Best sustainable jewellery brands

·8-min read
 (Monica Vinader)
(Monica Vinader)

Jewellery hasn’t always had the reputation as the most sustainable sector.

At the high end, there’s the ethical worries about the source of the included diamonds, while at the lower end, the throwaway nature of pieces that turn your fingers, neck, ears or wrists green leaves the majority destined for landfills. But no longer.

In the same way as we’re leaning towards more eco and people-friendly practices in terms of our denim, subscription services, period products, and even our footwear, the same is true for our bling.

It may come as no surprise to learn that sales of these sparkling goods soared during lockdown. Instead of splashing out on holidays, people turned to their jewellery boxes to spark joy. The quantity of engagements no doubt played into this too as not only were relationships fast forwarded but we were forced to focus on what really matters. I can attest to spending more time than I should have trawling for and purchasing even more gold necklaces to layer up with my pyjama set of the day. But there was certainly a shift.

Buy less, buy better is not a new idea but a way of shopping that was taken up with aplomb by many looking to transform each aspects of their lives to be kinder to the planet and counteract the throwaway culture associated with fast fashion jewellery.

Yet being sustainable goes beyond just the choice of materials. While recycled and hard-wearing products built to stand the test of time are important, there’s the entire supply chain to consider; from the sourcing and manufacturing process, to the treatment of all those involved in the trade - something that is especially worth investigating in the jewellery industry.

If you have seen Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond, you will be aware of the sometimes controversial use of the money from the sale of diamonds, which has led to specifically labelled ‘conflict-free’ options. Going one step further, ethical diamonds refer to those mined with safe working conditions, fair pay, no abusing of human rights and practices that are environmentally sound. Lab-grown diamonds is another genre to be aware of which is where the stones are man made to be chemically identical to traditional diamonds with the same characteristics but are much more affordable and no mining is required.

Another thing to grow from lockdown is the quantity and visibility of smaller, independent labels, who over the years have become discoverable on social media. This means you no longer have to rely of the big gun established brands to find something sentimental or gift worthy.

Discover stylish sustainable jewellery brands below.

Brilliant Earth

Since its inception, Brilliant Earth has been on a mission to bring more transparency to the jewellery trade. The brand insists that quality and conscience should not be mutually exclusive - and so each diamond goes through a rigorous protocol before it ends up set into one of its glittering pieces. The trademarked Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds, natural diamonds, recycled gold, and recycled diamonds have verifiable ethical and environmentally-responsible origins, and the use of recycled precious metals cuts down on mining.

The San Francisco-born label plays host to those special occasion pieces to mark landmark moments in your life; engagement rings can be shopped by style, metal, diamond shape or you can build your own, while the wedding and anniversary collections comprise of platinum, yellow, white and rose gold rings for both men and women.

On top of classic diamonds, there’s gemstones that can be chosen to match birthstones or a colour preferences and, as well as rings, there’s earrings, necklaces, bracelets, or charms that you can layer onto an existing chain.

Buy now, Brilliant Earth

Taylor & Hart

Taylor & Hart is bringing the personal touch to your jewellery selection. When it comes to popping the question, the brand encourages you to work with them in order to create a bespoke ring that best represents your fiancé-to-be - without the high price tags typically associated with creating your own customised jewellery. The service is complimentary and you don’t need to commit to following through with the purchase until you are entirely convinced.

Alongside this, there is a range of styles with solitaire, pave, halo or trilogy designs using platinum, rose, yellow, or white gold. There are a variety of different stone shapes from hexagonal to cushion and inspired by vintage, Art Deco or contemporary designs.

Taylor & Hart opt for ethically sourced materials and has transparency throughout the process - from sourcing to manufacturing - by working directly with suppliers. The diamonds comply with the United Nations Kimberley Process that legitimises that they are conflict-free.

Buy now, Taylor & Hart

Monica Vinader

Monica Vinader has released multiple sustainability reports to give more accountability to its practices. The carbon neutral brand is already using entirely recycled gold vermeil and 100 per cent recycled sterling silver to cut down on carbon emissions, and has received the Butterfly Mark as its certification from Positive Luxury. This rarely achieved accreditation was awarded due to the label’s responsible sourcing, supply chain transparency and its philanthropy. The diamonds are ethical (and Kimberley Process approved). You will also receive a five year warranty, a lifetime repair service so you can keep it in tip top shape for longer and the packaging is all recyclable - no single-use plastic here.

The label shot to fame with its sophisticated take on friendship bracelets where engravable bars were set on coloured string. Over the years, it has evolved but still creates timeless and universally-appealing styles that were made to be gifted. The expansive collections include rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendant charms, pieces designed for men and even now homeware.

Buy now, Monica Vinader

Mejuri

If you haven’t heard of Toronto-born jewellery label Mejuri, you will have no doubt seen its designs as the brand is a favourite among the Duchess of Cambridge, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Lizzo, Oprah, Bella Hadid, Emily Blunt and Billie Eilish to name but a few.

Mejuri has redefined ‘fine jewellery’ with luxurious pieces that can be worn each and every day. Its delicate designs transcends trends and seasons to remain perennially chic.

The selection includes 14k gold rings, micro-pavé diamonds, and initial embellishments. Stack your finger up with the layerable dainty designs and swathe yourself with as many necklaces as you see fit.

The brand opts for mindful materials without sacrificing on quality. The diamonds are ethically sourced and the gold is certified recycled. All the manufacturers are vetted by the Responsible Jewellry Council.

Giving back, the label launched the Mejuri Empowerment Fund which supports higher education for underrepresented women and non-binary individuals.

Buy now, Mejuri

BAR Jewellery

Worn by Meghan Markle, Emma Watson and Jenna Coleman, BAR Jewellery is most instantly recognisable for its initial designs that take an abstract approach to the letters of the alphabet that are created with molten wax that is then cast in solid recycled silver. Whether you are wearing your own name or layering up the members of your family, the pieces are striking and sentimental at the same time.

With every new launch, the brand pays close attention to its environmental impact. Some of the jewellery is locally made in either the brand’s East London studio or a family-run business in the West of England. The complex hand-formed designs are made in factories in Bali or Thailand that give back to the local community with an emphasis on ethical standards. Fair wages, training and safe working conditions are all ensured and workers are recruited locally.

BAR Jewellery favours recycled materials over any newly mined materials, and more specifically recycled 925 sterling silver sourced in Europe from a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council. In the construction process, they opt for natural or biodegradable alternatives when it comes to the chemicals and the packaging is crafted from FSC-certified cardboard.

Buy now, BAR Jewellery

Lark & Berry

With its statement, sparkling fine jewellery creations, you wouldn’t know that Lark & Berry have only used lab grown diamonds since it was created. But even more so, these non-mined diamonds are grown using entirely renewable energy.

The brand has teamed up with Climeworks - a leader in direct air capture (DAC) technology - to remove 65kg of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with every £5,000 spent on diamonds.

From its piercing range to the engagement rings, Lark & Berry offers timeless pieces that are sculptural and take inspiration from nature. The glitz is set on silver, gold, and platinum.

Buy now, Lark & Berry

ByGlaze

Borne out of lockdown by a mother and daughter duo, ByGlaze has been a sell-out success since its launch where the first collection was gone in just 10 minutes. The influencer-favourite label has been donned by Jessica Skye, Tally Rye, Megan Williams and Cat Meffan who are no doubt fans of the brand’s timeless and minimalistic aesthetic. The everyday designs include square huggies, coral pendants, chunky chains and fine chokers.

All the pieces are sustainably and ethically produced where the brand opts for recycled sterling silver and responsibly sourced 18k gold plating.

Buy now, ByGlaze

With Love Darling

Storytelling and sustainability is With Love Darling’s raison d’être. The brand calls upon artisans around the world, in particular in less fortunate areas to encourage workers to learn skills and make a living in a responsible way without infringing on their human rights. The charms, for instance, are made in Jordan by Syrian refugees.

The designs are crafted from 18ct gold vermeil (18ct yellow gold micron plating on sterling silver) or sterling silver where the latter is nickel-free and rhodium plated.

These are pieces that will form the foundation of your jewellery layering with hoop earrings, huggies and serious necklace stacking potential.

Buy now, With Love Darling

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