Jewelry doesn’t have to be something you feel guilty wearing. After movies like Blood Diamond raised awareness about the devastating impacts of diamonds in West Africa, more and more people have been looking for conflict-free and socially responsible jewelry. As today’s consumers are shifting their dollars toward organic food, safer beauty products, environmentally-friendly laundry detergent, it’s only natural more of us are looking for socially responsible jewelry.
In case you’re new to the issue, here is a brief recap of how jewels and metals can harm the people and planet where they are extracted:
- Diamonds and other jewels are known to create conflicts in unstable regions where they are mined
- West Africa is notorious for cutting the arms off of women and creating children “soldiers” as a result of wars fueled by the diamond industry
- The extraction of metals like gold, silver and platinum can permanently alter drinking water sources through toxic run-off, forcing communities to move or buy unaffordable bottled water
- Gold mining directly contributes to the elimination of our precious rainforests
But the whole jewelry business isn’t dirty, here are some simple ways to find conflict-free bling.
Estate jewelers carry beautiful vintage jewelry, simply google “vintage or estate jeweler in your city” and see what pops up! I like this option since you can find a unique piece of jewelry and you support a local business.
Founded in 2005, Brilliant Earth is considered the leading socially responsible jewelry company pushing the envelope beyond what is considered “conflict free”. In the industry, conflict-free simply means that the diamonds aren’t fueling wars. But Brilliant Earth considers extra criteria including: are they environmentally responsible, free of human rights abuses, do they practice fair labor practices, and invest in community development?
Brilliant Earth invests 5% of profits back into the communities from which they source, and according to their website, “only .01% of the world’s diamonds meet Brilliant Earth’s standards for pure sourcing and exceptional quality”. They do the homework for you.
Bario Neal is committed to environmentally responsible engagement rings, gems and jewels. In their own words, “Bario Neal as a design-forward, women-owned and feminist company. Today, Bario Neal is an industry leader in ethical sourcing and progressive manufacturing, known for its design sensibility and high-quality, handcrafted work.” They use reclaimed metals and ethically sourced stones.
Rose & Fitzgerald Gold Jewelry
Rose & Fitzgerald features chic and elegant gold jewelry that can be used to dress up your work outfit, or a pair of casual jeans. They are known for semi-precious jewelry that employs local artisans in Uganda.
Re-Invent Family Jewelry
Does your mom have an old 1980’s inspired ring? Or what about that gold necklace you received from grandma for your first communion? You can re-purpose the jewels and metals you currently have, creating unique pieces of jewelry. For example, my mom used the diamond from her original engagement ring, to make a beautiful new wedding band for my dad for their 25th wedding anniversary.
In summary, your consumer choices can have a direct impact on people and environment’s across the globe. Choose conflict-free, sustainable jewelry whenever possible, and still look your best!
Join my mailing list and never miss a post.
More from my site