By Serina Tatham
Fast-fashion has created a disposable culture that doesn’t fully appreciate clothes or accessories anymore. The increasing demand placed on suppliers brings with it an increasing demand on the environment, with mining devastating to the planet. By becoming a conscious jewellery wearer you’re not only saving the planet, but are also buying pieces full of history that mean much more than any high-street ring.
What’s the problem?
With our planet only providing us with a finite amount of gold and silver, jewellery contributes to the metals’ depletion. Recycled jewellery eliminates this, reducing the need for continuous gold and silver mining.
The excavation process is intense and often devastating, contaminating the soil and killing natural habitats. By switching from mined to recycled jewellery, you can make a massive positive change, reducing your impact on biodiversity to less than five percent.
But it’s not only mining that’s the problem, with the damage continuing into the manufacturing process. Smelting, the process of separating the metal from any impurities so it can be worn as jewellery, is responsible for releasing 142 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
We don’t tend to associate climate change with our accessories, but this is a staggering 13% of global emissions and something we need to start making a conscious connection with. To continue educating yourself, read our informative piece here to find out how you can stay switched on to the climate crisis in you day-to-day life.
Luckily, with recycled jewellery becoming more popular, there is a renewed interest in more sustainable industry practices. Due to mining taking place in some of the poorest regions, however, supply chains are complex and full transparency is often difficult to achieve.
A bright future
But, the future is looking bright, with organisations being created to set standards for the industry. Meaning you don’t have to do all the hard work yourself when trying to purchase accessories, these groups are much needed in the move towards conscious consumerism.
Inspiring change and shaking things up, these organisations are starting to have a knock-on effect. Many well-established brands are making renewed commitments to sustainability and responsibility, with Pandora one example pledging to use only recycled silver and gold for its pieces by 2025.
There is also a rise of newer stores taking advantage of the growing popularity of the ethical lifestyle. Building up their reputations based on their sole use of recycled metals, these predominantly online-based stores are setting new precedents for the future direction of the industry.
To start your collection, some of our favourite pieces from recycled jewellery brands are:
To delve deeper into the sustainable jewellery revolution, read our articles with brands MOSUO and Fyne to learn about ethical diamonds. Or, browse our edit of our favourite conscious jewellery pieces.