Everything You Need to Know About Sustainable Jewelry | Nobles Metales
So what exactly is sustainable jewelry?
In a nutshell, sustainable jewelry is jewelry that’s been produced responsibly. We get it, that’s a very broad statement, but there are many ways that a jewelry brand can be sustainable. Here are three ways conscious jewelry can approach sustainability!
- Ethical sourcing of materials
- Repurposing old jewelry
- Reducing overproduction and consumption
Ethical Sourcing of Materials
One of the main sustainability concerns plaguing the jewelry industry is the lack of transparency and complex supply chains. Typically, you’ll buy a piece of jewelry without ever questioning where the metal or stones came from. From exploration to mining, sorting, cutting, polishing and then finally jewelry creation, the incredibly complex process means that from mine to market there is ample opportunity for unethical practices.
Mining alone can have devastating effects on both people and the environment. Air pollution, water waste, ecosystem damage/loss, greenhouse gas emissions, dangerous materials, human displacement, and child labor are all very real impacts of mining.
As the ethical impacts of mining are becoming more well-known, consumers are beginning to care more about the effect they have on the world! But, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice style. Sustainable jewelry is beautiful and ethical, a win-win for everyone! By leveraging modern technologies, sustainable jewelry, also known as eco-friendly jewelry, utilizes lab-grown gemstones and repurposed metals to reduce their environmental impact.
But what about Greenwashing?
Yes, greenwashing is definitely an issue across all industries. As consumers become more aware of their environmental impact, unfortunately, it’s inevitable that some “sustainable jewelry brands” will talk the talk, without walking the walk.
Our advice: Choose an independent jeweler! At Nobles Metales, we’re privately owned and operated and we guarantee that all the metals we use are either recycled or purchased from sources that guarantee their products are sourced from industries other than mining.
Repurposing Old Jewelry
Now this is what we’re truly passionate about at Nobles Metales!
At Nobles, we repurpose old jewelry by taking your old piece(s) of jewelry, unsetting the gemstones, melting down the metal, and re-casting and re-setting everything into your newly designed custom jewelry piece. We can even add more metal or source additional gemstones if need be, but what is great about this upcycled jewelry process is that it uses materials that are already out there in the world!
There are many ways you can approach repurposing old jewelry. If your sole desire is to be more sustainable in your jewelry consumption, thrifting jewelry is a great option! For starters, a lot of older pieces of jewelry are made with high-quality materials like 18K gold and genuine natural gemstones. And, the beauty of this method is that you can usually pick these pieces up for a steal! Where someone else might see a dated piece of jewelry that isn’t worth a whole lot, we see an opportunity to repurpose it and design a custom sustainable jewelry piece.
The second and perhaps more significant way people choose to approach repurposing jewelry is through gathering pieces from their own personal collections. These could be heirloom pieces, jewelry that was gifted to you by an ex, or pieces that simply no longer align with your personal style. While the traditional method would say that you should sell your gold for cash, the truth is that this doesn’t prove to be as lucrative as you might think. Repurposing old jewelry allows you to maintain the sentiment the piece holds while turning it into a new and beautiful piece of sustainable jewelry that you’ll actually love to wear. After all, the most sustainable jewelry is the jewelry you actually wear!
Reducing Overproduction and Consumption
While unethical sourcing of materials is one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of the jewelry industry, this one is definitely a runner-up. It’s no secret that the jewelry market is oversaturated by trend-driven jewelry brands that appeal to the cost-conscious consumer. Not only that, but the fast fashion influence has trickled its way into the world of jewelry. At present, the market is overwhelmed by gold-plated jewelry pieces. If you know, you know… we won’t mention any names. ;)
However, while these gold-plated jewelry pieces might seem like an economical solution for the cost-conscious consumer, the fact is that they aren’t designed to last! Eventually, the gold on these pieces will wear off or chip away. Herein lies the issue of both overproduction and overconsumption.
So, how do we overcome these issues and endorse sustainable jewelry practices?
By shopping for jewelry pieces that are made with genuine materials like 14K,18K, 22K, and 24K yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum, and even silver. Real metals are made to last a lifetime! Yes, they’ll inevitably be more expensive than the cheaper materials that costume jewelry designers use, but your cost per wear will be far less! By investing in pieces that will last a lifetime and have the ability to be passed down, you’re inadvertently investing in sustainable jewelry.
Our advice: Steer clear of the big brand names. It’s no secret that when you purchase jewelry from a brand, you’re paying in large part for the name. If your primary goal is to get your hands on a piece of sustainable jewelry that's high-quality and fairly priced, seek out an independent jeweler like us here at Nobles Metales!
That was a lot! To recap, sustainable jewelry considers the environmental and social impacts of bringing a piece of jewelry from mine to market. And, while there is a lot of room for unethical practices, there is also a lot of opportunity to shop sustainability and leverage today’s current supply of both metals and gemstones. From ensuring the jewelry you buy is made with materials that have been sourced with transparency and sustainability to repurposing old jewelry pieces, and even investing in high-quality pieces that maximize your wear to reduce both overproduction and consumption, there are many ways jewelers and consumers can have a meaningful impact on the planet while still getting to enjoy the beauty of jewelry!