Even those people who eat organic foods, exercise daily and contribute to environmental causes are often still wary of eco-friendly jewelry. Maybe because for quite some time the kind that most of us tended to see was thick hemp-rope necklaces or weirdly recycled bits and bobs hung on string at art fairs.
But these days, there are a number of companies and designers working with recycled metals, certified diamonds and low-impact production processes, creating jewelry that's every bit as lovely as anything you'll find at a national jewelry retailer, but in the cases below, with a much more handcrafted feel. (Want to know more about the pollution and human rights issues associated with traditional jewelry practices? Read here and here.)
Some of these designers go even further than using planet-friendly materials; donating money to humanitarian and environmental causes for each piece sold, or running their businesses carbon-neutrally (via solar panels on the roof, recycled packaging, or offsets).
Anjolee's gold is recycled and their diamonds are certified conflict-free; they manufacture all their own jewelry and maintain rigorous standards for the clean disposal of waste materials
. Their tennis bracelets
are standouts, with both traditional and more decorative patterns like the one shown here.
Ruff and Cut's sustainability practices are thorough and wide-ranging, including recycled metals and personally sourced gems and diamonds (the designer deals with the mines directly and transparency includes specific details about origination. "Polished diamond from Liqhobong Diamond Mining Cooperative in Maluti Mountains, cut and polished by Surat Diamond Workers' Industrial Co-Op Society," is the detail included for the piece above). This delicate, pretty necklace
is indicative of the classic-with-a-twist design that the brand represents, and 10% of profits go to specific nonprofit projects.
sources their diamonds from Canada, so they are not only conflict-free and environmentally-friendlier (Canadian diamond mines have much more strict - and enforced - laws than African diamonds), but they are a slightly more local product for American buyers too. Their sits says, "Our precious metals come from secondary sources and are re-refined in order to ensure that they are identical quality to newly mined metals." These 18K white gold and diamond earrings
are a classic look that will never go out of style.
Jeffrey Levin designs a wide variety of jewelry, all with his personal handwrought touch, and all made from mostly recycled content metals. These stacking rings
are a lovely way to add to a collection over the years (most of Levin's designs are meant to be mixed, stacked, and layered), and mismatching metals is very au courant