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D&H Sustainable Jewelers

Sustainable Bling and Wine

To environmentally conscious consumers, jewelry doesn’t usually bring to mind products provided through sustainable practices. But San Francisco’s D&H Sustainable Jewelers on Market Street near Noe Street in the Castro shows it is possible to wear something beautiful that you can feel good about, too.

At the beginning of 2011, gemologist Shawn Higgins and artist Lindsay Daunell (former co-workers) combined forces with entrepreneur Diaa Askandafi to open D&H. And just this month, the store became the first and only retail jewelry store in the United States with a fully licensed wine bar.

First, the jewelry. D&H is a full service jewelry store with a gallery-like setting, featuring a collection of handmade artisan fine jewelry, with a focus on bridal, engagement and commitment rings. The jewelers represented in the store embody its core values of style and sustainability. All jewelry is made using recycled precious metals and ethically sourced gemstones. And each jeweler has a unique style and/or method of craftsmanship, making every piece a work of art.

For example, Okomido designer Midori Ferris Wayne creates jewelry out of recycled metals, including a set of three yellow gold, silver and shakudo bangles that look like elegantly wrapped twigs ($2,970). Many of Wayne’s pieces feature shakudo, which is a chocolate colored metal created through a centuries old Japanese tradition of alloying gold and copper.

Also found in the store are rings from conceptual artist Nick Dong of Oakland, which are shaped out of remnants of Kerrock, a dense acrylic normally used for countertops ($500-$600). Dong also creates metal bands with a surprise -- the gemstones line the inside of the ring ($600-$800).

Selections from artist Dahlia Kanner include rings made through lost wax casting. The textures of her pieces are inspired by the natural world, often at the microscopic level, including an 18-carat gold ring based on a sea sponge ($660) and a silver piece with sapphire or rubies ($375-$390).

A standout piece in the store is an antique opera length strand of the distinctive bright blue turquoise from the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Arizona ($1,500). Equally fascinating is Jeannie Hwang’s set of silver cufflinks featuring stingray skin ($375). In keeping with the store’s philosophy, the skin is a byproduct of stingray’s caught for food. There are also rings from designer Russell Jones, including one fashioned out of sustainable ebony from Indonesian and set with moonstone ($1,575).

Owners Higgins and Daunell provide in-house custom jewelry design, and are currently working on their own line, though there are no ready-made pieces featured in the store from them at present. The store also recycles gold and platinum for jewelry or cash, repairs jewelry, and offer appraisals for insurance or estate purposes.

In addition to showplace jewelry, the work of local artists is featured on the walls and is rotated approximately every four months. Currently on display is the woven metal artwork of San Francisco’s own Chrystie Cappelli.

Another stunning showpiece found currently at D&H is the chess set by metalsmith Hratch Nargizian. The Indian and Mesopotamian inspired chess pieces are made of bronze and pewter, and the board is carved out of gemstones.

Up the short flight of stairs covered with a rug made up of strips of leather is the Rose Cut Wine Bar. It’s a lovely Zen-like space for sipping wine by the glass or bottle. The room is flooded with light, and behind the bar are succulents hanging from chains. Even the wood for the wine bar is green. It’s a piece of a polished and carved sycamore tree that fell during a storm.

Rose Cut offers mostly local Californian wines that are either grown and/or produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. Only one vineyard is featured at a time and the selection rotates every few months. Just note that the wine bar is only open Thursday through Sunday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.