What Is Sustainable Jewellery?
Jan 28, 2022 | Montahah Ali
How do you make your jewellery sustainable?
There are many ways to make your jewellery sustainable. Here are some of them:
Create an ethical mission and vision. This will help people know and understand your business goals and values when it comes to making and selling products to customers. Also, it means specifying how your business is ethical and ethical towards the community and the operations.
By supporting and donating to charities that support ethical values, it will show people how the business contributes to these charities and the local communities that the business cares about. It will also show people the knowledge and understanding that the business has before selling sustainable products.
Seek out wholesalers who promote Fairtrade practises. Fairtrade ensures that people in developing countries get paid a fair price for their goods or services, which helps them access their basic needs for education, food, healthcare, community programs, etc.
Reusing scrap metals and materials to make the products. Based on being creative. To produce excellent products out of scrap pieces, this has to be applied throughout the whole process of making and shipping the products. A smart way for a business to save money and reuse all its resources instead of wasting or buying new materials.
When buying new materials, looking for suppliers that follow ethical values will be good when making sustainable jewellery. This way, the whole product of producing the products will be sustainable. Fairmined is a label that makes sure these values are met and is responsible for ensuring that operations follow sound environmental practises.
Cutting down on packaging materials. When using packaging materials, keep it simple and use a small amount instead of wasting unnecessary material. This will make sure there isn’t an excessive amount of packaging, wrapping paper, cardboard etc. When buying material for packaging, look for recycled material. This will reduce the amount of plastic waste that the business produces, and help customers be aware of the environmental impact created by the business.
Popular sustainable jewellery brands
Many businesses follow and value sustainability; they make their products based on this and follow ethical values. These are some of the best sustainable jewellery brands.
Their jewellery is made with a story or meaning behind it, and their products are made to reduce overproduction. Their lea bracelet is made out of gold-plated recycled sterling silver, and the packaging for the jewellery piece comes in a recyclable box.
Their jewellery focuses on creating jewels that have an art deco feel. They make jewellery for all generations to share, wear, and treasure for a lifetime. They have an ethical production; they use recycled materials and ethically sourced stones throughout their jewellery-making process.
They are a brand that hand-makes its products in a workshop in London; they have a signature style that many people can spot from a mile away. Their jewellery is made mainly of recycled silver and materials. Their packaging is recycled and recyclable. The materials are locally sourced, so in this way, it helps manage the carbon footprint they produce.
The brand sells vintage treasures to people, specialising in one-off antiques. The founder was inspired by her mother's background as an antique dealer. Her goal is to make the dated term for antiques filter into the fashion industry. They make jewellery that is meant to last and can be passed on from generation to generation.
Their goal is to not cause any harm to the environment or the people involved throughout the whole jewellery-making process. They have factories in the UK and Bali, where the Bali factory focuses on helping unemployed locals, training them to become artisans so they have a fair wage and a safe environment to work in.
The founder, Alice Gwyneth, adds her personal touch to every order that is handmade by her. Their service is made to order and allows them to produce minimal waste of materials and products. They make sure to source their recycled eco-silver and fair-trade gold from reputable sustainable companies. Any of the chemicals they use throughout the whole production process are vegan, and the packaging that the brand uses to ship is both recycled and recyclable.
They use responsibly-sourced, mainly recycled or reclaimed materials. Their products arrive at customers on recycled paper and cardboard. Make an impact while adhering to your values. Trees are planted in collaboration with one another to reduce the environmental impact.
The brand represents upcycling in the jewellery industry, and they take a "make do and mend" approach to creating new pieces. Recycled materials are used in all their pieces, such as brass, bronze, silver, and gold.
They are a Manchester-based brand that bases their jewellery on retro designs and styles. Their brand is all about being environmentally friendly, and their biggest inspiration is nature. Their jewellery is made from recycled silver and gold, and the packaging they use is also recycled and recyclable. The business is plastic-free, so everything they use in their office never goes to waste. It will all be reused so that they don't waste any materials.
Their brand has always focused on sustainability by keeping a minimal and wearable aesthetic. They have a made to order or pre-order system; the brand uses biodegradable bags and focuses on getting rid of all plastic in their supply chain.
What are lab-grown diamonds and how are they created?
Lab-grown diamonds have many names, such as artificial diamonds, synthetic diamonds, etc. These diamonds are grown in a lab, which is why they are called lab-grown diamonds. The labs have cutting-edge technology to replicate the look and process it takes to create a natural diamond. This is why it has gained a significant presence and attention in the diamond industry.
Since lab-grown diamonds are very similar to natural diamonds, they are almost identical, so they are also considered natural diamonds. They both share the same chemical, optical, and physical properties, so being mined or lab-grown is considered a diamond.
The difference between lab-grown and mined diamonds
A lab-grown diamond is produced in conditions that mirror the natural process by which an earth-grown diamond is created. The way it is created means that carbon is subjected to high temperatures and high pressure inside a controlled environment, which creates a lab-grown diamond.
Diamonds are thought to have formed between 1 and 3 billion years ago, but some scientists believe they were formed by carbon dioxide being exposed to extreme temperatures and pressure. These environments are found around 90 miles below the earth's surface; once they are formed, the diamonds are moved from the earth's core to the crust by volcanic explosions.
The process and time it takes to grow a diamond in a lab
Lab-grown diamonds don't take billions of years like mined diamonds to grow and make; lab-grown diamonds take about less than a month to grow. White diamonds take the longest to grow, taking 2+ weeks to grow into a 1-carat diamond. If any of these processes is rushed during the diamond-making process, the crystals will fracture.
The first step is to place 15 to 30 diamond seeds onto a disc placed in a diamond growth chamber, starting with methane gas and forming a plasma with hydrogen. This creates the plasma ball of superheated gases in the chamber; this is where diamond seeds are added. When you increase the heat to 900-1200°C, the methane and hydrogen gases stick to the seed, and the diamond grows carbon atom by atom for around 3–4 weeks. The growth is monitored, and the diamond is removed at a precise moment to maximise the characteristics of the gems. Once the diamonds are removed, they are then transferred to be cut into shape and polished, and from this, the diamond can be added to a ring setting.
What are the benefits of lab-grown diamonds?
This is one of the significant benefits, since people know precisely where the diamond originated. Many of the traditionally mined diamonds come from conflict regions, which has raised ethical and humanitarian concerns. The diamond industry has been linked to child labour, poor working conditions, and human rights violations. This will guarantee that none of this was involved when these diamonds were made and that there was no blood diamond trade involved.
Smaller environmental impact
Mining for diamonds has a significant impact on the environment; between 88,000 and 176,000 pounds of dirt have to be sifted through to find a single 1-carat diamond, so it is better to make lab-grown diamonds since we have advanced technology to do so.
It is less costly.
Buying a lab-grown diamond can mean that people can get a bigger stone or higher quality for their budget. This is because lab-grown diamonds can be up to 40% less expensive than mined diamonds of the same quality.
Better quality for the price
Lab-grown diamonds have the same features as mined-grown diamonds, which means that each diamond will differ in features and quality. Lab diamonds are graded using the 4Cs of diamond quality: cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight as used for mined and lab diamonds. The price of diamonds is based on how well they perform in each of these areas. Even though no two diamonds can be the same for both types of diamonds, people can get better quality for the same amount of money they would spend on a mined diamond.
The top 4 brands to buy lab-made diamond jewellery
The impact of different metals
There are many ways that these metals can impact the environment. Since metal has to be mined to access it, this has caused many environmental issues. Some of the problems that it has caused are:
Unrefined materials get released when mineral deposits are exposed on the surface. Wind erosion and close-by vehicular traffic can cause these materials to become airborne. These toxic elements can damage the health of people living near the mining site.
Chemicals and metal waste are dumped into waste landfills, which can contaminate the soil, leading to river streams and the sea. These chemicals pollute the water, impacting swimming, fishing, water supply and other activities that depend on the sea.
Damage to land
Since mining operations use land areas to dig through the dirt and rocks, it causes the original land to be ruined, and it can't go back to its original form because so much physical destruction has been produced.
Loss of biodiversity
Mining leads to massive habitat loss; endemic species are the most affected since the slightest disruption in their habitat can result in extinction or put them at high risk of being wiped out. So, toxins released through mining can wipe out populations of sensitive species.
This is why when making products using metals, you should never waste material by reusing or recycling it in this way. It will help reduce the negative impact of the need to produce metals and the process of constantly mining for new metals and materials. Below are some of the metals and materials that can be recycled.
Gold can be easily recycled without losing its value, which means that it can be recycled without the need for any new mining. If more recycled gold was put to use, the mining problem could be significantly reduced without it affecting the value of the gold to consumers.
Silver is also similar to gold when it comes to being reused since it can be melted down many times. Newly mined silver is a danger to the environment, so being able to reuse and recycle the metal helps make a small step towards helping the environment.
Diamonds can be easily recycled, reset, or recut; the only problem is that since diamonds are glued onto other components that are harmful to the environment, jewellers have to be careful when separating these parts. The chance of having a recycled diamond in your piece is very high since diamonds have been around for so long.
Recycling platinum is hard and is a toxic process that requires a mixture of different acids or an electrochemical process that releases toxic gases. But some evolving techniques will make the process quicker and less harmful to the environment. Many businesses exist that take objects containing platinum to be recycled, and this metal can be reused for numerous different purposes.
Stainless steel is recyclable, and many products today are likely to be made from primarily recycled materials. Many recycling facilities will take this metal. It can be used for many purposes, which is why a lot of people use this metal.
Lots of jewellery-based businesses that focus on sustainability will use these types of metal that can be recycled since they have a better impact on the environment. It also matches their values and goals as a brand.
In conclusion, the best way to determine whether the jewellery you are making or the materials used to make it are sustainable is to research and inspect the products. Looking into the impact that certain materials have on the environment is the best way to see whether your jewellery and brand are sustainable.
We hope you enjoyed this blog! In the meantime, why not read this blog on the Top 3 Reasons Why Sustainability Is Important In The Jewellery Industry.