Jewelry is often given as a symbol of love and gratitude, but the industry practices behind many popular brands represent the opposite of these ideals. Gemstones and gold mining are entrenched in human and environmental abuses, while processes made to protect against these violations can be secretly circumvented.
The current mainstream certification processes, like the Kimberley Process, have been found to be easily exploited and undermined. Non-profit watchdog group Swedwatch reports the prevalence of child labor and abuse in diamond mines, as well as exposure to disease and physical hazards for both children and adults. According to the Washington Post, “The mining watchdog group Earthworks estimates that a standard 18-karat wedding band leaves behind 20 tons of ore and waste rock.” They go on to report that gold production releases hazardous chemicals and metals such as arsenic, cyanide, and mercury.
So how can we personally ensure that we put our dollars behind ethical companies? One surefire way is to shop smaller, and to look for terms such as “handmade”, “recycled base metals”, “fair trade”, and “certified B-corporation”. Here are some conscious brands we have worked with:
Both chic and kind, Durrah apprenticed with Jimmy Choo and was trained at Tiffany & Co. before striking out on her own to make fair trade, vegan, recycled jewelry using sustainable practices. Pictured is the exclusive Durrah Jewellery x LOVE GOODLY logo necklace in a rose gold shade that we featured in the Aug/Sept edition of our subscription box as well as in our shop.
Novica is an entire online collection dedicated to sourcing a wide range of goods from local artisans all over the world, many of whom live in developing countries. For more Novica, check out our exclusive interview with their Chief Executive here, or find them on LOVE GOODLY, where we carry a gift set created in collaboration with them. We’ve also featured their earrings in the June/July edition of our subscription box!
Christy Robinson is a jewelry designer and activist, based in Dallas, Texas. Using eco-friendly designs with recycled metals, each piece makes a statement on human, animal, environmental issues. She currently gives a portion of proceeds to earth, animal, or people-friendly charities. We carry some of her eco-friendly creations in our shop!
We often wear jewelry as an expression of our personal style, and even when we gift it to others, it is representative of our tastes and what we choose to patronize. These trinkets are so much easier to treasure when we know we’re also treasuring the lives of the people and planet that made them.