You can’t ignore the huge conversation around ethical fashion (no, it’s not ‘just having a moment’), and the same goes for ethical jewellery.
But while you may know where to find trend-led pieces like shell jewellery or statement earrings, do you know how they’re made or where they’re sourced – especially when it comes to diamonds? Scroll down for some pointers and to shop the ethical jewellery brands we love.
What is ethical jewellery?
In a nutshell, it’s jewellery that has no negative impact on the people who make it, or the environment they’re produced in. That can mean:
- Using materials you can trace back to the source, to ensure they’ve been produced in an ethical way, eg, fair trade materials and conflict-free diamonds
- Using recycled materials such as gemstones
- Using synthetic diamonds
- Not using child labour and ensuring fair wages and working hours
- Not using practices that pollute or impact the environment in a negative way
What are ethical diamonds?
Like or not, Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2006 Blood Diamonds really shed light on the issue of conflict diamonds, also called blood diamonds, as they’re mined in areas controlled by rebels, who then use the money to buy weapons or finance war activities.
So to avoid buying any conflict diamonds, you want to be able to trace their origin. Nowadays, it’s possible to buy synthetically farmed diamonds (and the quality is equally good), or buy diamonds from a jeweller who adheres to the Kimberley Process, which ensures that exported diamonds are conflict-free.
You can also go down the antique route as you’re effectively recycling an older diamond.
Ethical jewellery brands
Roxanne First jewellery is a great destination if you’re looking for fine jewellery with conflict-free and ethical diamonds. They handpick suppliers who they visit personally, ensuring every piece is made from responsibly sourced materials. The prices are fair too, as they’ve cut the middle man and sell direct to the consumer, meaning you get affordable diamonds, without compromising on quality.
Jewel Tree London
The recently launched Notting Hill-based Jewel Tree London is all about bold, sculptural pieces. They also abide to a strict code of conduct to ensure social and environmental responsibility, from the responsible sourcing of raw materials to ethical mining practices and zero tolerance of child labour.
US brand 64Facets has recently launched in the UK, and specialise in understated diamond jewellery. The company sources the finest diamonds in the rough, from responsible trade partners who follow the Kimberly process. A team of seasoned diamantaires then hand cuts and polishes these rough diamonds, which then go to experienced craftsmen at an atelier in Surat, India.
London-based SORU serves up bohemian designs handmade by artisans so therefore not mass produced in factories. The gems are from fair trade mines, with fair trade authentication and the workers who hand make the jewellery are paid fairly and with fair working conditions.
Shop now: Sun ring for £110 from SORU jewellery
PANDORA operates a vertically integrated business model, which means it owns every aspect of the production process – including the factories so the work isn’t outsource, so has full control over how the jewellery is produced and how employees are treated.
It’s also a member of the RJC (Responsible Jewellery Council), an organisation which audits and controls the jewellery supply chain, all the way from mine to retail. In addition to this, it has the PANDORA Ethics Programme, which teaches smaller jewellery businesses and suppliers how they too can ensure they are operating ethically.
Asher Hoffman is committed to preserving all the finest traditions of his craft. All diamonds are conflict free and ethically sourced. Plus his new timeless Ballet bracelets (which are made of diamonds and come in rose gold, gold or white gold) are made to last a lifetime thanks to a strong, lightweight stainless steel core.
Little by Little
This delicate gold jewellery is not only affordable, but each piece bought buys food for a malnourished child for three days through Action Against Hunger. Plus, all gold used is ethically mined and the packaging is sustainable.
Lark & Berry
Lark & Berry are using innovative technology to culture diamonds, meaning everything is grown in a laboratory. Re-creating the exact climate and atmosphere diamonds usually grow in the cultured diamonds sit within the purest category of diamonds. The cultured process leads to less waste, less water loss and less impact on the environment – as well as ensuring all stones are conflict free with their origin entirely trackable.
You can buy the jewellery online now, though a flagship store is set to open in London on 5th September.