We’ve talked about fast-fashion, how/why you should avoid it, and how to shop sustainably for clothes on our blog a few times, so hopefully you have a better understanding of how the clothing you wear may be impacting the environment. While these negative consequences have been exposed by the media in recent years, many of us don’t consider how our accessories (jewelry, in particular) may have a similar effect. Sustainable jewelry is an overlooked topic and many people don’t think about how our jewelry is made.
If you’re considering gifting jewelry for Valentine’s Day, continue reading to find out how you can be sustainable with your gifting.
How Does Jewelry Production Harm the Environment?
Not only is there an environmental impact associated with jewelry production, but the jewelry business is also depleting our world’s gold and silver supply. We only have a finite amount of these lusted-after metals on our planet, and their uses extend far beyond enhancing our styles.
A large portion of jewelry requires precious metals, such as silver and gold, which are found through mining. The process of mining for gold and silver leads to soil contamination, erosion, and loss of biodiversity.
There’s not just the direct impact on the land and ecosystems encompassing the mine; there is also a continuous effect on the air, which is just as harmful to us as it is to the environment. A significant amount of air pollution caused by the jewelry industry can be attributed to the process of separating metal from impurities to create jewelry, this process is called “smelting.” Smelting is said to emit an estimated 142 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere every year, which is equivalent to 13% of global emissions. Let’s not forget about the carbon footprint of heavy machinery utilized in jewelry production.
How to Ensure Your Jewelry Choices are Eco-Conscious
With the possibility of sustainable jewelry, there are a handful of options for you to choose from if you want to give jewelry as a gift this Valentine’s Day that is more earth-friendly.
1. Purchase Recycled Jewelry
Today, several manufacturers have transitioned to recycled metals by enhancing second-hand jewelry to create a unique piece or by melting second-hand jewelry down into an entirely new piece. By opting for recycled jewelry, you can help lower the demand for newly mined gold and silver. Check out Conscious Fashion to check out some of the brands creating beautiful jewelry out of recycled or repurposed materials.
2. Purchase Jewelry Second-Hand
If you want to give a true, one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry, then this is your best option. It is increasingly difficult to find a piece that is unique from a traditional chain jewelry store. You can often find similar pieces purchased by other individuals from the same (or a similar) jewelry brand. Instead, vintage jewelry shops become a better option since they recycle valuable resources and don’t necessitate the mining of new metals.
3. Make Your Jewelry Gift
Another great way you can recycle precious resources/metals and give a truly unique present is to make your jewelry. If you have old family-pieces, such as a ring, you can take them to get melted down and made into something perfect for your significant other.
It’s important to recognize the negative environmental implications caused by jewelry production, we hope that you feel inspired to think twice before you head to a traditional jewelry chain store to pick up a Valentine’s Day gift this year.
These are a few ways that you can be a more eco-conscious shopper and help create a more sustainable planet. Remember to stay tuned to our blog to learn more about other ways you can show your appreciation for the environment, not just on Valentine’s Day, but all year long!