Jewelry is a key component of everyday style. Whether you like to keep it simple with a few classic pieces, enjoy stacking and layering, or go completely bold, it’s an addition that can easily uplift any outfit. It’s often said, ‘Diamonds are a woman’s best friend’, while the bling of this rare stone is still beautiful, the process of attaining these ‘treasures from nature’ is doing more harm than good. With the advent of sustainability and responsible shopping, the jewelry industry is spinning to set some sustainable standards and practices.
From the authentic quality and rich heritage, the luxury experience is evolving; brands must find what makes them unique such as using sustainable material, a high standard of design and craftsmanship, and delivering a service that exceeds expectations. People are searching for authentic, rare, and unique products and brands that are transparent and align with their personal values. “I think the consumers and their awareness has hugely evolved. The development of a more conscious and eco-friendly approach to consumption has allowed many upcoming brands and designers to explore new possibilities, solutions, and materials. Not only are these better adapted to our actual needs, but also cater to consumers’ diverse definitions of beauty and style.”, said founder and designer Domitila Barros of She Is from The Jungle.
What is Ethical Sourcing?
While there isn’t any specified definition for ethical sourcing, the term is used generally for taking accountability for ensuring that reputable suppliers provide all materials. The brands commit themselves to slow, conscious, made-to-order production, localizing their sourcing and manufacturing to leave a minimal footprint.
Swedish fine jewelry brand Annette Welander is a brand that takes responsibility for its handcraft and coming generations by working to the highest specifications of design and manufacture. They monitor the sustainable sourcing of precious metals we use, and we only work with known suppliers who share their ethos. “The precious metals themselves come from one of the largest, most influential Nordic distributors that collaborate with one of the most modern refineries in Germany, one of a very few refineries in the world that are certified by the LMBA in London. They are also the first refinery with a CO2 neutral refining process for gold through the use of state-of-the-art technology.”, said designer Annette Welander.
“Our products are produced in a fair-trade base and 10% of all profits go to the Street-child Project named CAMM”. added Domitila Barrons, “This project has existed for over 35 years in a slum called ‘Linda Do Tiro,’ located in the northeast of Brazil. Some of the mothers and young women living here are also involved in the brand. We believe that consumers can help empower disadvantaged communities by purchasing these ethically sourced goods in the international marketplace. For us, it is very important not only to provide sustainable incomes for the producer-communities but also to build a marketplace for purchasing ethically sourced products, therefore making an economic integration possible. We work with local artisans from Brazil, in order to contribute to the local economy.”
The brand has also started using alternatives like Golden Grass which comes from northern Brazil. It is a rare plant that has the appearance of spun gold and continues to shine even after it is harvested. It is robust, durable, and flexible enough to be woven into accessories. It is also very light in weight so that earrings that look like gold are virtually weightless, and it is a renewable resource.
Natural diamonds are finite and rare. It takes millions of years to grow a gem naturally, and natural stones with high clarity and excellent color can be scarce and extremely expensive. Lab-created diamonds can be an ethical alternative to their wild counterparts. They’re becoming famous worldwide because they’re not associated with mining and because they cost less than mine-origin diamonds. They also open up a new category for customers, especially among younger consumers concerned about environmental responsibility.
Annette Welander has also collaborated with Diamond Foundry Inc., The world’s first CarbonNeutral® diamond producer, thus offering both options to buyers. All Annette Welander jewelry comes with a certificate, and all pieces made in Stockholm originate in Sweden, and every part of jewelry has its origins and heritage in Sweden. As a global design house, Annette Welander passionately upholds the brand’s uniquely Swedish heritage at every touchpoint. The Swedish control mark is often referred to as the “Cat’s Paw”. The control mark indicates that an independent inspection body (assay office in Sweden) has assessed the amount of the article’s precious metal (fineness). Each jewel also features the Town Mark for Stockholm, the crowned head of the patron saint St. Erik, and the Fineness mark for 18K gold (750) that guarantees the purity of the metal.
Luxury Jewelry Brands and Sustainability
As sustainability, consciousness and responsible awareness take the front seat, brands worldwide have taken initiatives towards being environmentally safe. Our social and environmental impact, and the responsibilities that come with it, are something we seriously monitor.
“We source the paper of our packaging from responsibly managed forest, and it meets the highest quality and environmental standards. Its EU Ecolabel, FSC and PEFC™ certified. The paper is produced in Sweden by one of the most environmentally friendly paper mills in the world and is Cradle to Cradle Certified. The paper mill is the first paper mill in the world to have completed this certification.” explained Ms. Welander. “Cradle to Cradle Certified® is a globally recognized standard of safe and circular products.
By applying the Cradle-to-Cradle design principle, you are not only minimizing the negative influence on the environment – you are going beyond, to leave a positive footprint!” she continued further.
The Future of Fine Jewelry
“Young, creative and joyful. People are now more aware of what they are wearing, as well as what type of experience they want to be part of and contribute to. They want to know, feel, develop a position in terms of what they wear and stand for. It is not enough for the pieces to simply be pretty; it has to make you feel something and has to represent the individual’s values and beliefs.”, said Ms. Barros.
The shift is coming in the jewelry industry to reduce its environmental footprint, so sustainably made jewelry will see enormous growth. There is a growing demand among consumers to be able to make ethical choices. Improving supply chain transparency and sustainability will make it honest and start a dialogue about the future of fine jewelry and mining. The consumer of today wants a contemporary option without sacrificing luxury for sustainability.
| Main Image is jewelry by Domitila Barros