The Ultimate Sustainable and Ethical Jewelry Buying Guide


TLDR: The jewelry industry has long been considered a major polluter, responsible for the extraction of precious metals at any cost – harming both people and the planet in the process. The negative environment consequences, unethical mining of gemstones, and production processes full of harmful chemicals of the traditional jewlery industry are enough to swear some people off from wearing jewelry all together. However, there is a ways to buy jewelry that is both sustainable and ethical. This article will teach you everything you need to know about finding and buying jewelry that's good for the environment, the planet, and the people who make it.


What is Sustainable Jewelry and Ethical Jewelry?


Sustainable jewelry (also known as eco-friendly jewelry) is jewelry made with materials and processes that have a low impact on the environment, the planet, and the people who make your jewelry. It is also jewlery that is ethically made made with fair labor practices that meet or exceed living wage standards. Sustainable jewelry can be made from a variety of materials, including recycled metals, ethically sourced gemstones, sustainable hardwoods, and minerals and materials from found objects that do not have to be mined from the earth.

 

Why is it Important to Buy Sustainable and Ethical Jewlery?


Buying sustainable and ethical jewelry is important because it can help to protect the environment, support ethical production practices and fair wages, and support brands and small businesses that are working to make a difference in the world by making products that are ethically made and sustainably sourced. When you buy sustainable and ethical jewelry you’re voting with your dollar for positive change for people and our planet.


What to Look for When Buying Sustainable Jewelry


Here are some things to look for when buying sustainable jewelry:

Recycled Metals

 

Many jewelry brands now use recycled metals, such as gold, silver, and platinum. Recycled metals are a great sustainable and ethical choice when buying jewelry. Choosing jewelry made from recycled metals helps reduce the demand for virgin metals, which can be harmful to the environment when extracted from the earth. For example, the extraction of gold can pollute waterways and contribute to deforestation and traditional gold mining often uses chemicals, like cyanide, to aid in the extraction process. Recycled gold reduces the need to mine new gold, which can help to protect the environment and the miners. Additionally, recycled metals are often sourced from responsible suppliers who follow ethical practices. This means that the workers who mine and process the metals are treated fairly and that the environment is not harmed.

Remi Dark Green Upcycled Mini Earrings
Remi Dark Green Upcycled Mini Earrings
Njoka 14k Gold Necklace
Njoka 14k Gold Necklace
Deep Pearl Recycled Gold Stud Earrings
Deep Pearl Recycled Gold Stud Earrings

Common recycled metals used in sustainable jewelry include:

 

Recycled Copper: Cooper is a common, highly recyclable metal frequently used in sustainable jewelry because it is plentiful and cost-effecitve.


Recycled Silver: Silver is another highly recyclable metal, and it is often used in sustainable jewelry because it is relatively inexpensive.


Recycled Gold: Gold is a highly recyclable metal, and it can be melted down and reused without losing its quality.


Recycled Platinum: Platinum is a rare and precious metal, but it is also highly recyclable.

Ethically Sourced Gemstones

 

Some gemstones, such as diamonds, are often mined in conflict zones, where the proceeds of mining can fund violence and human rights abuses. Look for jewelry that uses ethically sourced gemstones, such as those that have been certified to come from conflict-free areas and use ethical extraction processes that do not create addtional polution or chemical waste.

Gemstone Drop Choker Necklace
Gemstone Drop Choker Necklace
Little Lunar Choker - Gold Tone Bronze
Little Lunar Choker - Gold Tone Bronze
Mini Polaris Earrings
Mini Polaris Earrings

Fair Labor Practices and Fairmined Gold


The jewelry industry is often associated with unethical labor from questionable employment sources and sometimes underage workers. Look for jewelry made in factories certified by a fair labor organization like Fair Trade Federation or the World Fair Trade Organization. Fair trade certifications ensures that workers making the jewelry are paid a fair wage and are working in safe working conditions.


Additionally, fairmined certified gold is another great option to look for. Fairminded gold comes from mines that meet high social and environmental standards.

Pamoza 14k Gold Earrings
Pamoza 14k Gold Earrings
Sitima 14k Gold Necklace
Sitima 14k Gold Necklace

Top Tips for Buying Sustainable and Ethical Jewelry

 

Here are some top tips for buying sustainable and ethical jewelry:

Do your research

 

Before you buy a new piece of jewelry, take some time to research the brands you are considering. Look for brands that are transparent about their sourcing practices and that have a commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing. You can find this information on the brand's website or by contacting the brand directly.


Ask questions


When you are shopping for jewelry, don't be afraid to ask questions about the materials used and the sourcing practices of the raw materials.

Cuerda One of a Kind Beaded Choker
Cuerda One of a Kind Beaded Choker

Support sustainable brands

 

When you buy sustainable and ethical jewelry, you are supporting brands that are working to make a difference. Your purchase can help to reduce pollution, protect human rights, and promote fair labor practices. When you shop on Made Trade you’re shopping on the highest-quality jewlery that has been independently verified and vetted for fair labor and sustainable sourcing of materials. You can also ask the Made Trade team any question you have about any of our jewlery products allowing you to buy with full transparency and absolute confidence. On Made Trade you can discover unique ethical and sustainable jewlery pieces like handmade earrings in minimalist jewelry styles, fair trade necklaces, ethically sourced bracelets, and natural and recycled metal rings.

 

Our favorite sustainable jewelry pieces

Cuerda One of a Kind Beaded Choker
Cuerda One of a Kind Beaded Choker
Long Mother of Pearl Geometric Earrings
Long Mother of Pearl Geometric Earrings
Be Light Recycled Gold Stacking Rings - Set
Be Light Recycled Gold Stacking Rings - Set
Mini Balance Beaded Earrings
Mini Balance Beaded Earrings

Conclusion

 

Buying sustainable and ethical jewelry is a great way to express your personal style while making a positivie differecne for both people and the planet. Being mindful and asking questions before your next jewlery purchase will allow you to ensure the jewelry you’re purchasing is eco-friendly, sustainably sourced, and ethically made.

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