back to What is Lab-Grown?

Sustainable Jewelry: Everything You Need to Know

by Kamillah Khalif
Last updated on August 21, 2023

Gorgeous jewelry doesn’t have to cost you a clear conscience. Here’s everything you need to know about shopping for sustainable jewelry.

What Is Sustainable Jewelry?

Ethical and sustainable jewelry are hot topics these days, but the terminology can get pretty confusing. Let’s break it down.

In a nutshell, jewelry made with minimal impact on the environment and the people involved with making it at every step in the supply chain is sustainable jewelry. Sustainable jewelry also includes jewelry made to last and encourages quality over quantity of consumption.

Sustainable and ethical jewelry is a win-win for everyone. Responsibly sourced jewelry supports the sustainable livelihoods of communities worldwide, which benefits the global market. Ethical jewelry also helps us remain environmentally conscious without sacrificing great style.

Types of Sustainable and Ethical Jewelry

Much like sustainable fashion, navigating sustainable jewelry can be complex because there are many ways for jewelry brands to be considered sustainable. Some brands choose to use upcycled and recycled materials. Some focus on materials with minimal effects on the planet, such as ethically sourced lab-grown diamonds.

Others pay the most attention to how jewelry positively impacts the communities it’s made in by empowering women and marginalized communities. Let’s dive deeper into the ways jewelry can be sustainable.

Recycled Jewelry

Recycled jewelry is a great place to start. You can shop intentionally by thrifting vintage jewelry before looking at new options. You can also trade-in or donate your unwanted metal jewelry. Some sustainable jewelry brands use unwanted metal jewelry and other recycled materials to create stunning pieces.

Ethical Jewelry

One of the most significant ethical issues of the jewelry industry is mining. Mining can severely impact the environment, including air pollution, water waste, and damaged ecosystems. Recycled jewelry doesn’t require mining, and neither do lab-grown gemstones. The second best option to these are brands that commit to reducing water waste and gas emissions from mining.

Fair Trade Products

Fair Trade refers to a standard for trading practices that protect workers from exploitation. This protection aims to make sure workers receive fair wages, their working conditions are safe, and their environment remains protected.

Fair Trade can also prioritize conflict-free products such as conflict-free gold or recycled silver and uplift local communities with the right to fair working conditions. A company’s commitment to these practices can be certified through third-party organizations such as the World Fair Trade Organization.

How to Shop Sustainable Jewelry

Buy Jewelry Made to Last

Sustainability is all about buying things made to last and decreasing mass production. Investing in a fine jewelry collection that is great for everyday wear as well as special occasions can reduce overconsumption.

You can invest in fine jewelry, like an engagement ring and pass it down as an heirloom through generations. Other pieces made of quality, sustainable materials can be sold, recycled, or become valuable vintage jewelry over time.

Opt For Sustainably Sourced Precious Metals

You can add stunning sustainable pieces to your jewelry collection by shopping for sustainably sourced materials such as fair trade gold and other fairly mined materials.

Fairly mined materials can include conflict-free materials or ensure the people producing the sustainable materials receive just compensation through fair wages and working conditions. Jewelry made from old jewelry’s upcycled materials (like recycled bronze and recycled gold) is also a sustainable option.

Shop Responsibly Sourced Gemstones

Aside from using recycled metals, ethical jewelry brands can use other ethically sourced materials such as gemstones.

The pearl industry is an exception, but most gemstones are not easily renewable materials. A jewelry brand might choose to use responsibly sourced gemstones, those sourced with ethics and environmental consciousness in mind. Lab grown gemstones are another ethical option that eliminates mining altogether.

Buy Ethically Sourced Diamonds

Diamonds are one of the most valued gemstones on the planet, but sometimes that beauty comes at an extremely high price. Blood diamonds are illegally sourced diamonds used to fund conflict and wars.

Because the jewelry industry supply chain can be complex and winding, it can be nearly impossible to trace the source of these natural materials. Shopping lab grown diamonds can help avoid this issue entirely.

Lab Grown Diamonds at Clean Origin

Clean Origin was founded in 2017 by a team of industry veterans with over 100 years of combined experience. With an environmentally conscious approach, Clean Origin offers lab grown diamond jewelry that gives our customers peace of mind and a diamond with beautiful, pure beginnings. 100% of our diamonds are 100% ethical, so you can shop wedding rings, engagement rings, and other ethically sourced diamond jewelry without sacrificing quality.