Many people think of two types of jewelry: fine jewelry and costume jewelry. The former is made from precious materials like diamonds and gold. The latter is a more affordable design meant to accompany fashionable looks.
Here at One Savvy Mother, we have a problem with those categories. We’d rather look at it as ethical jewelry and unethical jewelry. Here’s why:
How is Fine Jewelry Unethical?
For the most part, the materials used in fine jewelry are natural. The problem comes with their extraction. Both gold mining and diamond mining subject workers to extremely dangerous conditions, pay extremely low wages and are often sites of child labor. Gold mining is environmentally devastating: it creates toxic materials and destroys natural habitats such as the Amazon.
How is Costume Jewelry Unethical?
Costume jewelry didn’t begin unethically: back in the 18th century, jewelers started using glass as a way to make stylish designs more affordable. Coco Chanel adorned her dresses with faux pearls and classic movie stars wore opulent neckwear.
But the problem started when costume jewelry became disposable. Something to be bought cheaply, worn as a fleeting trend and thrown away. In the mid-19th century, costume jewelry designers struggled between preserving their art and taking advantage of mass production. Today, quite a bit of costume jewelry is produced using unfair labor conditions and with synthetic materials.
So What is Ethical Jewelry?
A lot of elements go into making jewelry ethical and sustainable. At One Savvy Mother, we consider ethical sourcing of jewelry to be a number one priority. Here are some things we look out for:
- Handmade Production – Jewelry made by hand promotes artisanal production methods and traditions.
- Sustainable Materials – Natural and recycled materials from renewable sources can be as beautiful as any precious gems.
- Trade Not Aid – Find jewelry made by ethical businesses such as women’s cooperatives that provide worker’s with fair treatment, wages and opportunities.
- Timeless Design – Opt out of trendy styles that will go away with the seasons. Opt into pieces you’ll get long-term wear out of. Shop Ethical Jewelry
Learn More About How We Look for Ethical Jewelry With Our Sourcing Policy
This blog was written by Maggie Schafer