How Do You Know Who to Trust?
If you’ve been hearing about Eco Jewelry and wondering if it just refers to crafty bits of recycled glass bottles and colorful plastic, think again. Eco-conscious jewelry is available across a wide range of styles, from fashion to fine. The defining characteristic is a use of materials that are repurposed, recycled or responsibly-sourced, including gold and diamonds.
“Conflict-free” and “eco-friendly” are terms that are tossed around with relative carelessness these days. Everyone knows that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but how well do you really know your BFF (“Best Friends Forever”)? The supply chain for gemstones and precious metals is a lot more complicated than most people realize. In order for your jewelry to be truly environmentally-responsible and ethically-sourced, it’s important to know precisely where the materials originated and how they were acquired. Most of the major jewelry chains make these claims without actually being able to stand behind them, supporting mining and trade conditions that are damaging to the environment and individual workers’ lives.
So, what’s a jewelry lover to do in the midst of this whole thorny business? If everyone from the high-end atelier to the mall jeweler downtown is advertising “conflict-free”, how do you know who to trust? One way to avoid the confusing mixed-messages is to go with independent designers who are willing to reveal their suppliers to you directly. In my own jewelry collection okomido, for example, we source completely recycled gold through refiners who have undergone strict third-party certification. We have also avoided many of the pitfalls related to current diamond sourcing by using reclaimed vintage diamonds exclusively. Our gorgeous colored gemstones are either vintage or fair trade, from a handful of trusted buyers following stringent guidelines.
The more that customers demand this level of transparency, the more the industry itself will change. You can do your part by becoming more discriminating and well-informed. Read our blog and don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are more eco-jewelry collections now than ever, so you don’t have to sacrifice cutting-edge fashion to satisfy your conscience.
Midori Ferris Wayne