When we think of jewelry, we often think about the physical attributes—color, type of stone, size, and how it might complement a person and his or her style. We don’t often think about how jewelry is made or where it comes from. As 90 million carats of rough diamonds and 1,600 tons of gold are mined for jewelry every year, it’s crucial that the jewels we purchase come from sources that uphold values of human rights and sustainability.
We’ve vetted some reliable and ethical jewelry brands you can count on to make sure that what you wear comes from honest, safe, and valuable sources.
What is Ethical Jewelry?
Ethical jewelry is jewelry made from sustainable production and sources—the people, materials, and practices involved, which includes:
- The people behind the production must be treated well and work under fair and safe labor conditions (no child labor, fair wages, safe workplace, etc.).
- The production and practices involved do not harm the environment and the surrounding communities.
- The materials involved are traceable, and they come from synthetic and natural resources.
Acquiring diamonds, gemstones, and metals involves mining and supply chains that are a critical source of income for many people around the world. Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of violations that have sparked human rights due diligence. This is a process to “identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for their own impact on human rights throughout the supply chain” and establish accountability among jewelry companies.
Moreover, mining deteriorates our environmental health. For example, mining to create a single 1/3-ounce, 18-karat ring produces at least 20 tons of waste and 13 pounds of toxic emissions.
As consumers, we should ensure that the jewelry we purchase comes from organizations that work toward reducing their impact on the environment and do not violate the livelihood of human beings.
Where Do You Buy Ethical Jewelry?
There are several ethical jewelry brands to consider. By purchasing products from the right companies, you support human rights and sustainable practices involved in these precious items.
B-corp certified, this San Francisco-based brand strives to “balance profit with purpose.” They employ artisan entrepreneurs, incorporating a mobile-powered “virtual factory” that connects them with the global marketplace. Soko uses locally-sourced and eco-friendly materials to create their products.
They work with local artisans from Peru and Kenya to create their jewelry. Nisolo is committed to paying living wages to their employees and make contributions to climate change and rainforests. They are a B-certified corporation and strive to continuously establish better social and environmental standards throughout their supply chain.
Smiling Rocks is a lab-grown diamond and jewelry brand. With a focus on providing responsibly-made jewelry, they grow their diamonds in similar “crystal structures, chemical compositions, and physical properties” as mined rocks. And through lab-growth, they strive to reduce their impact on the environment.
This New York-based jewelry brand only uses 100%-recycled gold to help alleviate environmental impact. au-rate is committed to using only family-run pearl farms that give back to their local communities. And, when it comes to their diamonds and gems, they stand by the Kimberly Process. They insist that the mines they use carry safe working conditions and fair pay for their workers and that they respect the local surrounding communities.
This German brand provides job opportunities for unemployed mothers and grandmothers from local villages to create their pieces. The WALD team teaches these women how to craft their jewelry out of their homes.
With the belief that “fine jewelry and responsible business practice cannot exist without each other,” this Italian brand has been committed to selling ethically sourced and recycled gold. Not to mention, creative director Guya Merkle founded Earthbeat Solutions Foundation, an organization that campaigns for the ethical handling of gold.
Based in Mexico City, Tuza was founded by Suzzan Atala, who was born in the city and wanted to provide opportunities for her community. Through her jewelry business, not only does she provide fair pay to all parties involved by maintaining a “made-to-order” model, but she also donates a portion of proceeds to female-lead organizations.
In order to make smart and impactful consumer choices, it’s essential to understand where products originate. Be sure to use these ethical jewelry brands to help build a safer and more sustainable world.
Spring Power & Gas understands the importance of incorporating sustainable products and goods into your life. Contact us today to learn more about making greener options to foster a safer and healthier future.