How to Find Ethical Jewelry

How to Find Ethical Jewelry

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No one needs to adorn themselves with environmental destruction and human struggling. Unfortunately, there isn’t any common third-party certification that ensures the jewellery you purchase is moral. If you’re contemplating a present of effective jewellery this vacation season, it’s essential to educate your self about greater than lower, shade, and readability.

Considering the environmental impacts and economics of mining, fully moral effective jewellery could not exist. Most main jewellery manufacturers are members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). Like many industry-led initiatives, it falls wanting the requirements that environmentalists and human rights organizations need. Greener certification and sourcing techniques are sometimes restricted to a small group of producers or to sure supplies. Ethical customers must ask numerous questions, starting with whether or not retailers can determine the mines the place their jewellery supplies have been extracted.

Clean Diamonds

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was designed to cut back the movement of conflict diamonds, and now covers practically all world diamond manufacturing. It supplies a baseline — incapacity to offer a Kimberley Process certificates for a diamond is a purple flag. But a certificates may not guarantee {that a} stone is actually conflict-free, and it doesn’t deal with different moral issues in any respect. Diamonds and different treasured stones are nonetheless getting used to fund human rights abuses in varied components of the world.

Two corporations are well-known for going past the Kimberley course of. Tiffany & Co. maintains its personal chain-of-custody controls, usually shopping for diamonds direct from the mines. Brilliant Earth sources all of its pure diamonds from nations and particular person mines which have dedicated to observe internationally acknowledged labor, commerce, and environmental requirements. They additionally promote recycled and lab-grown diamonds.

Green Stones

Colored gem stones, and even semiprecious stones, have critical ethical issues as nicely, with out even a Kimberley Process to restrict abuses. Afghan lapis lazuli has generated funds for the Taliban. The sale of Burmese jade and rubies, mined by slave and youngster laborers, may very well be funding Rohingya genocide. These jewels have been banned within the U.S. till 2016, when it expired. The late Senator John McCain launched a bill to reinstate the ban, however it didn’t cross. Even earlier than the ban was lifted, jade and rubies generated greater than $30 million per 12 months in gross sales, primarily to China. Many rubies lower in Thailand originated in Myanmar.

In distinction to diamonds, coloured stones are predominately extracted by way of artisanal small-scale mining (ASM). Don’t let the identify idiot you – small-scale mining is basically unregulated. Criminal exercise together with pressured and youngster labor, environmental harm, and well being and security issues are endemic. Gemfields (and its subsidiary Faberge) is a vertically built-in provider of rubies, emeralds, and amethysts whose mining operations align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Other coloured gem stones will be more durable to supply, however there are a couple of ethical suppliers.

The Department of State continues its work to forestall financing of terrorism by way of the Office of Threat Finance Countermeasures, regardless of the dearth of latest legal guidelines in opposition to the sale of battle gems within the U.S.

gold wedding rings
Buying recycled gold eliminates the environmental affect of mining new metallic however doesn’t enhance present mining practices. Image: qimono, Pixabay

Ethical Metal

Gold, like much less treasured metals, will be recycled. Many of the identical jewellery corporations that provide extra sustainable gem stones use recycled gold for his or her settings. Buying recycled gold eliminates the environmental affect of mining new materials however does nothing to enhance present mining practices. Monica Stephenson, a board member at Ethical Metalsmiths, joined Earth911’s podcast to speak a few manufacturing motion within the jewellery {industry} that goals to elevate ASM miners out of poverty and educate them sustainable practices. Marc Choyt, the founding father of Reflective Jewelry, has additionally talked with Earth911 about honest commerce jewellery. He helps Fairtrade Gold, the world’s first impartial moral certification system for gold. A associated ASM certification in Latin America is Fairmined, which gives mines certification for each environmental and human rights efficiency.

The Final Word

Human Rights Watch launched a report in early 2018 scrutinizing 13 main jewellery manufacturers. None of them fulfilled all the standards for accountable sourcing, and just one – Tiffany & Co. – had taken vital steps. However, practically all of them acknowledged their obligations and have made some efforts to responsibly supply their gold and diamonds.

Pressure from customers will help these corporations take extra vital steps towards sustainability. When looking for effective jewellery, don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t make a purchase order should you don’t just like the solutions. Your family members would possibly favor a present of upcycled jewelry that expresses your shared values extra absolutely.

Editor’s word: Originally revealed on November 20, 2018, this text was up to date in June 2024.