We all love unique, stylish jewelry pieces to adorn ourselves with and pair with other incredible fashions in our closets.
However, consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly conscious about the products they purchase. For example, more consumers are increasingly thinking about how toiletries, food, cars, and other items affect the environment. The same can be said for jewelry.
What does sustainable jewelry mean?
Industrial jewelry mining can harm the environment. This includes soil erosion on the land, alteration of ecosystems, and the release of harmful chemicals into the water system.
There is also the carbon footprint from the machinery used in the mining, and at times, in refining and manufacturing the actual jewelry pieces.
Sustainable or eco-friendly jewelry refers to jewelry that has been mined with the least possible negative outcomes on the environment or none at all. This means miners use technologies to ensure minimal disruption to ecosystems. Some jewelry companies also recycle gold to make new products instead of mining new ones. Again, this option is less destructive to the environment.
On a larger scale, sustainability is about balance. This means the longevity of processes and systems, with social-economic and environmental aspects both taken into account. This then expands the concept of sustainability to the sustainability of the people's livelihoods involved in jewelry making.
Unfortunately, the matter of sustainable jewelry is not as clear-cut as it should be. Sustainability has quickly become a buzzword in most industries, with some enterprises claiming to be sustainable without running sustainably.
Business, Consumers, and Sustainability
The discerning consumer we have today wants more than just a product. They also want to align themselves with companies with shared values. Sustainability is one of these values. For enterprises, this means that sustainability can provide an edge over one's competitors and give you a significant market share. This, of course, translates to more sales and enhanced profitability.
Regrettably, not all companies that claim sustainability are actually sustainable. The next sustainability phase will see more of a critical approach to companies claiming to be sustainable instead of taking the claim at face value.
Indicators of Sustainable Jewelry
With all the greenwashing in the jewelry industry, how can you as a consumer differentiate sustainable jewelry from others? Here are some factors to keep in mind when jewelry shopping:
- Look for Lab-grown Diamonds
Diamonds can now be grown in a lab, eliminating the destruction caused by diamond mining. So if you can get a jewelry company that manufactures lab-grown diamonds instead of natural ones, you can be sure these are more sustainable.
You can also read more about lab-grown diamonds here.
- Recycled Jewelry
Some jewelry designers create new, stylish designs by recycling other jewelry. This is great for the environment because they need to mine stones or metals is negated. It also means old ornaments are given new life instead of winding up in landfills.