a lot of companies out there that sell quality recycled metals or findings (clasps, jump rings, chains, etc), so that can be a challenge when I need something specific. Luckily, most of the time I can make it myself, it just takes extra time and patience.
What are your thoughts on what it means to live a conscious and sustainable life?
For me, it means looking beyond immediate gratification - which is so prevalent in this day and age. The most conscious choices take effort, time and often, sacrifice. But, in the long run it makes all the difference to the health and the wellness of our planet and its inhabitants.
How do you practice living consciously and sustainably in your personal life?
I compost the majority of my scrap food. I purchase organic produce and herbs. I’m a strict vegetarian and have been known to drive 2 hours to purchase eggs from happy chickens. I make many of my own skin care products along with natural medicines (I also study Herbalism in my spare time). The bits I’m unable to make myself, I read their labels and research the companies before I purchase their product.
What advice would you give to the readers of Living Baree on how to buy and live consciously?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask! Be curious about EVERYTHING. Every product you use and every bit of food you ingest. Everything was brought to you with history, and that history may hold great weight. Through gaining knowledge, we are the ones that hold the power to make positive environmental and ethical changes.
All photos by: Caitlin Cimino