Ethical jewelry refers to jewelry pieces that are created by taking into consideration their impact on the environment and certain communities. Some people also call it sustainable jewelry and, even though these terms are not synonyms, in this case, they are very similar. In other words, when buying ethical jewelry, you can rest assured that your passion for luxury & unique pieces doesn’t impact the environment in a negative way. So, if you are looking to understand how to buy sustainable jewelry or why sustainability is important, read further.

How to recognize ethical jewelry

The first condition for a jewelry piece to be ethical is to have traceable origins. If, for example, you are buying a diamond pendant necklace, you need to know where both the gold and the diamond come from. This way you can make an informed choice. If the seller doesn’t conceal information about where the materials from the jewelry pieces came from, then you are able to trace them.

You may be aware of the recent scandals in the last years with certain clothing and electronics brands using child labor in developing countries to manufacture their products. In the jewelry world, this can also be the case with certain brands. You are buying a pair of pearl earrings, for example, but, if it’s not ethical jewelry, then you may be indirectly condoning child labor. However, if you know where the pearls come from, then this changes. When the materials that go into a jewelry piece are traceable, you are buying ethical jewelry.

Another important aspect of ethical jewelry is sustainability. We said in the beginning that these two terms are almost synonyms. Almost. Gold and diamond mining, for example, damage the environment. And the resources are limited. A sustainable jewelry piece is, usually, a piece created using recycled gold, lab-grown diamonds, etc.

So if you are to buy ethical jewelry, then make sure that the piece you are buying uses sustainable and traceable materials.

Are there ethical diamonds?

The short answer is no. As recent history has proven, there is a lot at stake with diamonds because of their worth. This leads to human rights abuse, conflict, and even war. As awareness about the problems associated with diamonds grew, more and more brands started to advertise the fact that they sell ethical diamonds. However, as it has been proved, it is almost impossible to trace the origin of a diamond. So, when we are talking about ethical jewelry, there is no such thing as a diamond that is ethical.

The exception to this rule are lab-grown diamonds. They have the same qualities are mined diamonds, but they are, indeed, ethical. With lab-grown diamonds, you get the same chemical composition, brilliance, and hardness, but without conflict and human rights abuse. We’d say that is a pretty good deal, isn’t it?

What about ethical gold jewelry?

The mining industry for gold can be very damaging. This is why ethical gold jewelry only exists when the jewelry piece is made of recycled gold. But let’s get back to the process of mining. If the gold ore is at the Earth’s surface, then the miners will drill holes and fill them with explosives. After that, they will detonate the explosives and break up the ground.

The process gets even worse if the gold ore is located beneath the Earth’s surface. It still involves explosives, but deep underneath the Earth’s surface causing a lot of damage. And it doesn’t stop here.

Once the gold-bearing rock is removed from the Earth, a gold mining company needs to isolate the pure gold from the rock. In order to do that, the rocks are ground and, eventually, reduced to powder. People mix that powder with water until they have pulp. That pulp goes through leaching tanks afterward so that the gold gets separated from the other materials. The big problem here is that this separation can only take place with the help of a solvent. And that solvent is usually cyanide.

In other words, the big issue with gold mining is that it scars the Earth and it poisons the water. This is why ethical gold jewelry can only contain recycled gold. Perhaps, in the future, humanity will be able to discover a gold mining method that is not toxic to the environment. But, even so, the question remains – how much gold does the Earth have?

solid gold hoops

Why should you buy sustainable jewelry?

Buying ethical jewelry should be a must for anybody who is concerned about the environment. Real change can only happen with people use the power of example. If you are thinking that a single diamond or a 5 grams gold earrings wouldn’t change anything, you are wrong. As you are buying ethical jewelry and letting people know about it, you are setting an example.

That single dirty diamond that you don’t buy transforms into other 10 dirty diamonds that your friends won’t buy. And, if they are also using the power of example, 100 dirty diamonds won’t be bought. This way, in a couple of years we could eliminate human rights abuse and conflict caused by diamond mining.

Ethical jewelry may sound idealistic, but it is very easy to adhere to these standards, in fact. There is no design and quality difference between non-ethical and ethical jewelry pieces. In fact, lab-grown diamonds, for example, can be less expensive than mined diamonds.

It literary doesn’t cost a thing to switch to ethical jewelry. But it means the world to our environment and certain communities. We get that, sometimes, people are not comfortable with the sacrifices they need to make for sustainability. But the beauty of ethical jewelry is that no sacrifice is involved. You still get to buy beautiful & unique jewelry, you still get to enjoy wearing it. And, in fact, you get to enjoy it, even more, when you know that no child was abused and no water was poisoned for your jewelry piece.

Ana Luisa’s Ethical Jewelry Promise

At Ana Luisa, we are very concerned about the environment. It’s in our DNA. We are a young jewelry brand, which means that it is easier for us to have ethical jewelry. This is why we don’t need to change our ways. We were born with the right ways when it comes to sustainable jewelry.

This is why all our diamonds are lab-grown. Our diamond jewelry is exquisite and it uses the only clean diamond form – the lab-grown ones. They are also traceable, brilliant and will last forever.

We also use 100% recycled gold in our jewelry pieces. We love gold, but we are aware that there is a limited amount of it in the world. This is why we breathe new life into old pieces and transform them into unique & stunning ethical jewelry.

For our gold-dipped jewelry pieces, the gold plating is done in-house. This way we can control the process and guarantee not only its quality but also that it meets the ethical standards.

sister gifts

We strongly believe that ethical jewelry is not a trend. It is a necessity. And we are using the power of example to show jewelry brands around the world that it can be done. You can have both stunning & ethical jewelry pieces. Check out our online jewelry shop to discover our beautiful & sustainable jewelry.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.