You’re probably sick of me saying this, but the best way to find eco-friendly jewelry is to talk to your local jeweler. Availability varies so much from region to region and it can be very difficult to get truly eco-friendly and conflict-free jewelry if you are looking for precious stones and metals. There are still options, though, as well as steps you can take and questions you can ask to lessen the impact of what you are buying.
Seriously, I’m sure you’re sick of me talking about this. But they are the best option. Let me tell you why. When I say local jeweler, I am not talking about your local Wedding Day Diamonds. I’m talking about the family owned jeweler tucked away in a strip mall. The store that is run by jewelers and has a workshop in the back. This is a great place to start on your eco-friendly quest. For one, the workshop and jeweler staff indicate that they likely make and repair most of their stuff in-house. This is ideal because 1) the staff intimately know their jewelry and will be more likely to be able to answer specific questions and 2) if they make and repair in-house, then that means pieces don’t need to be shipped out if anything needs to be altered or fixed. The fewer miles your jewelry travels, the better for the environment (and possibly your wallet, too).
This is what Will says about the perfect eco-friendly jeweler: You want to find one that uses a hydrogen torch powered by on-site clean energy with an amazing filtration system and entirely conflict-free and sustainably soured materials (plus much more babbling about things I didn’t pick up). The problem is that there is not a demand for this and jewelers who may want to do this would not be able to price their products competitively. Eco-friendly measures will be on a very personal basis. The main thing that a lot of jewelers do is capture and recycle their metal shavings and waste. Overall, though, it will be hard to find a completely green jeweler. It’s just not that kind of market.
The best thing you can do is to find a jeweler is to ask for your piece to be made entirely with recycled gold (if that’s your metal of your choice). Gold mines, particularly the newer ones, are very controversial and environmentally detrimental. By using recycled gold, your piece will not come from these mines and therefore have significantly less of an impact. You’ll pay more, but you can also look for Canadian diamonds or diamonds that are certified ethically traded. Definitely ask where any stones come from. The gem market can be convoluted, but let your jeweler know that this is important information to consumers.
What if I don’t want precious stones and metals?
Great question! Even if you aren’t looking for high-end jewelry, I still have some tips for you. You actually have many more options for making your jewelry eco-friendly. Online shops such as Etsy are filled with jewelry made from recycled material and Pinterest is filled with tutorials on how to make your own. Remember my Reduce Your Trash posts? Alternative jewelry is a great way to put this into practice.
I know this wasn’t a lot of information and it may not have been super helpful, but that is something to think about. Jewelry is not an inherently green market. There are steps that you can make and questions you can ask to make it better, but there is really only so much that can be done.