Living sustainably is one of the most efficient ways to keep our environment healthy. It includes every aspect of your day, everything you use. From buying organic products to segregating garbage, practising composting to carpooling, every action is a supplement to guard resources on this planet.
With the wedding season in tow, much-needed attention is garnered by jewellery. Brides, Indian or western, are incomplete without jewellery. However keeping the trend of sustainability alive, this article dives into the issue of eco-friendly jewellery.
What is Eco-friendly Jewellery?
Jewellery with very less or no impact on the environment, including minimal carbon footprint, is considered eco-friendly. Eco-friendly jewellery constitutes ornaments made from recyclable materials, gemstones, pearls, and synthetic diamonds. Vintage jewellery is also one of the examples of eco-friendly wear. Considering the ecological impact of jewellery, mined and assembled in industries, is an important step towards eradicating numerous hazards this process has on our environment.
Apart from eco-friendly jewellery, another very important aspect to consider, when buying, is whether the jewellery is ethical. So let us understand the ethical aspects of jewellery. Conflict-diamonds is a term that most of us must have heard of. The diamonds mined in regions marred by civil war, turmoil, and agitation are referred to as conflict diamonds. The precious stones excavated in such areas are collected by poor workers, who are paid less, and in violation of human rights laws include child labourers too. The revenue from selling off diamonds, to industries all over the globe, is utilized in purchasing weaponry to further subjugate the occupied land. This is the most important and near-home definition of jewellery that is unethical and exploits the lives of every worker involved.
Ecological Impact of Virgin Jewellery
A lot goes into the preparation of freshly made jewellery found in markets today. If its gold, the areas rich in gold reserves are mined. About 100% of the time, mining has a negative impact on the area and results in leaching of a variety of compounds, most of which are harmful to the ecosystem and the human civilization, if living nearby. Apart from soil erosion, mining releases a lot of obnoxious gases into the atmosphere, thus resulting in air pollution. With an increase in demand for new, exquisite gold jewellery, more areas are mined regularly leading to an even greater increase in pollution. When considering diamonds, the situation is even more threatening. Not just to the environment but manpower involved too. Ethical and eco-friendly jewellery takes care of the environment, sustaining us all, as well as the people we share equal rights with.
Global Brands that Sell Ethical, Eco-friendly Jewellery
Eco-friendly jewellery, as mentioned earlier, is usually manufactured from recycled material. It may include vintage jewellery too. Apart from this, diamonds synthesized artificially, with minimum carbon footprint, or gemstones which require less mining activity, and pearls which are mined using tropical fish, are some of the definitive examples of eco-friendly jewellery. Many brands all over the globe have invested in creating eco-friendly jewellery. These include:
- Rene Stewart and Monarc: Manufacture handcrafted trendy jewellery as per Fair Trade certification. Most of their sustainable jewellery is made from recycled material.
- Emma Aitchinson: British designer who uses jewellery as a platform to raise awareness about climate change.
- Simply Wood Rings: Offers a wide variety of wooden wedding rings with exotic inlay for the co-conscious.
- Brilliant Earth: This brand is one of the best in the world offering ethically sourced, conflict-free diamonds. It also manufactures lab-grown gemstones for the socially conscious consumers.
- Eco Lustre: Offers handcrafted artisan jewellery that is sustainable, and made with eco-friendly materials.
Tada & Joy, Pippa Small, Lovebullets, Anna Katarina, and Delight London are some other well-known brands. These companies follow ethical standards where the raw materials can be tracked back to the source for the consumers to know the jewellery is conflict-free and has no adverse ecological impact. Also, most of the materials used are recycled metal products. These even refurbish your old jewellery and create new designs to match the current trend.
Eco-friendly Jewellery Brands in India
In India, jewellery is more important than in any other part of the world. This is because an Indian bride revolves around jewellery. Many families invest in gold, diamonds, rubies and a variety of other stones to adorn their brides. Considering such a large market, it is imperative that Indians understand other options available which would help reduce the impact on their immediate or distant environment, both ethically and ecologically. The Haldi ceremony for brides observed at most weddings uses floral jewellery. Considering how natural materials beautify the bride so graciously, involving jewellery that has a more down-to-earth origin makes sense. Some of the upcoming brands in India that sell eco-friendly jewellery are:
- Daughters of the Ganges: Provides clients with exquisite home-made jewellery made by craftsmen and women.
- Love Darling: Sells personalized jewellery, usually made in pearls. It is inspired by UN’s SDGs.
- No Nasties: Utilizes Fair Trade certifications to manufacture organic and vegan jewellery with little impact on the ecosystem.
- Ba No Batwo: Mostly features ethnic jewellery. Utilizing hand-crafted items made from recyclable materials, art from tribal regions coalesced with the newest fashion trends and second-hand stones, this brand truly inspires awe.
- Ananda Soul Creations: Offers gemstones, blessed by priests, and handcrafted to perfection. The designs by this brand are bound to adorn brides with majesty and earthly beauty.
You can visit their websites for ordering eco-friendly jewellery.
Know About Certifications
When talking about sustainable jewellery, certain important certifications should be taken into consideration.
- Fair Trade Certified Mark is one such label. It includes backtracking privilege for buyers.
- Fairmined Certification is an assurance label. It certifies gold from responsible small-scale mining organizations. This standard also includes requirements for mining organisations to perform responsible operations, labour conditions, environment protection, and traceability. All this is backed up by a rigorous third-party certification and audit system.
- RJC is Responsible Jewellery Council, helps establishments of all sizes, all through the jewellery supply chain, meet the ever-rising ethical demands of consumers, competitors, peers, civil society, and financial institutions. It proffers a clear set of standards, commonly referred to as the Code of Practices, which is verified through a third-party. This code, when adhered to properly, forms a path for companies to address sustainable practices and correspond with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- The RJC’s Chain-of-Custody Certification for precious metals supports initiatives on responsible sourcing and supply chain.
- SCS Certification assures customers that the brand uses recycled metals and gemstones, avoids conflict metals actively, and does not include materials from illegal sources. In addition, it makes sure that the brand follows ethical benchmarks for responsible supply chain.
- Kimberley Process Certification (KPCS) certifies conflict-free rough diamonds and includes responsible sourcing and backtracking facility. It prevents rough diamonds from entering the legitimate trade.
Using eco-friendly jewellery may seem a far-fetched idea to people, given the lure of pure diamonds and sparkling gold. However, wearing rings, bracelets and chokers completely different from traditional designs and materials make a woman look prestigiously elegant. In addition to broadening your taste, you contribute to a safe environment for all. Recycling old novelties, reusing vintage ornaments for important occasions, and reducing the use of new jewellery, is the most efficient way to a sustainable and honourable future.
Ms. Adeela Hameed, M.Sc. Environmental Science.