According to research, mining for only one carat of diamonds can lead to 250 tons of displacement on earth. And we mine around 148 million carats every year. The mines are so huge that they can be seen from space. Just imagine the number of carbon footprints diamond mines leave annually.
Similarly, other jewelry-making practices cause a huge impact on the environment, ecosystem, and earth. Then there is also the issue of unethical work practices, such as exploitation of workers, using child labor, and inhumane working conditions.
This has led to the rise in awareness of ethical jewelry-making practices, both from the business and consumer perspectives. If you, too, are looking for ethical jewelry-making practices, then you have come to the right place.
In this blog, we have covered all the ethical jewelry-making practices in 2022. But before that, let us have a quick overview of what exactly ethical jewelry is.
What Exactly Is Ethical Jewelry?
To put it in simple words, any jewelry that does not have any negative impact on the environment or on the people who create it is termed ethical jewelry. So, ethical jewelry means:
- Make use of synthetic diamonds in place of mined or natural diamonds to create diamond jewelry like wedding bands for women, wedding sets, proposal rings, etc.
- Make use of recycled materials like gemstones, diamonds, gold, and silver.
- Ensure fair remuneration or wages to the workers and fair working hours.
- Ban or not make use of child labor for the creation of jewelry.
- Not making use of the practices or processes that lead to environmental damage.
- Not making use of the techniques that pollute or corrupt the environment.
- Using the materials whose origin can be traced easily to ensure that the jewelry has been produced sustainably and ethically. For e.g., conflict-free diamonds or fair-trade materials.
Now that you have understood what ethical jewelry is, let’s take a look at some ethical jewelry-making practices.
Ethical Jewelry Making Practices
The jewelry industry has been largely associated with unethical practices. It is notoriously known to cause a huge negative impact on humans and the ecosystem. However, this is set to change with the rise in ethical jewelry-making practices. Let’s take a look at six major such practices.
1. Opting for Artificial Diamonds
Artificial diamonds mean lab grown diamonds. But what is a lab grown diamond exactly, you may ask. Lab grown diamonds are diamonds that are not real or natural. They are made by mimicking the conditions in which natural diamonds are made inside a laboratory. Hence, the name.
Artificial, synthetic, or lab grown diamonds are so much in trend these days as they are ethical and sustainable. For example, unlike real diamonds, they do not cause any impact on the environment. Moreover, there is no issue of unethical practices like forced and bonded labor or the profits being used for war and other destructive purposes.
Thus, switching from mining natural diamonds to creating artificial diamonds inside a lab is one of the simplest and easiest methods to ensure ethical jewelry making.
2. Using Recycled Jewelry
There is already a huge amount of gold, silver, and other metals already in circulation. Thus, instead of mining new metals, you can easily recycle the available ones to make new jewelry.
The recycled metals have the same quality as the newly mined ones. They are also traded at almost the same rate as new metals.
Thus, you can opt for recycling old gold, silver, and other metals to make new jewelry. This helps eliminate the environmental impact involved in mining new metals, such as global warming, ecotoxicity, and others.
Alternatively, you can also use vintage materials like family heirloom gemstones and diamonds to create new jewelry designs.
3. Avoiding Toxic Washes and Polish
Most businesses involved in jewelry making use hazardous chemicals like cyanide in various forms to clean and polish their jewelry. This can cause cyanide poisoning, which can lead to severe health effects on the workers.
Thus, to ensure workers’ safety, you should avoid using such hazardous materials. Instead, you can opt for eco-friendly, non-toxic ways to clean your old jewelry. These methods will not only ensure worker health and safety but also have little to no impact on the environment.
4. Ensuring Fair Production Practices
One of the biggest issues in the jewelry industry is the exploitation of workers involved. For example, diamond mining in Africa involves child labor. Moreover, the workers aren’t compensated fairly for their work. There are various other employee issues involved in various jewelry-making processes that violate basic human rights.
Thus, to ensure ethical jewelry production, you must follow fair production practices. This includes reasonable working hours (8 hours a day), providing fair hourly compensation, and giving paid leaves and vacations to employees.
5. Disposing Waste Ethically
Jewelry production leads to a huge amount of waste products that can cause a severe impact on the environment if not disposed of properly.
For example, jewelry manufacturers dump the plaster used in the production process directly into the water and sewage system. This can lead to water and air pollution.
Thus, to ensure minimum impact on the environment, make sure you follow the right procedures to dispose of the waste products ethically.
You can also follow recycling, upcycling, or other environmentally-sound procedures to eliminate the waste as ethically as possible.
6. Providing Eco-Friendly Packaging
The final step in ensuring the jewelry is ethical and eco-friendly is using sustainable packaging materials.
Generally, jewelry packaging materials are made up of plastic, which is non-biodegradable and causes a huge negative impact on the environment.
You can replace plastic with bio-degradable, eco-friendly, and recyclable materials like paper. You can also use compostable boxes and biodegradable algae ink.
These were some of the simple ethical jewelry-making practices in 2022. We hope that you will follow them diligently to ensure a minimum negative impact on the workers as well as the environment.
Remember, there’s always a way to do better. We have just demonstrated how. You just need to put the tips mentioned here into practice to ensure a clean, green, and blood-free jewelry production.