It’s impossible to ignore the global conversations about conservation of the planet’s natural resources, diversity issues and female empowerment that are going on around us. Social and environmental responsibility is one of Swarovski’s founding principles, and it has been a highly involved supporter for well over a century.
So when it came to a second opportunity to collaborate with renowned filmmaker and environmentalist Céline Cousteau, the collaboration was a natural fit. The outcome was her second special Designer Edition for Swarovski, this time for Fall/Winter 2017/18, a fascinating collection of crystals not only exquisitely beautiful, but imparting an urgent message, too: Tribute to Tribe is a wake-up call to reconnect with each other and with the natural world.
An important message needs a strong voice, so what better way to get heard than with launches in two important cities. São Paulo’s upscale shopping mall, JK Iguatemi, hosted the collection’s global debut on October 5. A week later, New York’s Spring Place, the exclusive private members’ club in Manhattan’s fashionable Tribeca district, hosted the second Tribute to Tribe launch on October 13. VIP guests were treated to a stunning display of the standout cuts, including Oval Tribe Fancy Stone, Rhombus Tribe Fancy Stone and Cross Tribe Pendant. Céline Cousteau herself was on hand to explain how she was inspired by the relationship between indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon and their natural world, and how the designs echo tribal decorations painted and tattooed on bare skin as symbols of stories. Alongside the crystal cuts were jewelry collections by Brazilian designer Camila Klein and US brand Sorrelli, which demonstrated how using Tribute to Tribe crystals translates into astonishingly beautiful jewelry.
A preview screening of Céline Cousteau’s absorbing new documentary, Tribes on the Edge, took place at each event. The documentary makes for salutary viewing: it tells the story, for the very first time, of the people of Vale do Javari in the Amazon, where the nation’s largest number of indigenous tribes live in total isolation. With their way of life—and, indeed, life itself—in jeopardy due to oil exploitation, illegal fishing, hunting, logging, drug trafficking, gold mining, and the loss of their ancestral land, the clock is ticking for one of the last great natural habitats, and its inhabitants, on the planet.
Threats to our planet have long been a cause for huge concern for Swarovski. Social and environmental responsibility is part of the company’s DNA, evidenced by the Swarovski Waterschool education program, just one among several philanthropic initiatives. Founded in 2000, it teaches and inspires children to practice sustainable water use to ensure clean water and good health in their communities. A quarter of a million children along the world’s great rivers in Austria, China, India, Thailand, Uganda, the United States, and Brazil—whose Waterschool is situated close to where Tribes on the Edge was filmed—are taking what they learn back to their communities. With support such as that demonstrated at both the São Paulo and the New York launches of this powerful and evocative collection, we may, after all, dare to hope for a brighter future.