What is Eco-Friendly Jewellery
Many of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery come with a big price for the environment and local population. Mining for precious metals and gemstones has a devastating impact on the environment because it involves both wildlife habitat destruction and severe pollution, similar to that caused by mining for oil, coal and natural gas. To make matters worse, most of the mining takes place in the developing countries that don’t have the capacities to control the extracting companies.
The local population living near the mines is often compelled to work in impossible conditions for a miserable wage that doesn’t allow them to live a decent life but rather further aggravates their poverty. In addition, many are caught in a vicious cycle of violence as the very same diamonds they mine are used to finance the insurgents or warlords (therefore the term blood diamonds).
Due to the above mentioned reasons, a growing number of environmentally and socially conscious people are choosing eco-friendly jewellery which can be defined as such only if it is made:
From precious metals and gemstones from mines that meet the environmental standards. Negative impact of mining for new gold, silver, diamonds, rubies and other popular jewellery materials cannot be avoided completely. But there are ways to limit pollution and damage to the local ecosystems, and many extractors are putting a lot of effort into reducing their impact on the environment as well as improving the working conditions in the mines for their workers.
From precious metals and gemstones from non-conflict areas. Ideally, they should also come with a certificate that they are fairly traded which proves that the workers in the mines are fairly paid for their work.
With the use of environmentally friendly techniques. Jewellery can be defined as eco-friendly only if it involves environmental responsibility from the mining of the ore to the end product.
From cultured rather than natural pearls. Cultured pearls are much more environmentally friendly than the natural ones as their harvesting can cause a serious damage to the marine life. They aren’t any different from those taken from the natural environment. In addition, they are a lot less expensive because pearl farming dramatically increased the supply of pearls.
Without precious corals. Corals are under a lot of stress throughout the world due to pollution, overfishing, infrastructural project and sea temperature rise that is a consequence of the climate change. In year 1998, as many as 16% of the world’s coral reefs died due to increased sea temperature. Eco-friendly jewellery therefore mustn’t contain any corals.
From reclaimed precious metals or/and gemstones. In this case, it involves reuse of already extracted precious metals or/and gemstones to make just as exquisite pieces of jewellery as they would be made from newly mined materials.