Pieces of jewelry are unique, aesthetic, precious, personal they have a history, we cherish them. Sometimes they symbolize the love of someone, sometimes it’s just because of their beauty. I’m personally fascinated by the work and the amount of hours behind a ring or necklace. It’s always a piece of art. However, what’s the environmental impact of it?
A lot of industries in the world affect the environment and violate human rights. It’s the case of the fashion industry, for example, but also the jewelry industry which affects the environment at different levels. First of all, with mining: “Mining is the extraction of minerals and other geological materials of economic value from deposits on the Earth.” Mining is polluting the air, the water, it also induces a loss of biodiversity. WHY?
All the above have environmental and social consequences. The mining industry of gold and precious stones has been put into question these past few years because of the terrible working conditions, for their safety (99% of mining operations are not safe), child labor, economic exploitations, but also because of the conflict called “Conflict diamond”. We can easily remember “Blood diamond”, which happened in Sierra Leone and inspired a movie directed by Edward Zwick.
The jewelry industry has to deal with social and environmental aspects. There are solutions. Quality labels which ensure a certain operating ethic exist and they were created to provide more safety for the workers in the industry, fair working conditions and a fair salary which also helps the community to exist. That’s the case for Fairmined, a certification that guarantees gold extracted from artisanal mines, on a small scale, under fair conditions, processed through an ethical value chain and traceable to the finished jewel. It is the most demanding label for gold to date. It also concerns silver and platinum. It was founded by ARM, the Alliance for Responsible Mining. There are different types of organizations: Fairmined Ecological Gold and Fairmined eco-certification. They are quite similar, but the green certification is more stringent in terms of the production of green metals. The green premium provides access to an additional premium.
Which alternative do we have when it comes to jewelry? We can be more aware of the problems exposed and choose small businesses which make an effort to be transparent and with having a responsible approach.
Here are my two favorite jewelry artist:
Sarah is from the south of France. She studied fashion design in Paris and also worked in the cinema industry as a wardrobe mistress. She had always been into art and creation. Jewels are unique, personal and have a story; we can transmit them from generation to generation. She created Papy two years ago and today she’s creating small pieces of treasure in Brazil, a country close to her heart, where she designs and creates unique handmade pieces in her studio. Every single jewel is unique and precious and they come out of time. Sarah is passionate and sincere.
Genderless jewelry made in London. Louise Konrad founded the brand 3 years ago in 2019. Louise created timeless and genderless design. She used mostly 925 silvers and added some precious gem into her work. Every jewel is handmade and designed in London from “recycled precious metals and gemstones sourced from an independent gem specialist located in Hatton Garden, London.”
Sustainability, traceability, origin of materials and fair working conditions are the new keywords for the jewelry industry.
To go further:
- Blood Diamonds by Edward Zwick on Netflix
- Is It Even Possible To Buy A Sustainable Engagement Ring? by Annabel Davidson
- The Alliance for Responsible Mining