Gold jewellery has grown in popularity in recent years, thanks to brands like Missoma, Orelia, and Astrid + Miyu, who have helped make classic pieces more affordable and accessible through gold plating and the use of brass metals. But what a lot of people don't know about gold is that the purer forms have an inherently limited supply, and there is a chance that we won't be able to get much more of it in the future. With an ever-increasing demand, and with mining becoming less economically feasible and sustainable by the day, it's now more important than ever to facilitate the recycling of gold, something that new jewellery brand Aurum LDN prides itself on.
The genius behind Aurumn LDN is Karly Wake, who was born and bred in Leeds, and moved to London in search of opportunity. She founded the preowned jewellery brand as a way to encourage more people to buy vintage and real gold jewellery. In just over a year, her vintage finds have been worn by the likes of Kara Marni, Julie Adenuga, and Ella Eyre, as well as Maya Jama's stylist, Alizé Demange. Before lockdown hit in December, I met Wake at White City House in West London, where we caught up over a hot chocolate and a coffee milkshake, to chat about the rise of preowned jewellery, how she sources pieces for Aurum LDN, and what's next for the brand.
In fashion, with the conversation around sustainability growing louder and louder, the notion of buying vintage and secondhand clothes has become more mainstream. Jewellery, on the other hand, has been slower to jump on the preowned bandwagon. "There is a tendency with the younger generations to want everything new and it has to be branded and look expensive", Wake explained. "If you took them to a little pawn shop in a small town they're more likely to turn their nose up at it", she added. For Wake, this misconception of preowned is why branding and education is so important to Aurum. "You can often get secondhand jewellery a lot cheaper, even though it's got so much more detail than something that you're buying new," Wake added. That's because when you're buying older pieces of jewellery, you're no longer paying for the labour costs but the intrinsic metal alone. This isn't quite the same for new jewellery, where you pay for the price of the metal alongside labour.