Questions to ask when starting your sustainable jewelry search
Starting with a holistic view towards jewelry will eventually lead you to find the best mindfully made jewelry.
Jewelry comes from earth’s resources, made by people and has a lifecycle. It tells a story of the maker, the material, the process and ultimately you.
Here are the highlights from my conversations with Threaded that I thought would be helpful if you are curious about sustainable jewelry.
Five questions to help understand how sustainable your jewelry is.
How long will this piece last? Can it be upcycled, recycled, or will it end up in a landfill after the trend is over? Is it timeless to your style or just a trendy piece for this season. Plastic beads, glued components and plated metals, are likely to wear down and are not recyclable. They will likely end up in a landfill or a micro plastic floating in the ocean. Look for metals like bi-metal, solid silver or gold, and gold filled. These metals can be recycled.
Where was it made? Does it celebrate the region where the materials were extracted? Why not? Look for brands that are transparent on the journey the jewelry took from sourcing to creation. Hopefully they are celebrating this. If it is hidden, feel free to ask for more information!
Who made it? Does it celebrate the maker or the team that makes it?Jewelry making is an art form that takes skills and experience and should be celebrated. If it's not openly shown as a value, it should cause you to wonder why not.
How was it made? Do they have sustainable/safe practices during production? Is it Fairtrade? What form of gemstone mining was used? The process of producing jewelry can be harmful OR work in tune with the environment. Look for those brands that are open to communicating how the jewelry is made.
- What is it made of? Where the stones ethically sourced? Was the metal mined or recycled? Is the metal Fairmined? Jewelry is made by people with resources that come from our earth. Ethical and Fairtrade gemstones, recycled metals, or Fairmined/Fairtrade metals are a good place to start!
Ok, I know can be overwhelming at first! Each question can be discussed at length and can lead to more questions. However, it’s vital to understand that each piece of jewelry has a back story and transparency is key. If you want to know where your jewelry sits in the “sustainable” spectrum, these questions are a good place to start. I say there is a spectrum of sustainability because it's not certain right now (and according to the Responsible Jewellery Council) if jewelry can truly be 100% sustainable at this point.
These questions can be hard for jewelry companies to even answer themselves. As I continue my journey, I realize I even have more work to do in sharing the story of my pieces with you. I use recycled metals, and ethically sourced gems, but I know I can be doing more. So stay tuned...more info to come!