Sustainable adornments: 5 ways jewelry is becoming greener

Because today’s consumers are investing in more than a simple product, demand for ethically-sourced jewelry is on the rise. Millennials are aware of the problems with overconsumption and the impact their purchases make on the planet. They want to be part of the solution.

Because today’s consumers are investing in more than a simple product, demand for ethically-sourced jewelry is on the rise. Millennials are aware of the problems with overconsumption and the impact their purchases make on the planet. They want to be part of the solution. Those searching for gifts for wife and anyone else are deeply concerned with ethics behind the production of these items. As the saying goes, the customer is always right, and jewelry suppliers are taking note. Recycled, up-cycled, and re-refined minerals and gems are just some of the ways manufacturers are finding to reduce environmental impact. Read on to learn five ways jewelry is becoming cleaner and greener.

Sustainable Pearls

Pearl farming sometimes gets blamed for polluting ocean water, but many growers are taking steps to produce sustainably cultured pearls. For example, rather than power-spraying the oysters to remove unwanted extras like barnacles, farmers may move the mollusks to shallow water where fish clean them, creating a more natural food cycle. Other eco-friendly upgrades include using solar and wind to provide electricity at their farms. 

Pearls cultured in freshwater are quite naturally eco-friendly for the simple reason that oysters grow more and better pearls in clean, healthy conditions. That said, freshwater pearl farmers are adopting even more innovative and sustainable practices, such as harvesting rainwater to replenish lakes.

Fair Trade

‘Fair Trade’ covers a range of ethical practices that are meant to protect the planet and also improve the lives of the people who live on it. Fair trade standards promote the health and safety of artisans, offer sustainable income, and encourage environmental stewardship. Jewelry labeled ‘Certified Fair Trade’ means that a fair wage was paid to create the piece. Ideally, both the raw materials and the manufacturing processes adhere to internationally agreed upon standards. Fair Trade may also mean that the item was made of local, natural materials. But because this is not always the case, look for labels such as FLO-I, IFAT, NEWS! and EFTA, or their umbrella group, FINE so you can shop with confidence.

Conflict-Free Diamonds

The film Blood Diamond was highly influential in driving demand for ethical gems. Diamond mining can be problematic in multiple ways. The mining process may be harmful to the environment, including reckless excavation that causes the collapse of entire ecosystems. Rerouting rivers and building dams can be devastating to fish and other wildlife. Open pits that fill with stagnant rainwater can become infected with disease-carrying mosquitoes and other water-borne illnesses. Diamonds mined in war zones may also fund illicit activities and human rights abuses.

While supply chains for diamonds are complex, diamonds from conflict zones have decreased significantly in recent years. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) was implemented in 2003 and has helped to better track the source and flow of diamonds. While the KPCS has been criticized for failing to address problems such as smuggling and money-laundering, it is a step in the right direction. Conflict diamonds have been reduced to less than 1% of total diamond production.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

An alternative to natural diamonds is lab-grown. You can be sure your jewels didn’t fund a war when you buy cultured stones. Additional environmental benefits include manufacturers’ cleaning air exposed to chemicals prior to release and neutralizing liquid waste before disposal. The small amount of harmful chemicals remaining is disposed of in an ecologically-sound manner. Cultured diamonds are structurally identical to those that come from the earth, and take only days to produce rather than millions of years. As an added bonus, lab-created diamonds are often less expensive than their mined counterparts.

Clean Gold

Industrial gold mining can decimate habitats, contaminate water supplies, and create enormous amounts of poisonous waste. Open-pit mining and cyanide leaching are just two of the damaging but unfortunately common practices used in gold mining today. Your average-size gold band generates about 20 tons of toxic materials.

Over a hundred jewelry retailers including big names like Zales, Tiffany’s and QVC have agreed to comply with the ‘No Dirty Gold’ campaign. Mining companies pledge to disclose their practices and promise to excavate only in areas that are conflict-free and are not ecologically fragile. Additionally, these organizations agree to not contaminate the air, water or earth with their practices, and to adhere to basic human rights regulations.

Recycled Minerals

While the practice of mining probably won’t end anytime soon, more artisans are opting to create pieces from reclaimed materials. Precious metals last forever; it’s part of what makes them so valuable. Recycling precious metals like gold, silver and platinum just makes sense. This is especially true due to the increasing demand for rare earth metals in the manufacture of cell phones and other electronics. Add to that gold mining is one of the most environmentally destructive types of mineral extraction processes out there and recycling becomes an obvious choice. Gold and platinum are both rarer than diamonds and it is not yet cost-effective to create them in a lab. Sources of precious metals for recycling include post-consumer waste, industrial-use metals and electronic components.

Author bio

pasted-image.tiffSue Seabury is a novelist and regular contributor to the The Pearl Source blog. She lives in Baltimore where she divides her time between office and kitchen.

Next

Luxury jewelry brands: A list of top 16 in the world

TrendJewelryApril 3, 2021Luxury jewelry brands: A list of top 16 in the world

Here is a list of top 16 luxury jewelry brands in the world, which are known for their perfectly beautiful products as well as exquisite craftsmanship.

Latest

What are the guarding stone and the lucky stones for gemini?

JewelryAstrologyApril 12, 2021What are the guarding stone and the lucky stones for gemini?

Gemini is the sign of the third house of the ecliptic, they are curious by nature and love change. They are very resilient and can adapt well to any environment. So, what are the lucky and guardian stones for Gemini?
List of blue gemstones: Colors, meanings, specifications and iconic jewelry pieces with pictures

GemstonesJewelryApril 12, 2021List of blue gemstones: Colors, meanings, specifications and iconic jewelry pieces with pictures

Complete guide of blue gemstones, which includes a list of blue gemstones and their meanings, colors, and specifications.
All types of gemstones and their meanings: A complete list

GemstonesJewelryApril 12, 2021All types of gemstones and their meanings: A complete list

Among all kinds of gemstones, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds are regarded as four most precious stones; while mid-range gemstones such as aquamarines and tourmalines have been popular too.
Malachite: a beautiful and unique gemstone with powerful healing properties!

JewelryGemstonesApril 4, 2021Malachite: a beautiful and unique gemstone with powerful healing properties!

Malachite, from the Greek word Mallache, meaning "green", is one of the most attractive of the minerals. Malachite is identified by its malachite green color and typical bands, very special meanings and strong healing powers!
Best selling men’s cologne: A list of top 25 in the world

LifestyleMarch 31, 2021Best selling men’s cologne: A list of top 25 in the world

Here our editors have picked the top 25 best selling (smelling) men's colognes in the world for you, with their notes, smell, style, pricing and our reviews. Feel free to choose the ones that touch you most.
Everything that you need to know about the sardonyx stone

JewelryGemstonesMarch 30, 2021Everything that you need to know about the sardonyx stone

The sardonyx stone is a kind of agate with linear, parallel bands of various colors, including red, white, blue and black. It is one of the most holy stones in history that is often used in religious occasions, as well as the birthstone of August and a stone of protection and strength.
Everything about the agate stones: moss agate, blue lace agate, meaning, types and properties

JewelryGemstonesMarch 28, 2021Everything about the agate stones: moss agate, blue lace agate, meaning, types and properties

Agate is a type of chalcedony, often veined and banded, colors including blue, green, red, yellow, brown, white and black. According to different patterns and impurities, the agate stones can be classified as onyx, sardonyx, moss agate, blue lace agate, fire agate and so on.