Sustainable jewelry has recently emerged as a sought after item. Just as consumers are rethinking their shopping habits when it comes to buying clothes, so too has there been a greater focus on making ethical decisions when choosing jewelry. Sustainable jewelry is the solution. It is every bit as lovely and luxurious as mainstream pieces but with a lighter weight on the planet. Upgrade your jewelry box with some sustainable pieces from these brands we admire today.
- What is Sustainable Jewelry?
- Is Sustainable Jewelry Also Ethical?
- 6 Sustainable Jewelry Brands
- Can Big Brands be Sustainable Too?
What is Sustainable Jewelry?
Sustainable jewelry is jewelry that has minimal negative impact on the environment it is created in. Like slow fashion items, sustainable jewelry is designed to be high quality and long lasting to reduce unnecessary waste in the industry. To be regarded as sustainable, a jewelry brand should meet the following criteria:
- Uses recycled metals.
- Uses recycled gemstones.
- Doesn’t pollute the environment.
- Only uses sustainable mining practices if any.
In the same way that alternatives to fast fashion are gaining popularity, alternatives to unsustainable jewelry are on the rise.
Is Sustainable Jewelry Also Ethical?
Whilst sustainability and good ethics often go hand in hand, sustainable jewelry and ethical jewelry aren’t necessarily the same thing. Sustainable jewelry is made using processes that do no harm to the environment whereas ethical jewelry is made using processes that do no harm to people or workers. These categories can overlap and it is possible for a brand to create ethical and sustainable jewelry. To be regarded as ethical jewelry, an item must meet the following criteria:
- Doesn’t use child labour.
- Does ensure fair wages and working hours.
- Does ensure safe working and mining conditions.
- Uses fairly traded and conflict-free materials such as ethical diamonds.
- Can trace materials back to source.
The next time you do some jewelry shopping, try to support a sustainable jewelry brand which is also committed to ethical practices.
6 Sustainable Jewelry Brands
Sustainable jewelry can be a thoughtful gift for a loved one or a fabulous, eco-friendly addition to your own collection! Here are some sustainable jewelry brands who are working hard to create pieces that look good on you and do good for the planet. Take a look at our favorites now:
1. Edge of Ember
Edge of Ember describe themselves as a small but mighty, female led team based in London. Their mission is to bring fine jewelry that doesn't cost the earth to everyone. Not only do Edge of Ember make some stunning accessories that can compliment any wardrobe but also, they are committed to creating jewelry that doesn’t harm people or the planet. The business is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to ensure that the company is having a positive impact. From partnering with charities such as The Malala Fund, to being carbon neutral, to using ethically sourced gemstones and lab grown diamonds, Edge of Ember are doing some amazing work. What’s more, they launched a Re/Make jewelry Recycling Initiative which helps minimize waste and put metals back in the supply chain. If you are doing some sustainable wedding jewelry shopping or looking for personalised gifts, Edge of Ember won’t disappoint.
2. Monica Vinader
In the UK, Monica Vinader is one of the jewelry companies that are leading the way in sustainability. The founder, Monica, designs jewelry that empowers, uplifts and endures. All their products are made from recycled gold vermeil, recycled sterling silver and sustainably sourced natural gemstones, diamonds and pearls. What’s more, Monica Vinader claims to have removed all single-use plastic from their supply chain, uses 100% recyclable packaging and is completely carbon neutral. With all these achievements, it is not surprising that Monica Vinader won the 2022 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development as well as Positive Luxury’s Responsible Luxury Business of the Year Award. Shop Monica Vinader for beautiful and sustainable jewelry you won’t want to ever take off.
3. Pippa Small
If you are looking for sustainable jewelry that is eye-catching and utterly swoon worthy, look no further than Pippa Small. Based from London, Pippa Small is an ethical jeweler who works with artisans across the globe to bring her customers stunning pieces of handmade jewelry. For intricate and sustainable gold jewelry, have a look at the Jordan or Myanmar collections. By working with locals in troubled areas, Pippa Small is helping to protect and promote traditional crafts and to provide sustainable training and employment opportunities. What’s more, in 2013 Pippa Small was named ambassador of the human rights organization Survival International and she has been awarded an MBE by the Queen for her ethical jewelry and charity work. The combination of human rights work, use of traditional jewelry making techniques, and gorgeous designs is what makes Pippa Small one of our favorite sustainable jewelry companies.
4. Valerie Madison
Valerie Madison is the definition of elegant and luxurious fine jewelry. Owner Valerie, started with a degree in Environmental Science & Resource Management before launching her jewelry brand. With this background, you can believe that Valerie knows a thing or two about putting the planet first! Alongside recycling gold and silver, the company uses recycled diamonds where possible as it believes them to be the most eco-friendly choice. With only the highest quality materials and timeless designs, this is the place to shop for sustainable engagement rings and gold wedding bands. Valerie Madison is a black owned sustainable jewelry company so supporting them is two good deeds in one!
5. Wild Fawn
From its very beginning, Wild Fawn has had sustainability at the heart of what it does. Their ethos is ‘people over profit’ which means growth never comes at the expense of poor working conditions or detrimental impacts to the Earth. Wild Fawn’s minimal designs are created to be stylish and affordable. They even have an everyday ethical essentials collection. If you’re on the hunt for sustainable wedding jewelry, they can do that too. Wild Fawn is a registered Fairtrade Gold Business, their jewelry is handmade to order by an all female team, and they are partnered with B1G1 to offset their carbon emissions. I could go on! From packaging, to people to fair practices, Wild Fawn has a long list of sustainable commitments. It’s hard not to become a big fan of this sustainable jewelry brand!
6. Yala Jewelry
Yala is an award-winning, black owned sustainable jewelry company. Their ethical jewelry collections are affordable and virtually guaranteed to bring in the compliments! Yala was the first jewelry company in the UK to become a certified B-Corp and have been a market leader since then. Their unique pieces are all crafted from eco-friendly materials, their packaging is FSC certified, recyclable or biodegradable and they partner with EcoCart to offset any carbon emissions from their deliveries. This is just scratching the surface of everything Yala does to have a positive impact! Yala also works directly with artisans in Kenya, ensuring they receive fair wages, safe and healthy work environments, and real recognition for their talent. If you want to help the planet and look good doing it, Yala is the sustainable jewelry company for you!
Can Big Brands be Sustainable Too?
The sustainable jewelry companies above are all relatively young brands. However, established brands are hearing the conscious consumers’ demands for eco-friendly products too. Many are either adapting their processes, introducing new eco lines or restructuring their business to ensure they also do their bit for the planet. Luxury jewelers Tiffany & Co. who were founded in 1837, released a 5 year sustainability plan in 2020. Swarovski which was founded in 1895 are also progressing towards their sustainability goals and have joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The young companies who are dedicated to ethical and sustainable jewelry are encouraging the rest of the industry to meet these standards.
Sustainable Jewelry for the Future
Buying sustainable jewelry is just one switch we can all make to help preserve the planet. From timeless statement pieces to simple but eye catching everyday staples, ethical jewelry is a great addition to the wardrobe. Whilst you’re thinking of giving your style an eco-friendly transformation, why not check out these slow beauty brands or vegan hair care brands?