One Word, Many Meanings: Niki Grandics

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Niki Grandics

Enji Studio Jewelry

San Diego

Niki Grandics is a designer, jeweler, writer, and activist who holds degrees in marketing and applied design from San Diego State University and a Graduate Jeweler diploma from GIA. She is the founder of Enji Studio Jewelry, an “ethical with an edge” fine jewelry studio. A member of the advisory council of Ethical Metalsmiths, Grandics is passionate about transparency, social entrepreneurship, and unique gemstones and the stories behind them.

What does responsible design mean to you?
I think it’s thinking in terms of beyond just what’s happening within my studio—thinking upstream and making sure everyone is done right.

How do you incorporate responsibility into your jewelry-making practices?
I’ve been on a journey of educating myself [about] what being responsible means since I started my business. Then, I was of the mindset that mining was bad, and I cut out as much as I could, focusing on recycled materials. I had been under the impression that recycled gold had the potential to limit new mining and its environmental impacts, something I now know isn’t the case. I’ve begun to shift more focus onto Fairmined materials, and some of my clients seek me out specifically because of it. The appeal for me is the human rights impact, and the fact that the benefits of the resource are able to stay in the community that mines the resource.

More recently, I’ve been switching the way that I’m designing to focus more on pieces that are fully custom, in an effort to limit overproduction. When designing collections, there will always be a few pieces that are left over or didn’t sell as well, and I started thinking about the resources that went into making those pieces that might be scrapped for parts. I want to limit that side of overproduction. I really only want to invest the time, energy, and resources into pieces that are guaranteed to have a home or that the person will really love and treasure for a long time.