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10 Sustainable & Ethical Jewelry Brands

February 05, 2021

10 Sustainable & Ethical Jewelry Brands

When I first started my sustainable jewelry journey back in 2017, I remember it was so hard to find other jewelers who were using eco-friendly materials. It is such a confusing industry with no set eco standard or certification systems. When researching materials to design with, I was horrified to learn how gold mining massively pollutes the planet and poisons miners' communities, and also how gemstone mining wipes out eco-systems and frequently fuels genocides. How can something so beautiful be so toxic for our world? I knew there had to be a better way. I dreamed of a future where consumers and designers could reclaim these beautiful precious materials and turn them into an active source for good.

Luckily I was not alone in that dream and there are more and more jewelry designers making sustainability their top priority. With groups like Ethical Metalsmiths connecting jewelers with sustainable sourcing and business mentorship, it is becoming easier for indie jewelry designers to work with eco-friendly precious metals and ethical gemstones.

I have rounded up the top jewelry designers today leading the charge with sustainability. These brands focus on responsibly sourced materials, ethical labor, and utilize eco-friendly studio practices to create beautiful sustainable jewelry.


1.  WWAKE

The cult favorite brand WWAKE features timeless pieces of jewelry ranging from a minimal opal pendant to their bold monolith collection. Sustainability comes first at WWAKE. This American based brand only uses recycled gold and works directly with gemstone miners to ensure traceable gemstones and safe and sustainable operations. 


2. Melissa Joy Manning 

Melissa Joy Manning was one of the first sustainable jewelry brands in the industry and we owe it to her for helping to forge a path and create the eco jewelry category. Melissa Joy Manning sources a rainbow palette of gemstones for her pieces and is known for everyday understated designs. The collection features a unique selection of jewelry ranging from everyday turquoise hug hoops to sustainable wedding rings for a bride to be. Your conscience can be clear, shopping with MJM because Melissa has strict environmental standards for her materials. All stones are traced to ensure they are ethical. Her studio is also green certified.


3. Gardens of The Sun

Gardens of The Sun’s goal is to be as transparent and as traceable as possible. Their collection features a wide range of designs and ethical gemstones. On a budget? Gardens of The Sun carries gorgeous options for under $50. The brand sources their materials from sustainable gold and diamond miners in areas like Borneo and Bali. Meri, who founded the brand, draws on her experience from being a  sustainability consultant to create beautiful pieces that make a positive environmental impact. 

 

4. Valley Rose 

Sustainable, ethical, traceable materials are the number one priority for my line Valley Rose. We use 100% fairmined gold for all of the gold casted components and necklace chains. The remaining gold, like earring posts and backs are certified recycled. Our collection features a wide range of traceable and ethical gemstones including Montana sapphires, certified recycled diamonds, Canadian diamonds, and lab grown diamonds. In addition to sourcing sustainable and ethical materials, we frequently participate in charity auctions, have a carbon offset program, and use compostable and recycled packaging. Plus just to ensure our work is leaving this world a better place every purchase at Valley Rose plants 1 tree (or more!)  through One Tree Planted.  


5. Tura Sugden 

If you have your heart set on a classy and timeless jewelry, Tura Sugden’s collection is for you. This sustainable collection features simple and elegant pieces like these blue spinel earrings wrapped in recycled gold. The whole collection is dedicated to ethical materials like recycled and fairmined gold. Tura is also green business certified and implements eco-friendly studio practices to reduce carbon emissions. 


6. Bario Neal 

Bario Neal is a well known name in sustainable jewelry. This iconic collection features a wide range of sustainable statement pieces like the one of a kind eaves cluster ruby and diamond fairmined gold ring and special occasion pieces like the burst cluster diamond ring. All of their materials are sustainable and ethical like their diamonds that are sourced from a fully traceable supply chain, from mine to market. Other eco materials include reclaimed recycled metals, fairmined metals, and traceable stones. 


7. Thesis Gems 

Thesis Gems features a collection of one of a kind conflict-free pieces. The pieces are crafted with fairmined or recycled gold. The collection of colorful gemstones and other materials are sourced from sustainable mines in Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Canada. When you purchase a piece of emerald jewelry, Thesis Gems donates a portion of that purchase to Better Without Mercury, a fundraising campaign to remove mercury contamination from an artisanal gold mine in Colombia. 


8. Jennifer Dawes 

Step into a world of modern artistry and sustainable designs. The Jennifer Dawes collection features everyday pieces like this clover emerald cut moonstone necklace and alternative special occasion pieces like the rock candy cushion opaque diamond ring . The designs bring together Jennifer’s love of ancient civilizations and modern times. The collection offers classic, alternative, and bohemian special occasion styles. All materials are ethical and including recycled metals and traceable stones. This green jewelry studio makes sustainability and transparency a number one priority. 


9. Luana Coonen 

Luana's whimsical collection is inspired by mother nature and features recycled metals, sustainable stones and found objects like butterfly wings and naturally molted snakeskin. A fellow local Sonoma County designer, we adore her one-of-a-kind pieces like the morpho encasement earrings that turn nature into timeless works of art. Luana is committed to using traceable materials and ethical practices and her earthy collection honors mother earth inside and out. 


10. J. Hannah

J. Hannah's collection is filled with sustainable elegance. Minimal pieces like the baby pendant are made with recycled metals certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council and SCS Global Services. Classic pieces like the Objet pendant feature conflict free stones. The brand is fully transparent about where their sustainable materials come from. J. Hannah works with mines that not only have sustainable practices but have fair work conditions.  All diamonds are 100% recycled, gemstones are ethically sourced and cut. The brand also reuses all water in the refining process and wax in the molding and casting process. 


Shopping with sustainable and eco-friendly jewelry brands is so important now more than ever. The more awareness and support we give this jewelry category the more mainstream it will be, and in turn contribute to a more equitable future for all. Eco-jewelry doesn't have to be boring, as you can see from this list there is a wide range of styles that fit just about everyones taste so you don't have to sacrifice your personal taste or the planet. Of course there are many more jewelry brands out there now embracing the sustainability movement, but I just couldn't fit them all into one little blog post. Maybe that is for another post in the near future. Anyways thank you for reading until the end and shoot me an email if you have any questions about shopping for eco and sustainable jewelry: help@valleyrosestudio.com

 


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Sizing & Care

Ring Sizing Guide

Print and download this chart to find your ring size. Make sure you use exactly 8.5"x11" letter paper. You can use a string or a piece of paper and wrap around your finger or nuckle to measure the circumference and match to your size.

Brilliant Earth Ring Sizing Guide ↠

 

Necklace Sizing Guide

Follow this chart to see where the necklace will fall. All necklace sizes are described on the product pages. We suggest getting a piece of string and measuring necklace on your neck to ensure best fit. 

 

Special Care Instructions

To keep your jewels looking their best please keep these tips in mind to extend the life of your pieces.