Mila Kunis, the Gemfields global ambassador since 2013, headed recently to London to promote the jewelers’ new short film directed by photographer Jeff Burton. The 31-year-old actress has taken some time off from work after films like “Jupiter Ascending” and “Oz the Great and Powerful” to focus on Wyatt, her 8-month-old daughter with Ashton Kutcher. But after her first trip to Africa two years ago, she continues to be committed to spreading consciousness about ethical jewelry purchases. WWD caught up with the “Black Swan” actress in London, where she talked about her upcoming project, precious gems and ethical mining in Africa.
WWD: What has your experience been like being an ambassador for Gemfields?
Mila Kunis: I met with the company for the first time three years ago, and they came to me with the idea of being a spokesperson for Emerald, which I found comical because I was like how can you become a spokesperson for a gemstone? And then I started thinking about mining and ethical mining and how all everyone’s always told is blood diamonds, so that’s what I associated all sorts of precious stones with.
WWD: Tell us about your trip to Africa.
M.K.: They said why don’t you come to Zambia, look at one of our mines, check out the town, talk to the people, and make a few decision from there. And I went, and I found it to be one of the most eye-opening experiences ever. They’re a beautiful company that is beyond transparent, they feed all empty dams of water and fish so the town has a place to go fishing and have food, they provide ample amount[s] of work with contracts, which is unheard of in Zambia. They build schools, they build hospitals, they’re now building a maternity ward. They give back to the community, unlike anything – they’re beyond ethical mines. These gemstones are not mined 50 feet underground, they’re mined at the top of an open cavern. And the people, [ceo] Ian [Harebottle] especially is one of the first people that I met that I found to be so loving and wonderful and something I wanted to be a part of because they just were very much like a family.
WWD: What are your thoughts on ethical mining?
M.K.: This experience kind of made everything I did — I mean I knew nothing, I really did come to the mines with the thought, “Oh it’s pretty, if I like it, I’ll buy it like most people” — and I think that when you learn what makes a gemstone unique and how it’s different than a diamond, and how its different than a ruby, when you look at a ruby and how my ruby is different from your ruby, when you learn that every single gemstone has its own fingerprint and not one gemstone’s like the other. I found that to be such interesting information. I have an emerald, and you can take it through a microscope and because of the specific types of veins in the emerald, you can trace it back to the exact cavern and exact country that its from – you can’t do that with any diamond, because it doesn’t exist and I find that to be very interesting – they all have their own history and their own print.
WWD: Can you tell us about your favorite gemstone and is there a story behind it?
M.K.: I guess my favorite colored stone is maybe a ruby, oddly enough, because my grandmother’s engagement ring has a ruby in it. By the way, she’s 95 and they don’t really have engagement rings in Russia, but her wedding band had a ruby in it and I kind of associated that with love.
WWD: What are your thoughts on London?
M.K.: I lived in London two years ago when I was shooting [“Jupiter Ascending”]. London is cold, let’s be clear. As great as any places are they better be indoors. I lived across the street from [Hampstead Heath], which I thought was beautiful. The one thing about London which I will say is the parks are vast and stunning and there’s so few beautiful days that when they do occur, all you want to do is go to the park, which is one of my favorite things to do when I lived here.
WWD: Tell us about your current/future projects that you are working on.
M.K.: I have a TV production company at ABC, so we’re developing shows there and the Starz Network. That’s something I wanted to do when I got pregnant. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so I’m pursuing that still, and I’m probably going to go back to work later this year.