The challenges of making jewellery sustainable

We’re all, thankfully, much more conscious of our impact on the environment now, especially when choosing what to spend our money on. And jewellery should also form part of this concern.
Our love of the earth’s precious metals and gemstones is part of what makes jewellery so universally appealing, but this does come at a high cost. Mining causes huge environmental disruption and often also involves very poor working conditions.

Happily, there are more and more initiatives to address this now, most successfully in the traceability of gold with

schemes such as Fair-trade, and the Kimberly Certification Process which tracks rough diamonds. While neither are perfect, they help to raise ethical standards and give us a more sustainable option. Coloured gemstones are still virtually impossible to trace to their source, however, and this does pose a particular challenge.

Another, less publicised concern is the difficulty in safely disposing of the chemicals used in jewellery making. We’ve had to dig quite deep to find out how to do this – many still don’t bother – and this is a step everyone can take .

So by making these changes, becoming more aware and asking more questions, we can all help move jewellery making in the right direction.

And wherever possible, of course, up-cycling your existing jewellery into something you’ll love wearing is probably the most sustainable option there is!