What is sustainable jewellery and why is it important?
“Is this piece Green?” is probably not the first question that pops into our heads when wearing or buying jewellery. But like any other industry, jewellery making has an impact on our world, and its people; and questions around sustainability and ethics when creating jewellery have become increasingly important to both jewellery makers and customers.
What is sustainable jewellery?
Sustainable jewellery is jewellery that has minimal impact on the environment and strives to continuously minimise that impact. Sustainable jewellery also means transparent and responsible sourcing practices in the jewellery supply chain and throughout the manufacturing process.
The importance of ethical practices and sustainability in the jewellery industry
Starting from the sourcing of the raw materials and the tools and chemicals used in the manufacturing process, all the way to the packaging and delivery of the pieces, each step of the jewellery supply chain has an impact on the environment.
There are more than 100 million people working in the jewellery industry worldwide. And the majority of these people are living in the world’s most economically depressed areas. Labour conditions, unfair pay, exposure to dangerous chemicals, gem cutting hazards and conflict gems and precious metals are just some of the social issues that need to be taken into consideration when talking about ethical jewellery.
Consumers are no longer content with jewellery that simply looks good. In the ‘Conscious Jewellery Trend Report 2020’ conducted by ExJewel, data shows that the demand for sustainable and ethical jewellery is, in fact, being driven by consumers, as searches for ‘ethical diamond’ have increased by 75 percent, ‘lab-grown diamond’ by 83 percent and ‘ethical gold’ by 73 percent year-on-year.
The demand for sustainable and ethical jewellery is rising in popularity due to the number of compassionate and sustainable shoppers who question where their products come from and who, if anyone, benefits from or is harmed by their purchase.
As conscious-driven and sustainably minded jewellery makers, we have an obligation to do everything in our power to do our part for the environment and for humanity.
What makes a jewellery brand sustainable?
The road to creating sustainable jewellery can be complex because there are many different ways for jewellery brands to become more sustainable. However, we believe that there are three key factors that a jewellery brand needs to prioritize and ensure for it to be considered sustainable.
1. Sourcing and using eco-friendly and sustainable jewellery materials
It’s important for a sustainable brand to source raw materials, metals, and stones in a responsible way. The jewellery materials that are used should be conflict-free and sustainable with minimal effects on the planet, such as ethically sourced lab-grown diamonds, recycled materials, and eco-friendly metals.
One of the most eco-friendly and sustainable jewellery materials is silver. By its nature, silver has a lower environmental impact than gold – often making it the first choice for sustainable jewellery companies. What makes silver unique as a sustainable jewellery metal is that it is gathered as a product of other forms of industrial mining.
Silver is often found and gathered when mining for copper, gold, and zinc, which lowers its environmental impact as it’s not being mined for separately. Also, when silver is recycled, no purity is lost in the recycling process, so recycled silver is of the same quality as newly mined silver, but infinitely more sustainable.
2. The jewellery manufacturing process
From start to finish, the jewellery manufacturing process needs to be as sustainable as possible. This includes recycling or upcycling materials throughout the jewellery making process. It also refers to the packaging and delivery process, as well the chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process.
The chemicals that are used during and after the manufacturing process can have a significant impact on the environment. Whether it’s the flux being used to prepare metals for the soldering process, the agents that get added for melting the metal, or the compounds used for polishing.
Each one of these chemicals can affect the planet in one way or another. This is why it’s incredibly important for sustainable jewellery brands to ensure that all the chemicals used throughout the manufacturing process is as eco-friendly as possible and gets disposed of in a responsible way.
3. Ethical working conditions for craftswomen and craftsmen
Not only should a sustainable and ethical brand ensure that their jewellery pieces have minimal impact on the environment, but they also need to ensure that they have minimal negative impact on the craftsmen and craftswomen who help them create their jewellery.
This means that all workers involved in the manufacturing process should be paid fairly and work under healthy working conditions. Many ethical brands will also focus on how they can positively impact people and their communities. For example, jewellery brands that prioritize empowering women and marginalised communities, as well as preserve the centuries-old skills of craftsmen.
What we do at Rana Mikdashi Jewellery to promote sustainability
At Rana Mikdashi Jewellery, we believe that unique, beautiful jewellery doesn’t have to cost you a clear conscience. This is why we constantly seek new ways to minimise our impact on the environment.
When it comes to our processes, we recycle all our metal, whether it’s scrap, sheets, wire or powder. We also do this in-house to further reduce our carbon footprint. Most of our one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces have a raw finish, which means that we don’t require the use of the many hazardous chemicals that typically go into the polishing process with jewellery.
We also ensure that our packaging is recyclable by using paper and wool instead of plastic. For us, being an ethical and sustainable jewellery manufacturer also means keeping craftsmanship alive by supporting small workshops, independent artisans, and family-owned businesses, and avoiding exploitation by always enabling fair pay.
We don’t believe in fast, throwaway fashion, so we create high-quality, handcrafted eternal jewellery pieces that can be worn and adored forever. Have a look at our collection of handmade statement rings, earrings, necklaces, brooches, bracelets, and hair jewellery pieces.