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How An Increased Interest In The Environment Is Changing The Jewellery Industry

Eco-friendly jewellery is becoming more and more popular by the day. It is no surprise due to ongoing changes to the planet due to pollution. It can be difficult for companies to make their jewellery in this day in age to make them eco-friendly. Mining materials can damage the environment, never mind all of the packagings as well. 

Many questions are raised when it comes to jewellery companies and whether or not they are eco-friendly. Hopefully, this article will answer those questions and give you a better understanding. 

The Concerns of Protecting The Environment and The Eco-Friendly Considerations

As mentioned earlier, the whole process of mining gemstones and other materials. That can have a massive impact on the environment. This is why many global warming activists protest. Even pearls have issues as well because organisms are washed off the oyster and then thrown back into the ocean. Making it be considered as organic waste. Why is this bad? Simply because when there is a lot of waste in the ocean, wildlife such as fish and other animals find it difficult to break down nutrients. That then leads to a chemical reaction that removes oxygen atoms from molecules. This is also known as deoxygenation. 

Why Is It So Difficult to Make Jewellery Eco-Friendly 

It is so difficult for jewellery makers to create eco-friendly jewellery because of the raw materials. All of the materials that are used will come from the ground unless it is artificially made (lab-created). Another thing to mention is that these gemstones often come from LDC countries (Less developed countries). 

The first thing that you would do is to find where the jewellery is mined. This can be extremely hard to trace because the materials could have been mined hundreds of years ago. Another thing to mention is that it is passed through many people before actually getting into your hands. 

Is stopping mining materials going to make it more eco-friendly? Probably not. However, one thing that we can do is make it more ethical for the miners. As well as improve the living standards of the miners. That could be the beginning of reducing gas emissions at mines. Jeweller brands are trying to be more eco-friendly with their packaging. 

What Rules and Regulations are in Place For Making Jewellery Eco-Friendly?

There are three main initiatives to encourage proper sourcing amongst everyone that is involved in the jewellery industry. These are all going to be broken down below to help you have a better understanding of how minerals are mined. 

Fairtrade Gold & Fairmined Gold

Believe it or not, 10% of the gold that is mined is from small-scale mining. Artisan mining or small-scale mining is common in LDC countries which has unregulated conditions. The miners will work long hours and, they are either paid minimum wage or even less. 

There will also be many human rights violations at these mines. Many places around the world still have slave labourers. More often than not, mines will also have slave labourers. In response to this, two custody programs have been formed to make sure that gold is farmed ethically. 

Fairmined Gold deals with artisanal miners which, improve the working conditions and the environmental outcomes. Currently, this certifies seven mines, licences 12 gold traders in 15 plus countries. Now, fairtrade gold is similar to fair mined gold. It formed the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation system and has certified fairtrade gold producers and 41 fairtrade gold traders. 

Responsible Jewellery Council

Responsible jewellery council addresses the issues of human and labour rights in the high-end jewellery market. The council has almost 67 billion in sales and hosts around 918 commercial members.

Kimberly Process Diamonds

It is known within the world of jewellery that diamonds cause environmental issues. Not to mention that they are highly unethical as well. In Africa, it is common for militias to take over these miens and use the money to fund the weapons and ammunition they buy for their civil wars. The diamonds that are mined from these types of areas are also known as blood diamonds. 

In response to ethical issues that these mines were facing Kimberley Process launched in 2020, which then formed a certification scheme. This observed the trading between countries of rough diamonds and is reckoned that it filtered around 99% of conflict diamonds.

Another initiative that is similar to the Kimberly process is called the Canadian Diamond Code. The industry looks out for conflict-free diamonds in Canada and makes sure that it is eco-friendly. However, many organisations have stated that the ambition has not worked as expected. These organisations have also mentioned that there is no sufficient evidence that blood diamonds are still entering the market. 

The Future of Eco-Friendly Jewellery

As mentioned earlier, it is hard to find eco-friendly jewellery. The industry has changed a few things for the safety of miners and how diamonds are traded, although there can be more done. 

Recycled Jewellery

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency gathered results from a survey saying that metal mining is the number one toxic polluter. Recycling any material is something that the western part of the world has got on board. It is common in the jewellery industry as well. Sustainable jewellery can be a great eco-friendly gift for mothers as well. 

Many businesses recycle the jewellery instead of using newly mined pieces. Additionally, gold is an element that does not lose its quality when it is recycled. Vintage engagement rings are becoming more popular than ever.

Lab-Grown Gemstones

Lab-created gemstones are becoming popular within the industry of jewellery. Mines pumps a lot of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. Now, science labs can create artificial gemstones that have the same elements as natural gemstones. The two processes for how gemstones are created in labs use a lot of energy from gas and coal.  


There are both issues with mining gemstones and materials for jewellery. However, there are a lot of ethical problems with mining. Nonetheless, the issues that surround global warming and jewellery are still massive.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash.