Tradition meets sustainability: Matilde Mourinho’s...

Tradition meets sustainability: Matilde Mourinho’s jewellery merges traditional jewellery-making with 21st-century values

By: Ben Austin 

Using recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds, Matilde’s pieces deliver the same beauty and quality associated with traditional diamonds, in an ethical way

Words like ‘sustainability’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘ethical’ have become very much a part of our contemporary vocabulary. But are these buzz words that are on trend or do they have resonance and meaning for the next generation of conscientious consumers?

Matilde Mourinho

The answer is thankfully the latter, with more and more emerging brands making social and environmental concerns central to their business practice and identity. While certain large corporations have been accused of shameful ‘greenwashing’, there is a groundswell of young entrepreneurs showing a genuine commitment to sustainability. One such entrepreneur is Matilde Mourinho, owner of Matilde Jewellery.

Daughter of the legendary football manager José Mourinho, Matilde graduated from the London College of Fashion and went onto to earn a Masters’ degree at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design.

She gravitated towards jewellery design, as she found that it held more of a personal narrative. “I have always loved how much meaning something so small and delicate can carry, and how it can be passed on through generations and hold so much history,” she says.

The pieces from Matilde Jewellery are understated, refined and elegant, appealing to a sophisticated buyer.

The ethos is one of transparency with an openness regarding the sourcing and production process. Traditional diamond mining can be problematic, in spite of the Kimberley Process Certification. The trade in ‘blood diamonds’ (mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, warlords’ activity, and terrorism) is still unfortunately ongoing in many African countries.

Matilde made the informed decision to exclusively use lab-grown diamonds. These diamonds are chemically and physically identical to their mined counterparts, possessing the same brilliance and durability.

The other benefit is that lab-grown diamonds often require less energy and resources to produce. As Matilde states: “By opting for lab-grown diamonds, we seek to offer an alternative that appeals to individuals who prioritise ethical and sustainable practices in the jewellery industry, while still delivering the beauty and quality associated with diamonds. It’s a way of adapting traditional concepts to meet the evolving values and concerns of the contemporary consumer.”

The gold used, likewise reflects these principles, being 100% recycled 14k gold. This in turn reduces the ecological impact of conventional gold extraction. “There are of course some who still hold traditional notions of perceived purity or authenticity of newly mined gold, but we believe that attitudes are evolving positively, and there is a growing appreciation for sustainable and responsible sourcing,” says Matilde.

Matilde Jewellery’s commitment to the environment extends well beyond to the sourcing of her materials. In partnership with Ample, Matilde has an initiative by which one tree is planted for every shipment made, and the brand will also be undertaking other conservation schemes in the future. The aim is to showcase the company’s dedication to making a real and tangible difference, independent of the products. Matilde is an advocate for change within the industry and believes that governments and industry bodies should provide more incentives for sustainable production, such as an offsetting scheme.

Portugal has acknowledged green credentials and does much to preserve the natural beauty of the country. For Matilde, her Portuguese background with its emphasis on artisanal crafts is etched into her soul and is an essential part of her creative being.

Born in Setúbal, she has spent most of her life in the UK, but her family keeps a place in Ferragudo in the Algarve, where her paternal grandfather was born, and they visit every year. She has a profound connection with her native country and celebrates the new generation of world class of artists and designers currently coming out of Portugal.

From intricate azulejos to the incredible landscapes and historical architecture, it is the customs and legacy of her birthplace that informs her Heritage Collection.

She is particularly drawn to the traditional Coração de Viana (Heart of Viana), which comes from Minho region in Northern Portugal. These distinctive hearts are manufactured using the filigree technique and are considered to be a lucky charm for brides who pass it on from mother to daughter.

Matilde also cites her admiration for the internationally acclaimed contemporary Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, whose Coração Independente Vermelho (2005) plays with this motif on a large scale using red plastic cutlery and a sound installation (three powerful Fado songs).

“The Heritage Collection is a way for me to pay homage to the beauty and uniqueness of Portugal, infusing each piece with a touch of the country’s rich history and artistic traditions. It is a personal and artistic journey that I hope resonates with those who appreciate the cultural depth embedded in every design.”

The other current collections by Matilde Jewellery are called Eclipse, Chain Reaction, Super Cluster and Cosmic Rocks, which reflect Matilde’s fascination with the cosmos and the awesome universe, with nature also being a constant source of inspiration.

“The intersection of science, the creative process, and the wonder of the natural world holds immense importance… The meticulous process of creation, akin to scientific inquiry, is integral to the design philosophy of Matilde Jewellery. Not to mention the science behind lab-grown diamonds and what that has allowed us to do.” she states.

“Nature, with its organic forms and awe-inspiring beauty, serves as a constant muse. The intricacies of natural elements, from celestial bodies to earthly landscapes, influence the aesthetic and conceptual aspects of the collections. The names chosen for each collection are a deliberate nod to the cosmic and natural themes that inspire the designs.”

The designs themselves are subtle, sleek, and stylish; contemporary and fresh yet with a timeless quality. An antidote to the big and instantly recognisable brands.

Matilde says that this subtlety “allows wearers to integrate Matilde pieces seamlessly into their personal style, making them versatile and suitable for various occasions”. She continues: “We aim to appeal to those who prioritise craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and the inherent beauty of fine materials. The intention is to create pieces that transcend fleeting trends, becoming enduring symbols of sophistication and refinement.”

Matilde Jewellery has done a series of pop-up events in London with a view to a permanent store in the future. Matilde has a vision for her discerning brand, upholding sustainability and ethical sourcing as core values, which complement the graceful and deft designs that have recently adorned celebrities and trend-setters alike.


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