How can I be sure that I am buying ethically sourced jewellery?
Jasmin Chew / You can find ethically sourced jewellery, you just have to do your research
Jewellery has always held a special place in our hearts, serving as tokens of memories, milestones, and moments of personal expression. When we choose a piece, its design and aesthetic value are often top of mind. But in today's world, where transparency and ethics play pivotal roles, there's another layer to consider: the story of its origin.
How was it crafted? Where did its materials come from? Were people and environments treated fairly in its creation? With a rising wave of consumers prioritising ethical considerations, it's incredibly important to delve deeper into these questions, rather than brushing them off. This guide aims to shed light on these aspects, helping you navigate your jewellery purchases with confidence, ensuring that your choices are not only stylish but also rooted in integrity and responsibility.
Understanding the Importance of Ethically Sourced Jewellery
Navigating the sparkling aisles of jewellery, one might easily get lost in the dazzle and allure of each piece. Yet, behind the glitter lies a narrative that's equally compelling—the story of its origins. Ethically sourced jewellery stands as a beacon in an industry that, at times, has been overshadowed by stories of conflict diamonds, unfair labour, and environmental degradation. When you opt for a piece that is ethically sourced, you're not just wearing an accessory; you're wearing a promise. This promise reflects a commitment to valuing human lives, ensuring safe and respectful working conditions, and upholding the integrity of the environments where these precious materials are found. Furthermore, it respects the communities and individuals who tirelessly work to bring these beautiful pieces to life. By understanding and valuing the importance of ethically sourced jewellery, consumers can make empowered decisions, ensuring their adornments resonate with both beauty and conscience.
Do Your Homework on the Brands you are Buying from
While a brand's glitz and glamour can easily capture our attention, it's what lies beneath that truly matters. Before entrusting a brand with your purchase, take a moment to delve deeper into its core values and practices. Modern consumers are no longer just buyers; they're informed stakeholders, and leading jewellery brands have recognized this shift. They are progressively prioritising transparency, offering in-depth insights into their sourcing and production processes.
When researching, don't just stop at the surface-level marketing materials. Dive into their annual sustainability reports, seek out third-party evaluations, or even engage with them on social media platforms. Brands truly committed to ethical sourcing will not shy away from answering your queries and showcasing their initiatives. Additionally, reading reviews and testimonials from previous customers can provide a candid look into the brand's integrity and values. Remember, a brand that wears its ethical heart on its sleeve will have a strong track record to back it up.
Ask about the jewellery’s Certification
Borgen magazine / The Kimberley Process being enacted in Africa
In an industry as vast and intricate as jewellery, certifications act as vital checkpoints for consumers, helping them navigate the complex waters of ethical sourcing. When considering a purchase, especially of high-value stones or metals, understanding these certifications can offer peace of mind.
For diamonds, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme stands out as a pioneering effort. Established in 2003, this international initiative aims to stem the flow of conflict diamonds, ensuring that diamond purchases aren't funding rebel movements against recognized governments. While the Kimberley Process has its limitations, it's a step in the right direction, bringing much-needed transparency to the diamond trade.
When it comes to gold — a metal whose extraction has historically been linked to environmental degradation and labour exploitation — the Fairmined and Fairtrade labels come into play. These certifications ensure the gold you're purchasing has been mined under stringent ethical conditions, prioritising both environmental protection and the welfare of miners. The Fairmined label, for example, guarantees that artisanal and small-scale mining organisations meet world-leading standards for responsible practices. Meanwhile, the Fairtrade stamp ensures miners receive a fair price and an additional premium to invest in community projects.
Kimberley Process / The most recent meeting of the Kimberley Process chairs in Zimbabwe
Make sure to consider Recycled and Lab-Grown Alternatives to traditional jewellery
ElectrickeryArt / Jewellery created from recycled circuit boards, taken from a computer’s mother board
In the modern era, conscious choices don't mean limiting options; in fact, it's quite the opposite. As our technological prowess has grown, so too have the innovative solutions within the realm of jewellery.
One of the most notable advances is the emergence of lab-grown diamonds and gemstones. These alternatives, crafted meticulously in controlled environments, parallel their natural counterparts in every way — from their dazzling sparkle to their intricate cuts. What sets them apart, however, is their origin. Since they are cultivated in labs, these stones bypass the pitfalls of traditional mining, ensuring fewer environmental footprints and sidestepping ethical concerns associated with exploitative mining practices.
Recycled metals, on the other hand, present a beautiful narrative of rebirth. These metals, once a part of other pieces or products, are given a second life, melted and moulded into new stunning jewellery items. By choosing recycled metals, you're actively reducing the demand for new mining ventures, thus alleviating the pressure on our planet's finite resources and the communities traditionally affected by mining processes. These metals carry a rich history, adding depth and character to every piece, while also heralding a commitment to sustainability.
When you choose these alternatives, you're not only making a statement with your style but also with your values, blending aesthetics with a profound respect for our planet and its inhabitants.
Support your Local Artisans and Craftsmen
Worker from our base in Bogata, London DE Colombia
There's a unique allure to jewellery that's been handcrafted, carrying the heart and soul of its maker. Often, when you buy directly from artisans, you're not just acquiring a piece of jewellery, but a story — a legacy of tradition, skill, and passion. These craftsmen typically come from generations of jewellers, and their methods are steeped in age-old traditions that respect both the material and the environment.
Moreover, buying from local artisans ensures that your money goes directly into the hands of the creators. This fair compensation means they can continue their craft, pass down their skills, and support their families and communities. It also provides an economic incentive for them to maintain ethical practices, as they are more closely connected to their materials and the land from which they source.
Furthermore, artisan pieces often stand out for their unique designs, intricate detailing, and personalised touches. Unlike mass-produced items, these pieces have character, making them not just a beautiful accessory but also a conversation starter. Supporting local artisans is not merely an ethical choice but also a celebration of craftsmanship, heritage, and individuality.
Stay Informed and Keep the Conversation Going
Anastasia Anastasia / It’s one thing buying ethical jewellery, it’s another thing trying to make the whole industry a more sustainable and ethical place to buy from, work in or trade with
The realm of ethical sourcing is dynamic, shaped by the ever-changing landscapes of consumer demand, environmental challenges, and global socio-economic shifts. To truly champion ethically sourced jewellery, it's crucial to stay informed about the industry’s evolving practices.
Engage with Thought Leaders: Follow industry experts, non-profits, and activists who are at the forefront of sustainable and ethical sourcing. Their insights will deepen your understanding and provide actionable steps you can take to make a difference.
Participate in Forums and Discussions: Join platforms or groups that discuss ethical practices in the jewellery world. These forums often shed light on new challenges, innovations, and solutions that aren’t always in the mainstream spotlight.
Challenge Brands Transparently: While many brands are moving towards more ethical practices, there's always room for improvement. Don’t shy away from asking your favourite brands about their sourcing methods, artisan compensation, and environmental impact. Your questions can push them to be more transparent and accountable.
Spread the Word: Sharing your knowledge with friends, family, and your wider network can have a ripple effect. The more consumers prioritise ethical sourcing, the more the industry will shift towards these practices.
Being a proactive advocate means not just making informed choices for yourself but fostering a community that values the ethical stories behind their shimmering pieces. Your voice can pave the way for a brighter, more ethical future in the world of jewellery.
London DE and our commitment to Ethical jewellery
One of our artisans creating a bespoke piece of jewellery, using sustainably sourced metals and gemstones
Established in 2013, London DE emerged from a deep-rooted love for gemstones and jewellery. With a clear vision in mind, we sought to create a business that was not only steeped in elegance and luxury but also founded on principles of ethics and sustainability.
Global Expansion with Ethical Commitments
Fast forward a few years, and we have taken our commitment to ethical and sustainable jewellery beyond the borders of the UK. With the establishment of our subsidiary in Bogota, the heart of Colombia's emerald district, we are more easily able to source materials right from the top, ensuring transparency and cutting out any ambiguity that often plagues supply chains.
Transparency and Direct Relationships
What sets London DE apart from traditional high-street retailers is our unique and direct relationships within the industry. By working closely with a select group of trusted suppliers, London DE is able to ensure that each piece we offer is not just unique and handcrafted, but also ethically sourced. Our curated range of jewellery pieces reflects the blend of bespoke design and ethical commitment.
Adherence to Standards and Environmental Commitment
Being part of the Responsible Jewellery Council and the National Association of Jewellers, London DE is constantly held to high standards of ethical operations. This isn't merely a badge for us; we take pride in truly embodying these principles through our daily actions. Our steps towards sustainability, such as the move to a paperless office and collaboration with local businesses, further emphasise our commitment.
Our workshops in Bogota stand as a testament to London DE’s commitment to local communities, ensuring our local artisans are employed under fair and equitable conditions.
A New Vision for Jewellery Trading
In the complex world of gemstone trading and jewellery creation, we have managed to carve a niche for ourselves due to our unique approach. Instead of the conventional route where a stone changes numerous hands, increasing the price and reducing transparency at each step, London DE offers a refreshing direct-from-source model.
Our approach allows customers to be assured of the ethical sourcing of their gemstones, coupled with the best prices for top-quality items. The model is efficient, lean, and designed with both ethics and customer satisfaction in mind.
Nataliya Melnychuk / Beautiful ethically sourced jewellery
The true beauty of jewellery extends beyond the sparkle that meets the eye; it's deeply interwoven with the narratives and values it embodies. Ethically sourced jewellery not only stands as a testament to your personal style but also mirrors a conscious commitment to global responsibility. In a world teeming with choices, opting for ethical jewels ensures that every piece you adorn resonates with a tale of integrity, compassion, and sustainable elegance. When you wear such pieces, you're not just making a fashion statement; you're proudly voicing your dedication to a brighter and more equitable future. After all, in the realm of luxury and elegance, what could be more precious than knowing the hands that crafted your treasures did so in an environment of respect and fairness? So, the next time you find yourself enchanted by a shimmering gem or a gleaming band, let its ethical origins be the reason it truly captivates your heart.