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Ethical jewelry is beginning to be more recognized as people become more aware of some of the industry’s issues. But there is so much you need to know so you can be sure you are buying the right pieces from the right people, from understanding the supply chain to almost slave labor.
No Use of Conflict Materials
You may remember the ridiculous domains given as a gift to Naomi Campbel from Robert Mugabe. There was quite an uproar about this. You may ask why, and the reason is because this was a conflict, or “blood” diamond, acquired under the worst circumstances. Fortunately, you don’t need to even buy “natural” diamonds anymore. Click here to hear what people think about Clean Origin and their approach to lab diamonds of equal quality to natural diamonds.
The Supply Chain Can be Corrupted
There is a supply chain in every industry, and because of the many people involved, often some of the poorest or even greedy rich, it is open to corruption. Throughout a jewelry supply chain, raw materials are acquired, processed, and sold in different countries all along the chain. The chain often begins in the poorest places and ends in wealthier nations. For example, the diamond mines of Africa are being used to produce jewelry for the Europeans and Americans.
Ethical Jewelry Should Last
Jewelry born from ethics should also relate to the environmental concerns of the world too. Like other products, there is a lot of waste in jewelry, even at the consumer level. For instance, the average American household spends over $1,600 per year on jewelry, such as wedding rings. Yet surveys have found a lot of it is worn once and then discarded. If you want to stay ethical with your jewelry purchases, it will help to buy pieces that are of a higher quality and made to last.
Consider the Environmental Impact
As mentioned, there is an environmental concern when it comes to jewelry, and you must consider the impact the industry has on the world. If you are concerned about sustainability and related issues, then it can be hard to find jewelry that reconciles your personal beliefs. This is because the industry produces a lot of air pollution, water pollution, and loss of animal habitats. There are also poisonous materials used in jewelry manufacture, such as nickel and lead.
Abhorrent Labor in the Industry
The atrocious labor involved in the jewelry industry is pretty much well-known. Only the most reputable makers and dealers can track and trace their pieces and will tell you where they come from. Alongside massive environmental impacts, forced labor and human displacement are common in the procurement of some materials. There are even child slaves being used in many small-scale mining operations, such as Brazil, where they are trafficked from place to place.
You need to be aware of where some materials come from when sourcing ethical jewelry. You can also reduce your impact with quality pieces made to last. It helps to source jewelry from dealers and makers who can prove that their materials come from places with fair labor.