by Liberty Stembridge, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 19th August, 2019
Jewelry is a gift that never goes out of style, whether it's a treat to yourself, a gift for a partner or a celebratory milestone present - jewelry works for every occasion (providing the person in question likes jewelry of course).
Unfortunately, like many other parts of the fashion industry, the production of jewelry isn't always the kindest to the planet or the workers producing it.
Issues such as worker exploitation, child labor, unethical metal mining and a high carbon footprint come with the sale of many pieces. Luckily though, there are people trying to combat this problem, by treating their workers fairly, using recycled materials and using low-impact hand made production techniques instead of factories.
If you're looking to buy a special someone a piece of jewelry for whatever reason, make sure it's helping the planet, not hurting it - with these 10 ethical jewelry brands.
Ara the Altar is a small bohemian, ethically made jewelry brand based in the North West of England. Each piece, made by Lauren, is handcrafted from recycled materials in a simple but organic design. Lauren describes her products as "earth-aware adornments".
Each piece is inspired by nature, astronomy and sacred geometry, which you can see reflected in the names of the pieces as well as the pieces themselves. You can buy Laurens work through her Etsy shop Ara The Altar or through Wearth London.
One Happy Leaf is owned and run by Anna Anagno, and Australian jewelry designer from Perth. She aims to create and sell jewelry that's modern and beautiful, without having a nasty impact on the planet.
For every order, Anna donates part of the profits to help with anti-deforestation projects, and each piece is made from sustainably sourced bamboo. Anna describes her jewelry as being for "for nature lovers, aspiring minimalists + wearers of messy buns + unapologetic smiles."
The best part is, you don't have to break the bank in order to enjoy Anna's gorgeous wooden jewelry. With quirky modern designs paired with soft bamboo finishes, her pieces are perfect for any secret hippies in your life.
Little By Little was created by two friends, Annabelle Cox and Georgina Fuggle who worked together to design and market a beautiful collection of ethically made, sustainable jewelry that both looks and feels good to buy.
They work in partnership with Luminary Bakery - a London based charity that helps to empower vulnerable women. Little by Little is truly a testament to the fact that you don't have to sacrifice style or quality in order to buy ethically. Even better, if you do manage to damage or break your jewelry, Little by Little offers a zero-waste guarantee - meaning they will repair your jewelry for free.
Who doesn't love a bit of french design? JEM stands for "Jewellery Made Ethically" and is a small, sustainable jewelry studio based in Paris, France. Their philosophy is almost as beautiful as their jewelry - "Extending the symbolic beauty of jewelry to reflect the way in which we view the earths creations."
JEM aims to combine social and ecological awareness with the simple elegance of French design, using certified "fairmined" gold that has been ethically sourced from mines and hopes to inspire other jewelry makers to include more transparency in their work.
This Australian eco-wholesaler sources and sells hand-crafted, ethically made and totally unique pieces from around the globe. Kaleidoscope bridges the gap between artisanal makers and the people who buy their products, telling the story of the people and culture each piece comes from. Founder, Mel, has traveled the globe and previously owned her own retail brand selling vegan sneakers.
Now though, she has combined that passion for ethically sourced, handmade and culturally rich jewelry and homeware with her retail experience to bring these products to the Australian market (although international shipping is available).
A Silver Circle is a Sydney based jewelry brand and studio, run by Corrine Snare, the designer and maker of all the pieces. According to her, "This brand has evolved to be one of creating interesting pieces that are both sustainable and contemporary through using all recycled sterling silver. Each piece can be layered and mixed and matched with others so that you can put your unique style into it.
Experimenting with textures and materials in new ways is always important to us as we create a future of modern eco-friendly designs."
In addition to making the Jewellery herself, Corrine also runs workshops teaching beginners how to work with silver and make their own jewelry.
London-based brand Pascale x James is all about sustainable, quality products that you don't have to feel guilty about buying.
They prioritize the fair treatment of workers and believe that we all have a moral responsibility to the environment by taking actionable steps to reduce their carbon footprint such as using renewable energy to power their workshop, cutting down on unnecessary travel, and only using certifiable eco-suppliers.
In addition to all that, they pay a voluntary carbon tax that goes towards the funding of and research into renewable energy.
This unique, quirky and beautiful brand is perfect for anyone looking for a statement gift. Not only are all of Saya Design's products ethically sources using recycled root wood from old Indonesian plantations, but each of the designs is one of a kind - you're unlikely to see anything like them elsewhere.
Saya specializes in hair adornments, making combs, pins and much more. To help replenish the deforested lands of Indonesia, Saya Designs plants up to ten endangered or endemic species of trees into local community gardens for every piece sold.