Ethical jewellery: the brands to have on your radar

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  • The movement towards investing more in ethical fashion is gaining momentum, whether that’s consumers being more conscious of what they buy, or designers changing the way the create clothes – or jewellery.

    While it is always tempting to impulse buy affordable trend-led pieces, they can be a false economy. For starters, you might fall out of love with them in a season, but you also don’t always know where they’ve come from.

    Do you know how your jewellery is made, or where it’s sourced from – especially when it comes to diamonds? Exactly. So if you want to change the way you shop and invest in some pieces that will last and won’t make you feel guilty, you’ve come to the right place.

    Scroll down for some pointers and to shop the ethical jewellery brands we love. And make sure to check out our other guides too, if you’re looking to make your existing jewellery more ethical, or want to create an ethical engagement ring.

    What is ethical jewellery?

    In a nutshell, it’s jewellery that has no negative impact on the people who make it, or the environment they’re produced in. That can mean:

    • Using materials you can trace back to the source, to ensure they’ve been produced in an ethical way, eg, fair trade materials and conflict-free diamonds
    • Using recycled materials such as gemstones
    • Using synthetic diamonds
    • Not using child labour and ensuring fair wages and working hours
    • Not using practices that pollute or impact the environment in a negative way

    What are ethical diamonds?

    Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2006 Blood Diamonds really shed light on the issue of conflict diamonds, also called blood diamonds, as they’re mined in areas controlled by rebels, who then use the money to buy weapons or finance war activities.

    So to avoid buying any conflict diamonds, you want to be able to trace their origin. Nowadays, it’s possible to buy synthetically farmed diamonds (and the quality is equally good), or buy diamonds from a jeweller who adheres to the Kimberley Process, which ensures that exported diamonds are conflict-free.

    You can also go down the antique route as you’re effectively recycling an older diamond.

    Lab-grown diamonds

    More and more jewellery brands are venturing into the lab-grown or lab-created diamond business. Pandora recently launched its first collection, whilst brands such as Lark & Berry, Leo & Lumi and Kimai all focus on creating jewellery with man-made diamonds.

    There is still some confusion around the process, with many people unsure as to whether lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds. The short answer is yes. In fact, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, as the quality is the same: think carat, cut, colour and clarity. They are created in a rough uncut form, and then cut and polished into shape, much like a mined diamond. More importantly, there is no doubt they are ethically and sustainably sourced.

    Lab-grown diamonds also tend to be a little cheaper than mined diamonds, as you are cutting out the mining process and there is less of a mark-up.

    Ethical jewellery brands

    Want to know where to shop some beautiful ethical jewellery brands? From Alighieri to Roxanne First, Wald to Vashi, scroll down to treat yourself to some of our favourite pieces, from diamond earrings to gold necklaces.

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