There are few conversations that have become as profoundly important as that of sustainability. As the climate crisis edges its way towards the point of no return, examining the environmental impact of consumption is imperative.
The world of jewellery is now part of this conversation. Today, jewellery can not only be beautiful, but ethical too. As consumers, it is now possible to understand where each piece comes from and how sustainable it actually is - though a tall order for even the most environmentally conscious among us.
So, rather handily, we’ve put together a few of the ideas and brands to look out for when you’re scouting your next crown jewel.
Recycled precious metal
Even the most modest of gold bands involves processes that can span continents, making traceability a challenge the jewellery industry is facing in its effort to become more sustainable. Adding to that the metal mining industry’s history of labour abuse and environmental devastation, buying gold or silver jewellery becomes tricky ground.
Happily though, most precious metals can be recycled without degrading their appearance or quality. So, a sustainable option when buying jewellery is to look for brands that use recycled precious metals sourced from the likes of recycled scrap jewellery, electronics or medical equipment.
Mined diamonds often pass through several owners making it a challenge to trace their origin, rendering assessing their sustainability difficult.
Man-made diamonds (also called aboveground diamonds) are identical to mined diamonds; the stones grow through the same processes that occur in the Earth’s layers, but unlike mined diamonds, they aren’t grown underground and so do not raise any questions about their social or environmental impact. Jewellery brands employ engineers to grow aboveground diamonds under controlled conditions, often with no carbon footprint at all.
Fairtrade and Fairmined gold
While gold mining has a history of disrupting indigenous communities, polluting waterways, and unfair labour, more brands are making an effort to clean up the industry by certifying their gold meets international sustainability standards. Fairtrade and Fairmined gold certification is awarded after taking working conditions, fair wages, chemical handling, women’s rights and child labour into account, ensuring a piece of jewellery is indeed sustainable.
Photos: Instagram, Jason Lloyd-Evans and Supplied