Bob Donofrio founder and chief executive officer of Futura, created a place where his engineering background meets fine jewelry expertise. Donofrio is a former Bulgari executive, former chief executive officer of Roberto Cavalli, U.S., and has previously consulted for firms including Tiffany Co., Cartier, Marina B., Movado, Enigma Jewels and others in the jewelry industry through his consultancy firm RAD New York.
“Recycled gold is a nice thing but it doesn’t reduce mercury emissions,” said Donofrio, pointing out the variances between recycled and ecological gold, and the difference is mercury emissions during mining.
According to estimates by the United Nations, 15 million people employed in the artisanal and small-scale gold mining sector account for 37 percent of total mercury emissions. The Fairmined Organization accredits the gold used by Futura ensuring its traceability as gold that is both mercury and toxic chemical-free — referred to as “ecological gold,” what is considered Fairmined’s highest and most difficult standard to obtain.
Being created without mercury means a hefty premium but that price paid for traceability from early adopters is one that may very well invite a critical mass from other jewelry brands. As consumers are becoming “aware that there’s an option,” across a spectrum of purchase decisions — who is to say Fairmined in every facet, not just gold, won’t become the norm?
Donofrio reiterated that “nobody is doing anything bad, but my perspective is we can do something better.”
With a “pedigree product,” Futura helms no creative director, instead, the eyes of many jewelry historians search for old designs — dating back to ancient times, as far as 1200 B.C. Instead of collections, Donofrio considers the pieces a “different point of view.” Each release is a small-batch, artisan-made recreation from the past with no alterations made to the original artist’s designs.
Futura has allocated assortments of its wares to luxury multibrand retailer The Webster in SoHo, and is later launching 13-pieces at Bergdorf Goodman. Sustainability is a goal chased across every industry, and as of late, jewelry brands have traced their supply chain committing to Fair Trade, Fairmined and recycled gold and ethically sourced stones.
“My whole premise is to give you a reason to come back,” said Donofrio, perhaps for their next history lesson, be it earrings inspired by Ancient Greece or a recent release which replicates the work of artist Man Ray who designed jewelry from the Thirties to the Seventies.
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