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This wasn’t going to be just another visit to a jewellery workshop, of that I was certain. And sure enough, as I moved through the dozens of jewellers and craftsmen working feverishly to complete the Chopard collection to be presented in less than a month during the Cannes Film Festival, there she was: Julianne Moore, admiring a necklace, as yet unfinished, that she would be wearing on the Cannes red carpet.

“It’s my first time in Geneva and at Chopard’s workshop and it’s pretty exhilarating,” the Hollywood star says amid the frenzied atmosphere of the atelier.

(Related: Chopard Sparkles On The Cannes Red Carpet)

“We tend to forget that before they become these breathtaking pieces of jewellery, dozens of brilliant people—artisans, jewellers, gem-setters—spend days on end to create and perfect them. And actually meeting and watching them at work has given me a wonderful and holistic way of looking at a piece of jewellery.”

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Caroline Scheufele and Moore examine jewellery sketches (Photo: Courtesy of Greg Williams)

A woman with a voice 
The Academy Award-winning actress, however, wasn’t there just to admire jewellery. Known for her political activism and being a strong advocate for gay rights,gun control and planned parenthood, Moore was adding champion of sustainable luxury to her CV.

In March at Baselworld, Moore joined Chopard co-presidents Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, and Livia Firth, founder and creative director of sustainability and communications consultancy Eco-Age, on stage for the announcement that from July this year, the brand would use only gold from ethical sources in its jewellery and watches.

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Photo: Courtesy of Greg Williams

Going for ethical gold
Chopard defines ethical gold as that acquired from responsible sources, verified as having met international best practice environmental and social standards.

It will obtain gold from two traceable sources: freshly mined gold from small mines participating in the Swiss Better Gold Association’s Fairmined and Fairtrade schemes, and from certified refineries participating in the Responsible Jewellery Council’s Chain of Custody scheme.

In only five years, Caroline Scheufele has transformed Chopard’s entire production line to a point where it uses only Fairmined gold—a transition possible because of the brand’s vertically integrated operation, which includes its own gold foundry.

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A necklace Moore wears in Cannes is set with an ethically sourced Paraiba tourmaline (Photo: Courtesy of Greg Williams)

The right choice isn't the easy choice
This laudable achievement is the result of Scheufele’s extraordinary determination. “I never take no for an answer. I knew it was something we had to do, and without delay,” she says.

“Five years might seem short but getting to where we are now was no easy feat. And a big part of our success was that every single person in the company supported it. And, really, whether you’re an actor walking the red carpet or someone running a business, there’ll always be a moment when you are presented with a choice between keeping the status quo—the easy way out—or taking a more difficult but necessary route. We as a company could do something about it and it’s my hope that others in the industry will too.”

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Photo: Courtesy of Greg Williams

Sustainability is the new luxury 
Moore, nodding at Scheufele’s words, chimes in. “I’ve met some of my biggest heroes in the last couple of years. Incredible people like Caroline and Liv have showed and mentored me about what this world can be—what it needs to be—and, more importantly, what we can do to achieve it. And Chopard, with its decision to use only ethically sourced gold, is paving the way for a new, more responsible take on luxury. It’s inspiring.”

Times have changed a lot, the actor adds, and now people are finally ready to take responsibility for past faults and make real change. “In the United States, we’ve elected a misogynist who doesn’t care about anything, much less the environment, and it’s just crazy,” Moore says. 

“But you know what? Sometimes it takes something very negative to shake us all out of this culture of complacency. While it’s most times deeply upsetting to see what’s going on, these times are also exciting; we’re living in a moment of real change.

When people talk to me about social, environmental issues, I always say that I speak as a citizen and not as a Hollywood actor, and that my choice, my voice, shouldn’t matter any more than everybody else’s. We all have a vote, we all have a responsibility and everyone—celebrity or not—has the chance to influence others to make the right, responsible choice. We must influence others by example so that they will begin to say, ‘Hang on, this isn’t right.’" 

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Moore at Chopard’s high jewellery workshop (Photo: Courtesy of Greg Williams)

Times are changing
When Moore stepped out on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival last month, her elegant black Saint Laurent column dress was complemented by a stunning necklace from Chopard’s Green Carpet collection crafted, of course, in Fairmined gold and set with Chopard’s first responsibly sourced gemstone, a Paraiba tourmaline from a mine in Mozambique’s Mavuco region.

And so, just a month into Chopard’s transition to 100 per cent ethically mined gold, it began yet another journey towards sustainable luxury.

“Sustainability doesn’t have to be a morbid dead-end,” Moore says. “We as actors, actresses are given this wonderful opportunity to wear all these beautiful things and, thankfully, we also have a choice of what to put on—so why not make an ethical one?” 

(Related: Check Out Emma Watson's New Sustainable Fashion Instagram Project)

Tags: Gold, Sustainable Luxury, Sustainability, Ethical, Julianne Moore, Chopard