In the quest to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, jewellery is yet another hurdle. Most will have seen the many stories of human rights abuses involved in the mining of precious stones and metals, whilst the environmental effects of these are also very negative. Then there’s the waste left over, the energy used to create it…all in all it’s an industry which, despite its beautiful products, can be rather ugly. However, thankfully there is increasing awareness around these issues, and people are continuing to come up with incredible and unique ways to change this, targeting both environmental and social aspects to make the industry more sustainable. Here are 5 jewellers, from small one-person teams to international brands, who are striving to make jewellery more sustainable, from sourcing to making and selling.
Founded by Eliza Walter, Lylie’s is a London-based jewellery brand which avoids the traditional mining of metals and stones and their many negative impacts, instead supporting the “mining” of precious metals from discarded technology, dental waste and clients unwanted scrap. E-waste, an abbreviation for electronic waste, is defined as any household or business waste containing circuitry or electrical components, and the amount generated grows exponentially each year due to the increase in global consumer demands. Lylie’s uses e-mining, an eco-friendly alternative to the socially and environmentally destructive process of mining the earth, hallmarking products as appropriate to prove the purity of the metals used. Customers can also recycle old jewellery at Lylie’s, who accept any gold or silver jewellery and offer credit towards Lylie’s purchases. Manufactured stones, recycled diamonds and cultured pearls are also use to make the brand more sustainable, and to offset the emissions created in making their jewellery, packaging and from their office Lylie’s helps plant forests to naturally capture CO2 from the air by working in partnership with The Woodland Trust, the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity.
2. Rosa Pietsch Recycled
UK-based independent maker Rosa Pietsch makes hand-made laser-cut resin jewellery and is improving the sustainability of her brand by using the offcuts waste created during the process of making her jewellery to make a new, more abstract style of jewellery. Using offcuts from the resin material used in her creations, she gets these recycled using a heat pressed method, providing her with new resin sheets which she then transforms into an new line of jewellery. By recycling and repurposing the offcuts, Rosa reduces the waste her brand produces and creates a new, unique jewellery range as well as experimenting with other items like jewellery dishes and plant pots.
Pandora is a great example of a large, international company taking steps to become more sustainable. One of the world’s leading jewellery retailers, Pandora recently announced they will no longer use mined diamonds and will instead use only lab-grown stones. The Danish company also aims to be carbon neutral in its operations by 2025, and as part of this all crafting facilities and shops will be powered by renewable energy sources, with any emissions which are unavoidable being offset. In addition to changing the way their company functions in order to become more sustainable, Pandora is also helping other firms it works with to set their own science-based emissions reduction targets and therefore reduce their impact on our planet.
4. La Jewellery
La Jewellery is a UK based jewellery brand with designs created by Lisa Anne Dickenson who oversees the production of the jewellery from end-to-end. The brand uses, as far as possible, materials and packaging from local sources which leave a lighter environmental footprint as well as using recycled packaging wherever possible. The jewellery is UK made by jewellery assemblers who frequently work from home in a way that supports their work-life balance, with many having been associated with the company for years, ensuring the socially responsible running of the company.
5. Saskia Shutt
Belgium-based Saski Shutt is an independent jewellery designer and maker. She creates unique bespoke jewellery which is 100% handmade in Belgium and uses mindfully sourced silver, gold and platinum. She uses gem stones from Moyo Gems, an ethical gemstone collaboration born in Tanzania which supply jewellers with ethically sourced products. They work with female artisanal gem miners in the Umba Valley to souce various gems from mine to market, working to empower them to work safely, mine better, improve financial security, and create stable, equitable markets for fair trade. Using resources from this ethical supplier means Saskia can ensure that her jewellery is more sustainable.