Picking the right jewellery has the power to transform the look and feel of your entire outfit. Dainty minimalist ring or cocktail ring? Simple studs or chandelier earrings? Choker, princess necklace or long rope necklace? These are the decisions that we usually consider, but how often do we stop to wonder about how our jewellery was made? – Where did the materials come from? Who’s hands has it touched? What environment was it made in? Who’s lives has it affected? How long was it made to last?
The fast fashion industry has brought about a culture of repeatedly buying poorly-made ‘trendy’ jewellery that is thrown out after a couple of wears, wasting resources and exposing ourselves and the producers to toxic materials along the way. Thankfully, the increasing global focus on sustainability around the fashion industry has also raised questions about the environmental impacts and ethics of the jewellery that we adorn our bodies with. To help you navigate the jewellery world with a conscious compass, here is our ultimate guide to ethical jewellery.
Bokeo Ring – Rose Gold || International Shipping
Sydney-based label Zefyr Jewels makes beautiful and delicate jewellery pieces from ethically hand-cut natural crystals and upcycled brass and sterling silver. Even its packing is made from sustainable material, including recycled paper, biodegradable vegetable inks and organic cotton. Every piece of the Zefyr collection is inspired by the travels of founder and designer Tanya Coelho, and is the perfect execution of its philosophy to combine glamour and style with consciousness and compassion.
Laos Dome Earrings || International Shipping
Every piece of Article 22 jewellery is locally handcrafted in Laos using recycled materials from Vietnam War bombs, plane parts, military hardware and other aluminum scraps. The brand embodies the innovation that the fashion industry needs more of – using recycled materials to produce beautiful globally-marketable products, while equipping locals artisans with new skill sets and providing them with a sustainable source of income. Article 22 gives back to clear more unexploded bombs in Laos, to support traditional artisans and a proportion of profit is used to support community development for workers.
Okeyo Bangle // Blond || International Shipping
Handmade jewellery is just one of the eco-friendly items that lifestyle brand Raven + Lily has on offer. With a mission to empower women on a global scale, the brand currently supports over 15,000 female artisans around the world, providing them with a fair trade and livable wage, access to a safe job, sustainable income and healthcare. Raven + Lily was created by the partnership of the original founders with local designers, focusing on the empowerment of women worldwide. Today, the brand is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and is considered a significant player in the ethical fashion movement.
Sparkle Necklace || International Shipping
Chich Made Consciously sells eco-friendly bags and accessories made from recycled tyres by artisans in Bali, Indonesia. Its product use eco-friendly materials that do not require the use of chemicals and limit the amount of water and wastewater used in production.
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Small Capri Ring || International Shipping
Combining responsibly-sourced materials with elegant designs, the beautiful jewellery of Winden is handmade in New York using recycled metals. The brand sources its materials from suppliers who are committed to sustainable environmental practices, such as conserving energy and recycling its materials from scrap metal purchased from other jewelers and refineries. The structures of these beautiful accessories are inspired by nature and incorporate elements of vintage designs and art motifs. Its website provides information about their approach and practices in sourcing their metals and each type of stone that they use in their jewellery – perfect for the curious and environmentally conscious consumer.
Pink and white diamond ring || International Shipping
Zoë Pook has an environmental and socially responsible approach to its production of bespoke engagement and wedding rings. Its gold is sourced from Fairtrade and ethical community driven mines (where workers receive a fair wage and safe working conditions), its diamonds are ethically sourced (guaranteeing no human rights abuses, child labour or war profits), its coloured gems come from known and trusted retailers, fair trade dealers or directly from the mines and its recycled precious metals are sourced from an environmentally friendly refinery (with stringent controls on the use of chemicals and recycling of water). Zoë Pook offers an excellent selection for you to pick the perfect piece to indulge that special someone.
Molten Drop Necklace || International Shipping
Emma Aitchison jewellery was created in 2016 as a reflection of the founder’s passion for nature and love of design and jewellery making. Climate change is now a main focus of all her pieces, where each collection is inspired by different weather forms. She hopes to use her jewellery to raise awareness, ignite conversations about environmental issues and ultimately to encourage others to be more conscious and appreciative of our planet. She uses recycled and Fairtrade silver and gold in all her pieces, non-toxic chemicals in her production process and recycled packaging materials. The brand also donates 1% of profit to a charity that address environmental issues.
Myrtle Champagne Diamond Ring || International Shipping
Bario Neal was founded in 2008 as a women-owned and feminist brand, with a vision to make ethical jewellery that lasts. Today, it is an industry leader in ethical sourcing and progressive manufacturing processes, where each piece is designed in-house and handcrafted in their Philadelphia studio. The brand uses ethically sourced materials, including reclaimed precious metals, Fairmined gold and ethically sourced stones to bring to life each of its unique design. They create everything from statement earrings, custom-made engagement rings, classic wedding bands to simple necklaces and bangles, all while minimising the environmental footprint of each piece.
Whether you are looking for your next ‘treat yourself’ item or a gift to a loved one, the beautiful jewellery that these brands produce while encouraging change and supporting sustainable and ethical practices means that you never need to sacrifice aesthetics for your values.
Have you bought jewellery from any of these brands? Let us know in the comments what you thought of them.
Feature image via Raven + Lily. All other images via brands mentioned.