It is a topic that was not often discussed in the past, because it never seemed to be an issue. You’d go shopping, pick out what you like, and wear it. It was that simple. But in recent years it has come to our attention that we need to do a little research beforehand to ensure our jewellery was produced with environmentally friendly elements using the most eco-safe methods available.
We encourage everyone to learn more about what makes jewellery environmentally friendly and how to discover if those gorgeous baubles you’ve been eyeing will make the cut.
What makes Jewellery Environmentally Friendly?
Any industrial jewellery mining is going to have negative impacts on the environment, ranging from land erosion, to harmful chemicals being dumped into local water supplies. Obviously, both activities alter the eco system. So the idea is to purchase jewellery that was mined with the least possible negative impact on the environment. Some jewellery isn’t mined at all which makes those pieces the most eco-friendly.
Gold mining is one of the most environmentally disruptive methods of jewellery production. According to several expert sources, one gold ring creates 20 tons of mine waste and destroys the natural landscape. Although purchasing recycled and vintage gold pieces is not always an option, they should be considered whenever possible.
Pearls are an example of one of the most eco-friendly gems as they aren’t mined at all. The only downfall is they use high-powered hoses to clean the oysters (yes, pearls do come from oysters). Some smart pearl farmers use tropical fish rather than hoses to clean the oysters, which prevents damaging the environment.
Options to Consider
There are jewellery designers and jewellery companies that are committed to using ethical jewellery industry practices. Some use lab-created gemstones, such as sapphires. The beauty of synthetic gemstones is they are optically and atomically identical to genuine stones and there is absolutely no mining involved. Consider a unique wedding ring for her created with Moissanite, which is an eco-friendly alternative to diamond and actually more affordable. Once you open your mind to the idea of environmentally friendly jewellery, you will start to notice more and more possibilities.
Lisa Krikawa, jewellery artisan and owner of Krikawa Jewelry Designs explains, “Krikawa supports the “No Dirty Gold” Golden Rules which encourages active pursuit of “cleaner” sources of gold. There are many resources available to help the overall cause. For example, we offer conflict-free diamonds from Canada, recycled metals from Hoover & Strong, fair trade gemstones from Columbia Gem House, and more. We are proud to say we have passed the rigorous standards of the London-based Responsible Jewellery Council with success and are now RJC certified.”
Socially Responsible Jewelers are certified
The Responsible Jewellery Council is an international not-for-profit organization representing over 80 member companies across the gold and diamond jewellery supply chain. Its purpose is to promote ethical, social, and environmental practices in the jewellery industry through its member certification process.
RJC Members are committed to promoting responsible ethical, human rights, social and environmental practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the industry from mine to retail. Their commitment aims to reinforce consumer and stakeholder confidence in diamond and gold jewellery products.
Just like recycling cans, papers and the like, it is important to understand other ways to contribute to our earth’s welfare and happiness. Being a socially responsible jewellery buyer is an excellent way to add another level of eco-care into your purchasing habits.
Take a few moments to resource online or local jewelers that are socially responsible and as eco-friendly as possible. A simple way to begin is to review members of the Responsible Jewelers Council and go from there.