Beginner’s Guide to Eco-Friendly Jewelry

Eco Friendly

Through recent years, we’ve all become more conscious of what we’re buying and where it came from. Among the many other things, we’re doing to protect the environment, we should also be considering the environmental impact of the jewelry we buy and wear.
There are many questions you may have relating to what makes eco-friendly jewelry and how to know if the piece you’re considering was made with the environment in mind. Let us take a look at eco-friendly jewelry together.

Eco-friendly Jewelry

Eco-friendly jewelry is made with little to no negative impact on the environment through the whole production process – from the extraction of materials to the shipment of the products to you. This, among other things, constitutes a reduction of carbon footprint, avoidance of environmentally destructive mining practices or use of unnecessary plastic and other materials. To understand more about eco-friendly jewelry, it is important that we take a look at the different eco-friendly materials.

Eco-friendly Diamonds

Eco-friendly Jewelry: diamonds
One of the main concerns when it comes to eco-friendly jewelry is the environmental impact of diamonds. As these are formed underground, they need to be extracted through mining. Some of the methods used to extract them are open-pit mining, marine mining and artisanal mining, each with its set of challenges. Needless to say, these methods can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, because of the use of heavy machinery. Transport can also be environmentally damaging, as mines are often located in developing countries. Then, the diamond is cut and polished into its final form and added to the jewelry piece.
Like many other materials, diamonds are a finite resource – and their numbers in the market have been decreasing in recent years because of that. This has also increased the demand for ethically and sustainably sourced diamonds.
The key to finding eco-friendly diamonds is retailer transparency. Look for as much detail as possible on mining practices, labor conditions and other specifications of origin. As there currently isn’t a Fairtrade certification for diamonds, you’ll need to do your own research.
One great way to reduce your impact on the environment and buy eco-friendly, ethical jewelry, is to opt for second-hand jewelry or look for brands that use repurposed diamonds!

Gold and Silver Sustainability

Similar to diamond mining, the extraction of gold and silver is a very environmentally-taxing process. Toxic waste is also a big problem associated with silver and gold mining, possibly causing environmental contamination of entire ecosystems. This can have serious impacts on both humans and other forms of life on our planet.
Additionally, as most gold and silver deposits exist in developing countries and the material has to be transported across half the world, adding to the carbon footprint.
If you’re buying gold jewelry, look for Fair Trade certification. Choosing Fair Trade means you’re supporting small, independent miners who are protecting the local environment and communities, resulting in much more ethical jewelry.
However, the most ethical and eco-friendly silver and gold you can is recycled. This way, no new materials need to be extracted, which means you don’t have to worry about any of the environmental threats listed above. The only environmental impact is of the resources (mainly energy) needed to recycle these materials and turn them into a new piece of eco-friendly jewelry.

Eco-friendly Jewelry Brands to Try

Eco-Friendly Jewelry: Brilliant Earth
Image Sourced from Brilliant Earth’s website
If you’ve decided to reduce your impact on the environment by choosing more eco-friendly jewelry, these brands may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Eco-friendly Jewelry Brand #1: Brilliant Earth

If you’re searching for engagement rings or other diamond jewelry, Brilliant Earth is one of the best places to go. Their collection goes beyond conflict-free and uses recycled precious metals along with sustainably sourced diamonds.

Option #2: Article 22

Article 22 creates stunning statement ethical jewelry using recycled materials from Vietnam War bombs, plane parts, military hardware, and other aluminum scraps! The pieces are crafted by local artisans in Laos.

Last Eco-friendly Jewelry Brand: TAMGA Designs

Alongside their clothing collection, this brand also offers a range of eco-friendly jewelry made by local artisans in Mexico using metals and stones sourced responsibly in the area. If you live in America, choosing jewelry made in Mexico is a great way to decrease your carbon footprint, as most other brands source their materials much further away.

A note on conscious consumption

One of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact is simply to get the best use out of what you have, rather than buying new things. If you already have the jewelry you like in your possession, don’t rush to replace it or extend your collections. That way, the most eco-friendly jewelry you can find is that which you already own.
When you buy new jewelry, look for eco-friendly jewelry, always make sure to take good care of it so that it can last you a long time. Pick pieces with a timeless feel, that you’re going to want to wear 5 or 10 years from now. Buy jewelry with the intention of making it last.
Now that you know about eco-friendly jewelry, ever confused about what ethical jewelry is? Here is an article about ethical jewelry.
Want to know about more eco-friendly products that you should try in 2021, don’t worry, here is the perfect article for you!

Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!