Like fast fashion, the jewellery industry can have a dark side too. But as a consumer, you have the power… you don’t have to choose that path. When there are brands out there that allow you to choose from 100% recycled metal, Fairtrade Gold, Fairmined ecological gold and responsibly sourced diamonds, there really is no excuse not to.
I believe that by consumers asking questions, more jewellers will be pressured into simplifying supply chains and sharing knowledge. The more you take a stand with your wallet by supporting ethical names, the more pressure this puts on those who aren’t, by helping them to realise they need to be more transparent.
What is ethical jewellery?
Ethical jewellery is made with materials that have been mined under sustainable standards (like Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold) and everyone and everything involved in their production has been treated respectfully – including the earth – as well as being paid a fair wage. Ethical jewellery is then manufactured sustainably, where the craftspeople responsible for creating the jewellery have been treated fairly and are proud of their creations. Ethical jewels should be sold under a responsible brand that is fully transparent and communicates accurately this wonderful story to their customers.
If you are unsure if a company is ethical, what questions should you ask?
What materials is it made from?
Unfortunately, most of the “standard industry gold” and gemstones from your average jeweller in the high street come without any provenance claims.
Your stones and metal must be traceable to be confirmed as sustainable and conflict-free. In order to ensure this, you need to be sure of what the materials are and where they are from. If you want to know exactly what goes into your ring – just ask!
Ethical options for metals could be certified Fairtrade Gold and well as Fairmined Ecological gold, but there are also 100% recycled options. If you go to your jeweller armed with the right questions, you will get the right answers.
Who made this piece of jewellery?
You need to know who made the piece of jewellery in order to find out if the piece was traded fairly. It is important to know who made your jewellery and also who MINED your jewellery. With certifications and stamps, you can find out whether the sourcing and creation of your ring has resulted in environmental damage or human rights violations – or if it hasn’t. Knowing where metals and gemstones come from – their country of origin and mine of origin – is key in defining their green and sustainable credentials.
How to prove all of the above?
It’s quite easy to suss out the message you get from your jeweller. If they can prove it is ethical, then they will! For us, we like to prove our traceability with certificates and stamps. For example, to ensure your ring is made with Fairtrade Gold, it is stamped with a hallmark at the Assay Office London, which assures you of its provenance.
For diamonds, you should be able to receive a certificate of origin. Our larger diamonds (0.3ct and above) are traceable Canadian diamonds and arrive with a certificate to prove so. The diamonds come with the Canada Mark, an independently verified certification that assures you the diamond is of Canadian origin.
The most recognised laboratories in the jewellery world are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and HRC in Europe; this where they grade the quality. Keep to a recognised lab and you should find all the information you need.
Follow these three steps and you will be able to find out whether or not what you are buying is ethical. If you choose us, you won’t have to give ethics a second thought – we do that bit for you! We are fully committed to ethics and we will tell you exactly what goes into every piece of ethical jewellery so that you will be able to wear with pride. See more of our designs here.
You can also check out our interview with Arabel where she shares her insights and advice on the sustainable jewellery sector and pursuing a creative career.
Image credits: Arabel Lebrusan