Everyone loves to have a little bling on themselves or receive a nice jewellery gift, especially for a special occasion. However, it’s well-known that buying certain jewellery items can negatively affect Mother Nature and the development of the communities involved in the jewellery supply chain. So how can you invest in jewellery and void the buyer’s guilt? It’s more than possible with sustainable and ethical jewellery! If you need some tips on how you can buy these items, here’s a little guide that will definitely help.
What is sustainable and ethical jewellery?
When we talk about sustainable and ethical jewellery, we are discussing products that are transparent and made according to responsible sourcing practices and with sustainable materials. These pieces have a minimal impact on the environment and didn’t cause any conflict. They also give back to workers with fair wages and safe working conditions.
Sustainable jewellery minimizes the negative impact of the industry by producing less air pollution, minimal water waste, water pollution, ecosystem damage and general waste and very few dangerous materials. When it comes to the ethical standpoint, it’s important to keep in mind that mines are responsible for human displacement, changes to land and agriculture opportunities, child labor, job site danger and social conflicts. If you buy jewellery with an ethical production and Fair Trade seal, you can help put a stop to exploitation.
Choose the right metal
Most pieces of durable jewellery are made with a type of metal. Some even have jewels and gems on them, but the metal is the basis for the jewellery piece. Many metals have to go through mining, processing and other processes to come into your hands, meaning they are not very green and ethical. It involves a lot of eco-systems damaged, water and energy wasted and people exploited.
Luckily, there are metals that have a smaller negative impact or even zero impact on the environment and communities. Recycled silver and gold are a great option if you want to own eco-friendly jewellery that has an ethical origin. Stainless steel is another great pick because it’s durable, hard-wearing and easily accessible material.
Choose the right diamond
Diamonds are still a girl’s best friend, even though there’s a lot of controversy connected to them. Diamond mining is a process that destroys habitats and involves unfair labor. However, there are ways we can have diamonds that are produced ethically and with all the codes and legalities in place. There’s even a better solution — lab-made diamonds that are completely man-made, fast and easy to produce and extra fine-quality. If you can find a jeweller who supplies their own gems for their fine diamond jewellery, you will know you’re getting the real deal. Thanks to their private team of experts, there’s no way someone can know you have a lab-grown diamond instead of a mined one, but you will know that you’re doing a lot of positive things for the environment and communities.
Look for certificates
Gold and silver markets are very controlled and straightforward, but gems can pass through many hands before they end up on your ring or around your neck. If you’re buying new, make sure to look for pieces that have all the necessary certifications that ensure the buyer of a traceable supply chain and no conflict (i.e. they were not used to fund violence). Shopping from local artisans is usually the most transparent path, but the best thing you can do is buy lab-grown gems or second-hand gems.
Seek durability and fair prices
According to experts, if you’re searching for sustainable and ethical jewellery pieces, it’s always best to aim for quality and not quantity. No matter if you’re choosing recycled metals, lab-grown materials and gems or second-hand pieces, it’s best to invest in durable pieces that are made to last for many years and stay fashionable forever. Like with fast fashion, cheap jewellery might fit your budget better at the moment, but if you consider their price per wear, it all comes down to a pretty similar number. However, cheap pieces will leave a bunch of trash and pollution behind them.
Buying sustainable and ethical jewellery will pay off in many ways. You will leave cleaner Earth behind you and help stop hunger, unfair labor and even wars. Plus, the pieces you end up with will last you a lifetime and you can wear them without any guilt.
Written by Diana Smith
About the Author
Diana Smith is a full time mum of two beautiful girls and is interested in sustainability, ecology and home improvement. She enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family. You can find her on Twitter here.
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