Sometimes my generation appears confused, on the lookout for value orientation. There are many who claim to know which way to go or what is the right thing to do. Too many times capitalistic ambitions predominate the ones that intend to do good because often they don’t yield as much. The world of today does not make it easy knowing who to believe and what to believe. Conclusively, many opt for nothing.
Luckily, there is Gisa Golpira. Her Düsseldorf–based jewelry label GOLPIRA – No Dirty Gold is a game changer and music in my ears. Golpira sells jewelry made out of sustainable gold. She was born into a family working as sustainable gold diggers in the jungle of Peru and at a very early age she came in touch with gold nuggets that now are the heart pieces of her jewelry collection.
In her teenage years Gisa moved to Germany to complete her education. But the roots remain and GOLPIRA – No Dirty Gold ensures that the gold digging process is done ecologically and socially correct and that the jewelry is handcrafted with natural fair trade gold nuggets only.
GOLPIRA is a game-changer in one of the most destructive industries of the world.
Few know that industrial gold mining is one of the most destructive industries in the world. During the gold mining process communities are displaced at the hands of wealthy Westerners and corrupt officials; drinking water of the locals is contaminated by the chemicals used to separate the gold from the stone, and the health of the people harvesting the gold is endangered. Producing gold for one single gold ring alone generates 20 tons of waste. The average gold mine uses 1900 tons of cyanide per year, and even after mines are closed they continue polluting the rivers forever…
GOLPIRA however promises No Dirty Gold within an industry where ‘dirty gold’ is usually a commonplace. GOLPIRA enters a partnership model with its workers. Workers receive fair wages, food (even on weekends when they are not working), and a 50% share in the profits. Every Saturday the crew sits together and splits the production.
Likewise, workers profit from medical attention and treatment. Gisa’s family teaches the workers how to harvest gold without harm to nature to pass on their knowledge. They learn where to sell the gold without being cheated, and how to handle the money they earn.
Gisa Golpira believes it’s time for sustainability and authenticity. And this is why I value GOLPIRA so much: a transparent identity and a clear promise are the pillars of the brand.
But let’s have Gisa speak for herself:
WT: Hi Gisa, how are you?
Gisa: Hi, im doing quite well.
WT: Did you have a key moment that inspired you to launch Golpira?
Gisa: No doubt this has to do with the fact that i was born into a family working as sustainable gold diggers in the jungle. When I was young I used to live with them in the jungle, too, and this time left wonderful memories in my heart. Well, in the end my parents inspired me to do the jewelry. There was not really a key moment I could describe to you, it rather came naturally to me.
WT: You modeled for the first look book, and your face and hands became very central in your campaign. Is it important to show the customer the person behind the GOLPIRA brand?
Gisa: lol. Actually it was not the plan to model for the campaign myself, quite the opposite. I contacted a really amazing model in Los Angeles, and she agreed to do the shooting. I was more than happy about that, since at this time I could not afford her for the shooting. But she was so in love with the product and the philosophy behind it, that she said she’s in! Anyway, you know how it most times can end up… you are planning something and at the end it develops completely in another direction. Unfortunately for GOLPIRA one day before the shooting she got booked for a very big job in Miami, and, of course, I did not hold her back. Honestly, I was kinda lost the day before the shooting because I could not find someone else in L.A. who could replace her. Since I’m not from L.A. I did not know so many models over there. So I ended up doing it all by myself. I was in doubt at first if it is good or rather bad for GOLPIRA. But in the end I decided it might be even better. So I literally stand behind my fair trade jewelry with my name and my face.
“I admire women in touch with their feminine power, these women are a fierce force of nature, confident, sexy, energetic and completely in their element.”
WT: Did you have any doubts that Golpira might fail?
Gisa: Well, there is always a risk if you decide to do something totally new… you can barely guess if people will like what you are doing or if people will believe in what are you doing. But as someone once said, there are only two mistakes one can make along the road – ‘not going all the way and not starting’.
WT: ￼￼Who designs the jewelry?
Gisa: I do the designs myself. And then I give it to a very talented goldsmith in Germany who transforms my designs into unique handcrafted jewelry pieces.
WT: What are your plans for the future?
Gisa: To start off, I’m planning to do a jungle diary starting in August. GOLPIRA will release the diary extracts from the gold diggers (my parents) once a week featuring the last expedition. So people will truly understand what it means to dig gold in Papua New Guinea in a sustainable way and what it takes to make such an expedition to an unknown area. Meeting these indigenous people and working in the forest leaves a deep and memorable footprint in the hearts and memories of the gold diggers at GOLPIRA. The gold diggers will present extraordinary and breathtaking stories of the life in the jungle of Papua New Guinea. Beside that GOLPIRA is also planning to produce a short movie with pictures from the jungle, so people can witness how the digging process is done. Well, it’s all about authenticity and transparency.
WT: ￼￼What do you admire in a woman?
Gisa: I love the book of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, called ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves‘. I would like to quote her writing, because it describes exactly what kind of woman I admire and also to which women my jewelry is dedicated:
“Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. Her name is WILD WOMAN, but she is an endangered species. Though the gifts of the wildish nature come to us at birth, society’s attempt to ‘civilize’ us into rigid roles has plundered this treasure and muffled the deep, life giving messages of our own souls. Without wild woman, we become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped. We are all filled with a longing for the wild. There are few culturally sanctioned antidotes for this yearning. We were taught to feel shame for such a desire. We grew our hair long and used it to hide our feelings. But the shadow of the Wild Woman still lurks behind us during our days and in our nights. No matter where we are, the shadow that trots behind us is definitely four-footed.”
To make it simple, I admire women in touch with their feminine power, these women are a fierce force of nature, confident, sexy, energetic and completely in their element.
WT: My last question: what’s your concept of happiness?
Gisa: I think, happiness does not come from something you buy or from external circumstances. Happiness comes from within. Don’t think about what you don’t have or need, but appreciate and think about what you have RIGHT NOW. We only live in the present, not in the past or the future which are only mental constructions. See the beauty in the ordinary.
GOLPIRA does not aim to be a one-hit wonder, and thus depends on your decision to support this wonderful cause and resist the appeal of cut-price jewelry and bargain-hunting shopping.