Ara the altar Is Saving Our Planet, Because We Only Have One

WHO

Lauren, Owner/Designer

Manchester, England

I live near Manchester in North West England, within striking distance of the hills which is where I’d eventually like to be, in a timber framed house in the middle of nowhere. I’ve got my eye on the Scottish Highlands.

My career began in shoot production; working as a Shoot Producer in the fashion industry there were always a few aspects of the industry that unsettled me. In my logistical role I also missed the hands-on process of designing and creating that played such a big role in my younger life. I began metalsmithing to challenge myself and slowly built up a workshop, learning as I went. One of the things I now love about Ara the altar is all of the different creative practices I get to play with. As well as designing and creating my collections, I also do all my own photography, editing, graphic design etc.

When I’m not in the workshop I get myself outdoors as much as possible. I take a lot of my influence from nature. I’m also inspired by the ancient world and its fascinating relationship with nature and astronomy, one of my other main influences. There is so much beauty surrounding us, waiting to be absorbed if we allow ourselves the time to slow down and take it all in.

photo: Ara the altar

photo: Ara the altar

WHAT

Ara the altar offers timeless, minimal jewelry for earth-aware individuals.

As I live my life in a way that is mindful of my own impact on the environment, my values concerning ethics and the environment are woven throughout Ara the altar, influencing every decision. I use only 100% recycled precious metal to reduce waste, environmental impact and to repurpose existing material into something beautiful with a conscience. My aim is to tread lightly whilst creating eternal pieces that give the wearer a conscious connection with the beauty of our only planet.

My aim is to tread lightly whilst creating eternal pieces that give the wearer a conscious connection with the beauty of our only planet.
photo: Ara the altar

photo: Ara the altar

WHEN

I spent a few years making silver pieces for myself and my friends as a creative outlet. At the same time, the more changes I made towards a more a sustainable and considered way of life, the more dissatisfied I felt with the limited choices for those of us looking to make responsible purchasing decisions. I felt driven to contribute to a shift towards a more purposeful, slow, and transparent fashion movement, and to make beautiful pieces accessible to others, who, like me, are looking for reliable assurances about where and how their products are made.   

I launched Ara the altar in the Summer of 2017 - the idea came from one of my influences, astronomy; Ara is a small southern polar constellation which, in Latin, means ‘The altar’. Historically, Ara was depicted as an altar with rising incense or sacrificial offerings. My interpretation of this translated into the sourcing, creating and offering of beautiful, unique objects for earth-aware individuals.

photo: Ara the altar

photo: Ara the altar

WHY

There is no Planet B.

Fundamentally, it is important to me that Ara the altar does not support practices that pull any more precious metal out of the earth. With plenty of material already in circulation, for me, there is no justification for contributing to the environmental destruction caused by the precious metal and mineral mining industry. As well as using only recycled precious metal in my own production, I also commit to using only recycled precious metal chains and findings to accompany my pieces. 

To minimize waste throughout my production process, I make everything to order, slowly, by hand. I have a recycling system in place to minimize and monitor waste whilst operating my considered, vegan production process.

Every piece is presented in a GOTS certified, organic cotton drawstring bag, made in a carbon neutral factory as part of an ethical supply chain, and packaged using recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials, minimizing impact throughout its entire journey.

You can explore more of my ethical and sustainable approach here.

With plenty of material already in circulation, for me, there is no justification for contributing to the environmental destruction caused by the precious metal and mineral mining industry.
photo: Ara the altar

photo: Ara the altar

WHERE

Ara the altar is based in North West England but ships worldwide and is currently available online via the following platforms:

Ara the altar

Etsy

Eco Labo

Wearth

FAVORITE

At the moment my favourite piece is ‘Bar Pendant II’, the larger of two sister ‘Bar’ pendants from the Celestial Collection. I’ve been wearing one daily on a 20” recycled silver chain for what I call ‘celestial inspired simplicity’. These pendants layer up really nicely too.

Every ‘Bar’ piece is inspired by the bar shaped formation found at the centre of some spiral galaxies, fueling new star creation. I love the notion that with this solid, minimal pendant, the wearer is carrying a mass of stars at their centre.