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  • Writer's pictureValerieBound

Sustainable jewelry gifting

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

If you want to gift a friend or family member environmentally friendly or sustainable jewelry, you've come to the right place. There are more and more designers all the time who are passionate about creating art in harmony with the environment. And plenty of companies who've realized how important sustainability is to consumers. All of these developments are wonderful news for us - because we have more choices than ever.


It's hard to define sustainable or environmentally friendly jewelry. Using recycled gold or solar power is part of being environmentally friendly. Sustainability typically involves a humanitarian focus, like avoiding conflict diamonds and paying workers fairly. In this post, I'm taking a broad view, realizing it's not a black and white issue. And each company or designer may focus on different elements. You hold the power when it comes to purchasing. I'll try to give you enough details to help you make an informed decision and feel good about what you buy.


I urge you to consider some of the companies and designers I've highlighted. In my view, they've gone above and beyond with their efforts.

Note: Because I am a wannabe-librarian, this list is in alphabetical order.

Alexandra Hart

Alexandra is an award-winning American goldsmith and jewelry designer. She makes beautiful, high-end pieces and is a sculptor as well. Her jewelry follows the organic lines found in nature. She’s been in the industry a while now, and has a reputation for being socially responsible. She uses 100% recycled gold, silver, or platinum in all of her designs, and gets her gemstones from the fair trade company Columbia Gem House.




But most of all, she’s known for her voice. She was an early member of Ethical Metalsmiths and now serves on their Board of Directors as President. She has done a lot, through lectures, presentations, her blog, website, and Facebook, to educate consumers, her own clients, and other designers in the industry about being more sustainable.



Best of all, Alexandra’s jewelry is handmade here in the USA, in her studio in San Diego, CA.


ANZA Gems



Brilliant Earth

I have been following this great company for over a decade. They were one of the first companies out there to be totally upfront about their values. When they started in 2005, no one in the jewelry industry was talking about ethical sourcing, and certainly no one thought it was a good idea to have a whole company built on that premise! But look, they are still around and profitable and even expanding, so kudos to them for their vision!


They were not then, and certainly aren’t now, interested in conflict diamonds. They source all their diamonds from countries with no conflict, like, you know, Canada. And they also use recycled gold and platinum in the vast majority of their designs. Brilliant Earth even offers their customers a non-toxic, biodegradable jewelry cleaner.



But one of the best things they do, in my opinion, has to do with packaging. Their jewelry comes in these beautiful wooden boxes, with the wood coming from sustainably managed forests. And just this year, they redesigned their packaging to make it even better, which means they will use 35% less paper packaging than they do now.


Environmentally Responsible packaging
An example of Brilliant Earth’s packaging

My hat is off to this company for being one of the first wedding-focused jewelry businesses to go all in on sustainability.


Kamoka Pearls

Ahhhhh, pearls! An admitted weakness of mine, I am especially fond of Tahtian pearls. Because the color on them is sooooooooo beautiful! So of course I was beyond excited to discover Kamoka Pearls, an amazing company that creates the most exquisite Tahitian pearls.




To me, Kamoka goes the extra mile when it comes to sustainability. Their pearl farming operation uses solar and wind power for everything! And their fresh water (since they’re surrounded by the ocean) comes from the sky, because they just catch and use rainwater. They brag about how well their employees are paid and point to their low turnover.


Their founder was a keynote speaker at the first ever Sustainable Pearl Forum in Hong Kong in 2014. Kamoka is a small operation, they were chosen because they’re admired for all their work to truly be an eco friendly pearl farm.


Loren Nicole

Loren Nicole is a jewelry designer specializing in 22k gold.

Loren Nicole is a certified Fairmined gold jewelry collection.

Fairmined supports artisanal miners around the world. This organization enforces strict standards for mining practices, focused on ethical and sustainable methods for both the health of them miners and the environment.




Our Gems

Loren often knows where her gemstones are sourced, frequently sourcing from artisanal and small scale mining operations. This means the environmental impact of mining is significantly reduced, since most gems are mined by hand.

Loren’s standards for quality and ethics, led her to work with several gem dealers all based in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, a town prized for their lapidary skills. Loren is able to work closely with these master artisans to bring her designs to life.

California Green Business

Loren Nicole is a certified California Green Business. We are doing our part to utilize sustainable practices in our workshop and making responsible choices for our community and local environment.

NOVICA




Sofia Kaman

RECYCLED GOLD

At Sofia Kaman, we are passionate about using ethical and sustainable materials in all that we do. As part of our mission we use recycled gold and metals in all our designs.








AANTIQUE DIAMONDS

The beauty of antique stones does not stop with their glistening facets. Because they are already in circulation, their is no new environmental cost and make a one of a kind, sustainable choice. All of our stones, both antique and modern, are sourced through trusted suppliers who abide by the Kimberley Process and guarantee their stones to be conflict-free.




LAB GROWN DIAMONDS

Same sparkle as natural diamond, different origin. Lab Grown Diamonds from Diamond Foundry, are grown with renewable energy, have a zero carbon footprint and cut to ideal standards. A beautiful, eco-freindly choice for serious sparkle lovers.




Tiffany

I have to give props to Tiffany because they really are a leader in the industry. As a big, prestigious jewelry house with a long history, they have a lot of clout. So when they do things, people pay attention. They have opposed mining in Alaska (the evil Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay) and in the National Forest (the Rock Creek project in Montana). For a company that gets its product from mining, that’s a pretty big deal!


I won’t bore you with all the things Tiffany has done to support sustainability, but if you’re curious, head here to read their most recent Sustainability Report. It’s pretty impressive!



More to come

As much as I love jewelry, the mining industry does considerable damage to the environment and has a poor track record when it comes to treating mine workers fairly. I hope the continued focus on sustainability will help miners, jewelry makers and sellers, and consumers.


What do think? Do you take sustainability into consideration when you make a jewelry purchase?

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