buying ethical jewellery
Ethical jewellery is made from materials that have been produced on sites that protect the health and safety of workers and the environment and by people that are paid a fair wage, made by jewellers who try wherever possible to improve the environmental and social sustainability of their practice.
Jewellers who are committed to responsible business practices will be happy to answer your questions about how they source their materials. Ethically minded jewellers put in great efforts to have responsible businesses and practices. They will want to share this story with you.
If a jeweller is certified by an accreditation scheme or are a member of an organisation that you are unfamiliar with, ask them what this means. If it is unclear from a jeweller’s website what their ethical policies are or what kinds of materials they use, contact them to ask. Asking about material origins and sourcing methods is critical for growing the responsible jewellery industry and the ethical making market.
Banner and Page Image Credit: Ute Decker
Why Buy Ethical?
When people refer to ethical jewellery, just like with ethical fashion or any type of consumer good, it can refer to a variety of things. It is ultimately up to you to decide what you value most in the quality of the products you buy. You have the buying power to increase the market for responsibly sourced jewellery and to change the way jewellery is made. If you are passionate about your buying power and what it can do the for the workers of the world, consider ethically made jewellery.
Ethically made jewellery is crucially about the origins of the materials used to make the product and the conditions under which these were produced. This is where the majority of the environmental and social injustices occur in the production of jewellery. Additionally, ethically made jewellery has to do with the methods and processes in the production of the finished jewellery.
Options for buyers
For jewellery made with ethically sourced metals there is the option of buying Fairtrade or Fairmined jewellery or jewellery made from certified recycled metals. There is also the option of buying jewellery that is not made with precious metals but rather with alternative, materials. When purchasing jewellery with stones, look for jewellers that can talk to you about where and how their stones are mined and processed.
Every maker will have their own perspective of what ethical jewellery means. Vet jewellers against your own standards and choose jewellery that supports what is important to you. Knowing where your jewellery comes from and in what conditions it was made, is the first step towards a more responsible jewellery industry. The more consumers are asking questions about brand ethics, material origins and conditions of production, the more makers there will be offering ethically made jewellery.
We are currently developing a maker directory of jewellers and silversmiths that take an ethical approach in their practice. If you are a maker and would like to be listed in our future maker directory, please get in touch about what is considered.