First it was food, then fashion. Now sustainable jewellery is having its moment.
Perhaps less of a 'moment' and more of a movement; a movement towards more conscious buying and a curiosity into where and how the jewellery we invest in and wear next to our skin everyday, is made.
What makes a jewellery brand 'ethical'?
'Ethical Jewellery' as a term can cover a whole host of criteria - using Fairtrade or recycled materials, how and by whom pieces are actually made, a charity initiative, carbon neutral manufacture... it can be a bit of a minefield and a lot of companies are jumping on the 'green marketing' bandwagon without clear, traceable credentials.
'Fairtrade mining' is a good place to start - defined by factors such as, gems and metals that have been sourced without the use of chemicals such as cyanide or mercury in its extraction, paying workers fairly and meeting strict environment criteria. It's about transparency and tracebility and more and more consumers are requesting this information before they buy.
Using recycled materials is another angle that a number of designer makers prefer to opt for, as even if materials have been mined responsibly, there is always the environment impact any mining will have that recycling eschews.
So how do you seek out responsibly sourced jewellers and designers? Firstly, ask the questions - before choosing pieces ask about their provenance and how materials have been sourced. Buying from small, independent designers will also give you that direct link to the creator and a more transparent idea of how their collections are made, versus mass-market, high-street jewellers with a long and sometimes vague supply chain.
Here are three ethical designers we work with:
New to The Collective Boutique for 2018, is FERA (main picture), a sustainable collection of handmade jewellery created by British designer maker Jo Gordon. Jo uses recycled silver, precious stones and carved bone and is a registered Fair Trade Goldsmith. Fera also gives a percentage of each sale to environmental charities.
KIMSU (below) is a sustainable jewellery brand based in Berlin. They use recycled metal and semi-precious stones in their architecturally influenced designs.
We introduced our newest designer Amarilo's demi-fine jewellery last week and this 3rd generation of LA jewellers responsibly source conflict-free materials for their designs, too.
We'd love to hear from you, are there any ethical or sustainable jewellery brands we should know about? Let us know!