Responsible Jewellery Choices
2021 heralds the beginning of a new year, and possibly a new you.
If conscious consumption is high on your agenda and you’d like to explore how to embrace this when purchasing or commissioning jewellery, here are some easy ideas that you can consider:
1. Fairtrade Gold
Approximately 10% of global gold supply is mined by artisanal miners, who generally lead difficult lives. The Fairtrade program ensures that they work in safe conditions, are paid fairly and receive a premium, which is invested in a variety of ways including infrastructure in their local community and improved mining equipment.
Fairtrade gold jewellery which meets the strict criteria is evidenced by bearing the Fairtrade hallmark.
2. Recycled Gold
An alternative to Fairtrade Gold is recycled gold. This can include some of your old pieces of jewellery, or bullion which has been refined.
3. Ethically Sourced Gemstones
This is the area in which you can arguably make the greatest difference. It is estimated that 75-80% of coloured gemstones are mined by small scale miners. It is a fragmented industry, so these miners are not well represented. They are historically poorly paid, work in dangerous and appalling conditions and have no chance to ever improve their lives.
We work closely with ethical suppliers who control the entire supply chain, providing the transparency and traceability from mine to market. Miners work in safe environments, undergo training, use local natural materials to create mine infrastructure, and are paid fairly.
There are some amazing iniatives, like Moyo Gems, which makes a staggering difference to artisanal small scale miner’s lives. There is more information available here about this extraordinary project.
4. Conflict Free Diamonds
The mining of rough diamonds is governed by the Kimberley Process which is a self regulated certification scheme established in 2000 to prevent the proceeds of sales of rough diamonds being channelled to political regimes to finance conflict.
Ensure that all jewellery featuring diamonds is accompanied by a Kimberley Process compliance statement.
5. Do NOT buy lab grown diamonds
There have been considerable unsubstantiated statements made about the “ethics” of lab grown diamonds. There is no credible evidence to date which supports the claim that lab grown diamonds are ethical or sustainable.
In order to produce a synthetic diamond, a manufacturer needs to replicate the conditions in which a natural diamond grows. This requires extreme temperature and pressure over a sustained period of time. This process requires vast amounts of energy- almost none of which comes from renewable energy supplies.
According to the “Total Clarity Report”, lab grown diamonds produce 3 times more greenhouse gases per polished carat than naturally mined diamonds.
Unlike natural diamonds, lab grown diamonds fail to support local communities or create positive social impact.
Until the lab grown sector is subject to the same scrutiny as the natural diamond industry, and can independently verify their ethical credentials, caution and careful research should be exercised to get a more complete and comprehensive understanding of their impact on the environment.
6. Restore or Re-imagine old or inherited jewellery
A strong but intangible thread is unquestionably created when jewellery is passed from one person to another. It’s a connection which seemingly continues to bind us.
It is not unusual for clients to inherit jewellery which has enormous sentimental value, but the style of the piece is so far removed from their own jewellery taste that the tendency is not to wear it. This can present a conundrum, but also create an opportunity. With a little ingenuity and creativity, the piece can be re-designed to retain the essence of the benefactor, whilst also integrating a sense of you.
If not re-modelled, the vast majority of jewellery which falls into this category goes largely unworn and sits in a safe or drawer… Far better to reinvigorate it with a new setting, so that it can be worn , loved and admired. As it was intended to be.
One final thing…
Lots of small initiatives can collectively make a difference. So, these suggestions are not binary- if you only pursue one thing, that is a great start. It’s cool to be kind. Be kind to others, kind to yourself and kind to the planet.
As always, if you’d like to discuss anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! ?