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Meet Alisa Thorp

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alisa Thorp. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Husband-and-wife team Alisa and David Thorp founded Mercurius in 2007, around the same time they decided to spend their lives together. David is a passionate maker and formally-trained metalsmith with more than 20 years of experience as a bench jeweler, and he brings his skills and expertise to every piece of Mercurius jewelry. Alisa is currently studying gemology at the GIA and seeks out exquisite, ethically-sourced materials. She has a degree in Environmental Biology but followed her heart to study and teach yoga for more than a decade before taking over the operations of Mercurius.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
We’ve experienced many of the typical struggles of a self-funded small business. There’s always a balancing act between the logistics of running a business and the creative drive behind the whole endeavor. We are both first generation jewelers, in an industry dominated by multi-generational businesses. This means we had to forge all of our own connections, as well as build from the ground up in terms of investing in our stock.

Additionally, we are extremely dedicated to our ethical values and we are also a certified Green Business. This has meant finding many new ways to work in the field of jewelry and really delving into the supply side of the business. There are certain materials, material sources and vendors that we choose to avoid in order to stay true to our values.

It’s challenging to share the important stories about ethics in the jewelry world with our clients in way that keeps up the positive feelings we associate with fine jewelry.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
We specialize in mineral-forward fine jewelry – we love featuring natural materials that you don’t see as frequently in fine jewelry – like various stones, wood and fossils, along with gemstones and precious metals. For example, our latest collection includes pieces with fossilized dinosaur bone and post-consumer diamonds set in Fairmined gold.

All of our pieces are designed and crafted in our studio in Oakland, California, where David utilizes time-honored techniques – such as hand fabrication and lost wax casting – in conjunction with cutting-edge new technologies – like CAD and 3D printing.

We believe that the origin of each part is inseparable from the complete beauty of the finished object, so the team carefully sources all materials with a commitment to ethics and transparency.

In addition to exceeding the Green Business standards for waste reduction and resource conservation, we continuously implement new ways to conserve resources and increase efficiency while maintaining high standards of quality and service.

We support human rights and communities all over the world by making conscious decisions about sourcing materials, including acquiring materials through transparent supply chains to the greatest extent possible. We are a Fairmined licensed brand, meaning we work with gold that is verified as ethically mined by Artisanal Small-Scale Miner’s paid a fair wage.

A portion of all sales is donated to relevant organizations like Gem Legacy, which supports mining communities in East Africa, and Mercury Free Mining, a nonprofit committed to eradicating the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Mentors have been extremely important to our work.

Dave began his career with a formal apprenticeship under a master jeweler and also had a close relationship with a renowned metalsmith artist who mentored him more informally. These early relationships gave him a start in the industry and also instilled a strong sense of responsibility for passing these skills on to another generation of metalsmiths.

Belonging to industry groups, such as the Women’s Jewelry Association and Ethical Metalsmiths, has been a very valuable source of opportunities to learn about the specifics of this industry.

We take an abundance mentality when it comes to networking – that there is so much to be gained from sharing information, access and resources with our community of independent jewelers.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Nancy Rothstein Ella Sophie Bessette

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