The weather is warm, the waves are high, and it’s time to show off that gorgeous golden tan that you got at the beach last weekend. You’ve already got some stylish, organic cotton threads, and your sandals are a pretty convincing faux leather, but when it comes time to accessorize with a few key pieces of jewelry, you may be at a loss as to how to go about greening up your act. Fortunately, there are all kinds of ways to get the jewelry you’ll need to spice up your summer look without doing any harm to the environment. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
For starters, you need to know what it is you’re trying to avoid. Most costume jewelry is made from plastics or low-grade metals while higher-end stuff is procured through mining. Here’s the problem with these items. The plastics, as you may know, require both pollution and waste to create, in most cases. And then there is mining. Both precious metals and gemstones must be dug from the Earth and the process is often catastrophic. Holes are blasted, ruining the landscape and displacing native plants and animal. Then there is the actual mining, which causes further devastation through the use of toxic chemicals. And finally, there is the pollution and waste that is left behind for generations to come, seeping into the ground and the water supply.
So, you’ll clearly want to avoid anything made through these methods. Unfortunately, that’s a big chunk of what you’re going to find commercially. However, there are operations that are looking to change the way mining is done in order to lessen the impact to the environment. They not only use methods of mining that pollute less (or not at all); they also clean up their mess when they’re done. Further, most of these companies support fair trade (meaning their workers are paid to industry standards, rather than forced into labor or exploited with low wages). And some big names (Zales, QVC, and others) have committed to using these sources for jewelry. In addition, many companies that sell diamonds now use only stones that are certified conflict-free (no blood diamonds).
But there’s more. Many jewelers now use only recycled gems and metals to create new pieces, reducing the need for further mining of our finite resources. And there are plenty of companies making costume jewelry from eco-friendly materials like recycled wood, vinyl records (you’d be surprised by some of the cool cuffs and earrings they make), aluminum from cans, old game tiles, vintage silverware (spoons, forks), glass bottles, vintage buttons, and a whole host of other items you’d never think of using to create beautiful and unique jewelry for everyday use. You can find all sorts of interesting items on sites like Etsy, Uncommon Goods, Wired Resistance, and Go Green Items (among others).
Every day it’s becoming easier to find the eco-friendly jewelry that will help you to look and feel great. As more and more people continue to seek out and purchase these items, rather than those that add pollution and waste to the deal, the availability and variety of these accessories will continue to rise (while prices drop). So do your part to keep this movement alive and enjoy the many gorgeous creations that keep our Earth beautiful along the way.
About the Author
Sarah Danielson is a writer for Adiamor Engagement Ring where you can find a large selection of loose diamonds, wedding bands, and other fine diamond jewelry.