Ethical practice and sustainability are now at the top of many people’s priorities, and rightly so. Whether it’s fashion or food, more and more of us want to know that what we’re purchasing has been sourced and produced in an ethical and humane way. Whilst the jewellery industry may be a long way off being entirely sustainable and transparent, an increasing number of brands are pledging their commitment to change, making it easier for us to buy jewellery that we love with a totally clear conscience.
Here at JewelStreet, we’re home to designers and brands who support transparency and fair practice in the ethical jewellery supply chain. Here are some things to consider when buying ethical jewellery.
Traceability is key
Buying ethically is all about traceability - you should know where the materials are from and where the jewellery was crafted. Is the diamond conflict-free? Where was the gold mined from or is it recycled? Are the artisans who made the piece been paid a fair wage and working in suitable working conditions? There are many things to consider when buying ethical jewellery and the best way to get the facts is by doing your research on the brand you’re buying from. And, if you’re not sure about something, don’t be afraid to ask. At JewelStreet you can send a direct message to the designer with any questions or queries you have about their jewellery.
Go for recycled materials
By choosing jewellery crafted from recycled gold, silver or platinum, you’re decreasing the global demand for newly minded gold. This can help to diminish the environmentally and socially destructive effects of dirty gold and other metal mining practices. Precious metals can be recycled repeatedly with no degradation in quality, making them a naturally renewable resource.
Look for the Fairtrade mark
Ninety per cent of the labour force involved in gold mining is made up of artisanal and small-scale miners who produce between 200-300 tonnes of gold each year. Around 70% of this is used to make jewellery. Buying Fairtrade Gold makes a real difference to the lives of miners, their families and communities. When you buy jewellery with the Fairtrade stamp, you can rest assured that the small-scale and artisanal miners were paid a fair price and they also receive additional money to invest in building a future for their families and communities, through education, medical care and environmental projects.
Never (ever) buy blood diamonds
Also known as a conflict diamond, blood diamond is a term used for a diamond mined in a war zone and sold by rebel dictators to fund wars against legitimate governments. To help stop the trade of conflict diamonds, in 2003 The Kimberly Process was put in place. It’s a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds by imposing extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free'. Kimberly Process members now account for approximately 99.8% of the global production of rough diamonds. Although The Kimberley Process does not certify individual jewellers, the majority of designers will now only buy from suppliers that can guarantee that their diamonds are conflict-free.
Pearls are naturally ethical
Did you know that even the smallest fluctuation in water temperature or pollution levels in the sea can be completely catastrophic for pearls? Pearls are a reliable barometer of conditions at seas, so it’s in the best interests of the pearl industry and pearl farmers to keep a completely pristine environment with no pollution. Thus, making pearl jewellery a naturally ethical option.
Buy on JewelStreet
JewelStreet is home to hundreds of independent jewellery designers and brands. Every single one of our designers has been vetted by us so that you know you’re buying quality jewellery that has been sourced and produced in an ethical manner.
6 GO-TO ETHICAL JEWELLERY DESIGNERS
Olivia Ewing Jewelry