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How Ethical Jewellery is Saving the Planet
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How Ethical Jewellery is Saving the Planet

How Ethical Jewellery is Saving the Planet

What is Ethical Jewellery and Why is
it Important?

The ethical jewellery movement is a topic which has become more prominent in recent years. Our current consumer culture is continuing to expand, and unfortunately, that can often have a negative impact on our environment and society. As a result, a discussion centred around the subject of ethical jewellery and sustainable jewellery production is more important now than ever before.

Ethical jewellery is jewellery which is consciously created with a traceable supply chain from mine to consumer. If each part of a piece of jewellery is traceable, then a buyer can make an informed choice about where it came from and how it was made.

In this blog we will cover

What Does Ethical Jewellery Mean?
Why is it Important to Consider Buying Ethical Jewellery? 
Benefits of Ethical Jewellery
Can Modern Jewellery be Ethical?
Buying Ethical Jewellery 

 

 

Gold Mine

Source - Vlad Chetan from Pexels

What Does Ethical Jewellery Mean?

Whilst you wouldn’t usually look at a piece of jewellery and start questioning where it came from or how it was made, the reality is that the impact of sourcing metals, diamonds and other precious gems has a huge impact not only on the environment but also the communities that surround mines.

To provide balance against any potential harm, ethical practices have been adopted over the years to improve the quality of life for those sourcing the gems and to minimise the environmental impact of jewellery production.
Some of these methods include:

Stopping child labour

Unfortunately mines in India and Africa sometimes use child labour as an option, which means that children miss out on education and are subject to hard and unsafe working conditions.

Ethical jewellery bans the use of an underage workforce and organisations, such as Diamonds for Peace, work to ensure sanctions are enforced on those who use child labour.

Supply chain transparency

For ethical jewellery production, there has been an additional emphasis placed on ensuring each step in the mining process is recorded and made publicly visible.

Introduction of Fairtrade Gold and Fairmined Gold certification systems

Fairtrade and Fairmined certifications have helped to ensure that miners get a fair price for their metals or gems, but have also meant that additional money and support is given back to the wider communities that surround mines. Examples of this include money being given back to support with education and healthcare.

Why is it Important to Consider Buying Ethical
Jewellery?

  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Conflict-Free Sourcing
  • Fair Trade Practices
  • Empowering Artisans
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Reduced Carbon Footprint
  • Social Impact
  • Unique and Artistic Designs
  • Quality and Durability
  • Personal Values and Ethical Statement

Modern jewellery, in particular, can pose a threat due to the way the materials are sourced, and the volume at which we extract them. All of this might just about be excusable if the manufacturing quality and longevity of the items could offset the damage caused, but unfortunately, more often than not modern jewellery is simply not built to last and ends up in a landfill when it breaks or goes out of fashion. Although there are ways to make sure that you’re buying modern jewellery ethically, part of the discussion around sustainable jewellery is about extending the life of existing pieces, and buying used, vintage or antique jewellery is the perfect way to make your shopping habit a positive action for the environment. 

Vintage & Antique Jewellery

The Benefits of Ethical Jewellery

Often a higher quality product

Many sustainable and ethical jewellery pieces are higher quality due to the time,
energy, and skill required to produce bespoke pieces of jewellery and to mine
certain gems and metals.
Plus, if you are considering second hand, vintage or antique jewellery as an
ethical solution then you know that these pieces have lasted through time.

Supporting local communities

Ethical jewellery also has a sustainability element to it and as such producers of
ethical jewellery often use methods to reduce the damage being caused to the
environment.
This includes using alternative mining methods to reduce the impact of mining
and to reduce pollution, and setting up initiatives to replace areas where trees
may need to be cut down.

Can Modern Jewellery Be Ethical?

We all saw Leonardo DeCaprio in Blood Diamond back in 2006 (and if you haven’t then stop reading and go watch it right now!). It was both entertaining and
disturbing but unfortunately much of the film accurately portrays the sad origins of
some modern-day diamonds. As a response to the Diamond conflict, The Kimberly Process was devised to minimise the number of blood Diamonds entering the mainstream rough diamond market, and although the scheme has been deemed largely successful, there have been critiques of the system with public concern that corruption and a lack of transparency is letting blood diamonds slip through the net.

It’s not all bad though! There are many companies out there like Gemfields who are championing the cause and making ethical and sustainable jewellery a hot-button topic by focussing on collaboration with charities, celebrities and emerging jewellers to raise awareness around and ethical jewellery and sustainable manufacturing practices.

They’re working to support wildlife, nature and the communities in which their
gemstones are sourced and we think that’s pretty cool! One of their current
collaborations is with activist Mary Fisher on a project called "100 Good
Deeds" which is centred around the production of bracelets made with sustainably sourced amethyst beads, created by a group of vulnerable women in Zambia and if you’ve not heard of it then you should definitely check it out!

“The motivation behind the 100 Good Deeds collection is to inspire simple acts of
kindness around the world. Each bracelet is a reminder to spread positive change
through action and fulfil our mission to Do Good, One Deed, One Bead, One Act of Kindness at a Time.” -  Mary Fisher

Go Vintage and Antique When Shopping for
Ethical Jewellery

Of course, here at Lillicoco we think that the best way to ensure that you’re buying ethically is by buying vintage and antique jewellery wherever possible! 

By choosing to buy antique or vintage jewellery rather than new we believe that
you’re choosing to be part of the solution rather than contributing to the impact that buying new has on the environment. As an added bonus, with vintage and antique jewellery you’re also guaranteeing that none of your hard earned money will be funding the ongoing diamond conflict which has plagued many African countries over the last two decades.

High profile support for responsible jewellery practices is definitely on the rise. With celebrities such as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Kate Moss setting the trend and opting for antique engagement rings and wedding bands. We think it’s fantastic to see these positive steps being taken towards sustainability that we’ve all been waiting for!

Not only is vintage and antique jewellery ethical, environmentally sound and
sustainable, it’s also a great investment. Antique jewellery never goes out of fashion, and just remember, if you take care to look after your favourite jewellery properly then it can be passed down for future generations to enjoy for years to come!

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