The brand that makes sustainable and gender-neutral jewellery by recycling the silver nobody wants
Words: Maria Martinho Photos: Gemma Noakes
Fashion and jewellery were not exactly part of the plan of Olga Kassian, the 25-year-old who was born in a small Ukrainian village, grew up in Portugal and graduated in Industrial Engineering and Management. It was only after living and working in New York, where she managed the shop for a Portuguese brand, that she discovered the power of fashion and began to see jewellery as an inspiration. “For me, it was always difficult to choose the right jewellery, especially because I saw it as something more than a simple accessory; rather, as the one thing that really makes a difference to our personal style. New York was full of extravagant people who never stopped being simple, often combining black with their jewellery.”
After a few months of research with a special focus on sustainability, in November 2019, Olga launched Wonther, a jewellery brand that produces pieces certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), a seal that ensures the production methods and materials used are entirely ethically and environmentally responsible. “The vast majority of our materials are recycled, and their origin and transformation are embedded in a value chain that does not involve child labour, does not sponsor armed conflict and does not destroy the environment from which it is extracted.”
Wonther also encourages the donation of used silver for recycling, thus reducing the need for mining. Anyone who donates silver pieces they no longer wear or which are damaged will receive a 20% discount voucher to use on items from the brand. “We also accept any brand of jewellery for repair, because sometimes we just need to give what we have a new life rather than get new pieces”, she says, adding that the name Wonther comes “from the power to wonder and to be strong at the same time, like the Wonder Woman cartoon.”
Each collection consists of earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets, and is based on an inspirational motto, which can be nature, generation Z or wedding proposals. “Each proposal has a meaning. I am inspired by the concepts I want to convey more than by specific objects, and although I do a lot of research into antique jewellery, I like my creations to be based on a new story that emerges in my head.” Also, in a commitment to inclusion and accessibility, each piece is designed to suit all genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations.
Right now, Wonther is collaborating with the blockchain world and creating phygital pieces, and has recently launched a collection in NFTs with five jewels: gold with a diamond, 24-carat gold-plated silver, pewter-plated silver and natural silver, all priced from €120. The Braga-based brand’s jewellery is available from the online store and at the Yeatman, Torel Palace, Torel AvantGarde hotels in Porto, the Colletiva Store in Lisbon and the Torel Palace Lisbon hotel, the Brooklyn Collective in New York and Rinascente in Milan.
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