Environmentally Friendly Jewelry Tips: How to Shop and Care for Your Fine Jewelry in an Eco-friendly Way
The jewelry industry isn’t always synonymous with being environmentally friendly. From time to time the mining and cultivating of gemstones and precious metals can have its fair share of consequences on the environment and even on human rights. That said, miraculously formed jewels and metals should be worn! These vibrant gems and metals are a testament to how amazing the earth is, and they have been adorning our bodies for thousands of years.
There are ways we can all be a little bit more conscious about the fine jewelry making process and, in turn, be a little more friendly to our environment. But how?
Be Aware of Where You Shop
Jewelry that is mass produced is more likely to be produced at the expense of our earth. The object of the corporate fine jewelry trade is to create the greatest amount of items for the least amount of cost, thus allowing for the greatest amount of profit.
This can and too often does involve harsh mining conditions and unsustainable low-wage factories. However, there are larger companies now that are making a stand to be more environmentally conscious.
However, there are larger companies now that are making a stand to be more environmentally conscious. Brilliant Earth is one of the more widely known companies, and others do exist. Research any large chain’s mission statement and learn about their commitment to ethical business practices before purchasing!
Instead of supporting a large chain, sometimes a better and more eco-friendly option is to have your fine jewelry made by a local jewelry designer that sources their own stones and crafts each and every piece with their own two hands.
These jewelers are usually much more conscious about where their resources are coming from. Some even melt down old broken jewelry in order to source their fine metals.
Yes, these jewelers need to be able to put food on their table, but they are also masters of their craft with an attention to detail and an awareness that cannot be matched by a big chain.
It isn’t so much about making a huge profit for these artisans, but more about the joy and passion they have for what they do that translates into a very special piece of fine jewelry. It may cost you a little bit more, in the long run, to buy from a small scale jeweler or designer, but ultimately you will have a treasure that was created similar to how fine jewelry was created centuries ago. If you are unsure if the small vendor you are thinking of using is an eco-friendly one, ask them about their process. Ask how they source their materials, and how their items are made. Etsy is a great place to start your search for this type of vendor.
Maybe you want something old and with character. Antique jewelry is always a great environmentally friendly option because, in the simplest terms, it is recycled and sustainable. Find out where to shop for antique jewelry here.
Clean Your Jewelry in a Gentle Way
Ultrasonic machines aren’t the most environmentally friendly option to clean your fine jewelry. Instead, take a soft toothbrush, a lint-free towel, and mild soapy water. Dip the toothbrush in the soapy water and very gently brush your piece of jewelry, being careful not to be too harsh, especially on softer stones.
Rinse your jewelry with a small amount of warm water and pat dry. You can submerge really dirty pieces in the solution for a couple of minutes before brushing, but I would not do this with pearls, cameos, opals, or any stone with a lot of cracks in it (like a very included emerald).
Read more about how to care for your jewelry here.