If you’re looking to invest in ethical fashion this year, it’s not a huge leap to assume you’ll be interested in ethical jewellery too.
It’s always tempting to impulse buy affordable trend-led pieces, but it would be a little counter-productive. For starters, you might fall out of love with them in a season, but more importantly, you don’t know how they’re made.
Do you know where your jewellery is sourced from – especially when it comes to diamonds? Exactly. So if you want to change the way you shop and invest in some pieces that will last and won’t make you feel guilty, you’ve come to the right place.
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?
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.
More and more jewellery brands are venturing into lab grown diamonds. Pandora launched its first collection in 2021, whilst brands such as Lark & Berry, Leo & Lumi and Kimai all focus on creating jewellery with man-made diamonds.
There is still some confusion around the process, with many people unsure as to whether lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds. The short answer is yes. In fact, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, as the quality is the same: think carat, cut, colour and clarity. They are created in a rough uncut form, and then cut and polished into shape, much like a mined diamond. More importantly, there is no doubt they are ethically and sustainably sourced.
Lab-grown diamonds also tend to be a little cheaper than mined diamonds, as you are cutting out the mining process and there is less of a mark-up.
Ethical jewellery brands
Want to know where to shop some beautiful ethical jewellery brands? From Alighieri to Roxanne First, Wald to Vashi, scroll down to treat yourself to some of our favourite pieces, from diamond earrings to gold necklaces.