Argent Silversmith is an Australian sustainable jewellery brand utilising recycled and responsibly sourced materials to craft their exquisite rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Liz Herman and her small team handcraft every single piece of bespoke and unique jewellery specifically for the wearer. Drawing inspiration from her natural surroundings and designs the simplistic yet timeless pieces synonymous with the Argent Silversmith name. Her surroundings inspire the ideas that become the jewellery designs, with the Australian Alps being the main concept behind her vision. She also adds in elements of the ocean and the places she has travelled, and this collaboration between her mind and her journeys is shown through the different Argent Silversmith collections.
Liz chooses to use recycled and ethical materials to craft the Argent Silversmith fine jewellery. All sterling silver, as well as the fine silver wire and sheet, are manufactured in Australia and made from 100% recycled silver, and all gemstones are either lab-grown or ethically and sustainably sourced. The 9K and 18K solid gold wire and sheet are made with both recycled metals and responsibly mined pure gold, and in a bid to minimise wastage, all silver and gold scraps are recycled for reuse.
Argent Silversmith has introduced a Repairs & Recycling Scheme, bringing them one step closer to a closed loop system. With this, all Argent pieces will be repaired for life at no extra cost in order to encourage wearers to cherish their Argent pieces forever. What’s more is all customers can send in old, broken or unwanted jewellery, which is then combined with scraps, offcuts and lemel to send in for refining and recycling, and in exchange for these metals, Argent offers a store credit based on the weight and type of metal.
Argent Silversmith is inherently committed to sustainable production. Every piece of Argent jewellery is hand-crafted in a carbon neutral powered workshop, and each year, their carbon footprint is calculated and offset through financing rewilding and reforestation projects both in Australia and around the world. Liz is unwavering in her commitment to responsible production. Not only does she ensure her bespoke jewellery is crafted ethically from recycled and sustainable materials, but she also makes a conscious effort to reduce wastage and monitor her environmental footprint throughout each step of her production processes.
Want to know where Argent Silversmith sits and what they’re working on in terms of these 5 values? Hover over these values to find out.
The metals I use are recycled, the pearls are repurposed, and my packaging is always improving. As for my studio, it is completely solar-powered, not to mention built from reclaimed natural materials.
I am the sole creator of Argent Silversmith pieces, however I strive to ensure my sourcing of materials, tools and packaging is done through local, ethical and fair businesses.
Both in my personal life and business, reducing waste is primordial. However, there is still a lot I can improve upon, notably finding a way to reduce the plastic my metals, tools and some of my packaging come in.
Every year I calculate my carbon footprint in terms of offsetting costs, multiply it by 5 and donate to various organisations and charities I believe are doing incredible work for our environment. The World Land Trust Carbon Balanced Programme and Bob Brown Foundation are organisations I've donated to in the past.
I try to ensure my materials are sourced in a traceable and recycled/repurposed manner, however it is difficult to ensure traceability beyond my suppliers as they buy their scraps from a multitude of sources.
Behind the Brand
“I discovered the art of silversmithing through a friend and was immediately hooked. Working metal with my hands (and an array of specific tools of course) made it possible to create any piece of jewellery and my imagination was the limit”.
What made you start Argent Silversmith?
I discovered the art of silversmithing through a friend and was immediately hooked. Working metal with my hands (and an array of specific tools of course) made it possible to create any piece of jewellery and my imagination was the limit. I bought the tools I needed and stumbled upon a little suitcase filled with antique silversmithing tools, designs and offcuts, purchased recycled silver wire and sheet and started creating. Argent Silversmith was created a few months later, when I realised that the pieces I imagined and loved to wear were also loved and worn by the wonderful people around me.
What is something others wouldn’t know about creating an ethical business that you think they should?
I think creating an ethical business requires dedication and a real passion for the product you are selling. Most of the ethical businesses I know and love all seem to pour everything they have into their label, ensuring every aspect of it is perfect, from the sourcing of materials, to creating the product, to presenting and marketing it. Personally, I have found it difficult to find the balance between pushing people to consume and advertising my label – I have had valuable feedback from promoters of ethical fashion who have made me realise it is a fine line and marketing is necessary for any business to survive. This can be done through ethical channels though, like sustainable and ethical blogs, magazines, reaching audiences who are actually looking for an ethical product, and organically (word of mouth, pop ups, attending markets, etc).
What has been the most challenging thing you have uncovered since beginning?
I don’t think I realised how much was involved in running a business. Of course there is the creation of the product, which for me is always the most important part—knowing I have made every single piece and that each and every one is unique—but then there is everything else. I have become a website designer, a product and model photographer, a hand model, a master of Instagram and Facebook, an expert in postage and handling, have budding skills in administration and tax return, a market stall carpenter and painter, a novice public relations specialist, a graphic designer and a web researcher, amongst others. Although time management is challenging (especially with a full time job), I have learnt so much since starting Argent that I appreciate every second of.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
Make what you love. At times, it is tempting to make what the market wants, what the people want, but I think as long as you create the pieces that you love, not what you think other people will love, then your label will never lose its uniqueness, its raw beauty.
One tip you’d give to others who are wanting to start their own business?
Ensure it is ethical and sustainable from the start. I believe my jewellery has always been ethically sourced (the silver and gold is recycled in Australia and the stones/pearls are ethically sourced or reused from old necklaces) and created but I am currently trying to become waste-free and fully sustainable, which is more challenging once you have already started and your business is running smoothly. Implementing sustainable practices from the start would have been much easier than trying to change the process further down the track.
What or who inspires you to do what you do on a daily basis?
My tireless imagination, my love for creating and the way people connect with my jewellery. I have been so fortunate to have started my label in a supportive community of incredible, loving people who have been so encouraging over the last few years and have kept me inspired and motivated even when running a business has been at its most challenging.
One book everyone should read? Why?
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho. It’s probably a bit cliché but I always have this book in the back of my mind and try to be mindful and grateful for every aspect of my life and where it is at the moment.
Are there any other Movers & Shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
I have been following the @ecowarriorprincess on Instagram and always get great inspiration and motivation from her posts. She also always answers messages with insightful advice.
Salt Gypsy is one of my favourites. I love the way they’ve ensured every aspect of their label is ethical and sustainable in a beautiful, simple way.