How Ethical Jewellery is Saving the Planet
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.
Mir Diamond mine in Russia (charismaticplanet.com)
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.
It’s not all bad though! There are many companies out there like Gemfields who are championing the cause and making 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
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.
Diamond mine in the Congo - Time
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! The environmental cost of a piece of antique jewellery has already been paid by the planet, and by choosing to buy old rather than new you’re choosing to be part of the solution rather than contributing to the problem! 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.
Photo by Claudia Tai
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!
Catherine Zeta-Jones - Pinterest
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!