Bridal Bling: Top Ten Ways to Support Ethical Jewelry

Posted by Azure on October 27th, 2009
Special to OneWed by Brilliant Earth

Long after your big day has passed, your engagement ring, wedding bands, and other wedding jewelry will remain a beautiful reminder of your shared past, your values, and your dreams for the future. With so many brilliant options for ethical jewelry, there’s no reason to compromise style or quality on your special day. Keep the glamour, lose the guilt! Here are a few tips on how to do it: 1. Look for ethical origin diamonds

The first step is finding a responsible diamond retailer. Your jeweler should show you an official printed form or website description of the company’s conflict free policy. A copy of the Kimberley Process is not sufficient. Keep in mind that the Kimberley Process only addresses the narrow UN definition of conflict diamonds, and does not address other human rights abuses. Look for a jeweler that offers diamonds that are mined without violence, human rights abuses, child labor, or environmental destruction. 2. Look for jewelry made from recycled metals

Start a new earth-friendly wedding tradition and choose wedding bands made from recycled gold or platinum. New metal mining is incredibly damaging to the environment and typically generates huge quantities of chemical waste. Remember, reclaimed gold and platinum can be recycled repeatedly and still look as good as new, so you can help conserve the earth’s resources without sacrificing an ounce of shine! 3. Look for ethical origin sapphires

For your “something blue” consider ethical origin sapphires, which add unique radiance to your wedding accessories while representing a priceless commitment to the earth. Look for ethical origin sapphires from Australian, Malawi, and Sri Lankan mines which maintain rigorous environmental and labor protection standards. 4. Look for ethical origin colored gemstones

With all eyes on you, it’s the perfect time to show your true colors and your dedication to the environment with beautiful colored gemstones of ethical origin. Opt for glowing emeralds, dazzling garnets and bright citrines from regions that practice low impact mining which eliminates the need for harsh chemicals and minimizes ground waste. 5. Look for an alternative to coral

Planning a seaside wedding? We love the idea - just keep your hands off the coral! Countless species of marine life depend on coral for their survival. Look for fine jewelry made from recycled metals and ethical origin gemstones instead of coral. 6. Look for eco-friendly pearls

If you opt for the classic sophistication of pearls, make sure that you’re a bride in the know. Conventional pearls come from mollusks that are often overharvested, a process that damages marine ecosystems. Keep the unique pearl-producing oysters from becoming extinct, and insist on an earth-friendly Sea of Cortez Pearl instead. 7. Look for fair trade gold

Unfortunately, a lot of what glitters is “dirty gold” mined with inhumane labor conditions and environmentally destructive methods. Look for gold jewelry made from one of the first truly fair trade sources of gold from Oro Verde. This gold is responsibly harvested from cooperatives in the Chocó region in Colombia, South America. In addition to paying a fair wage, the fair trade gold cooperatives ensure the use of sustainable environmental practices, restore ecosystems damaged by other mining companies, and promote the well-being of the local community. 8. Support companies that give back

Take a stand against unethical jewelry production by supporting jewelry companies and global nonprofits that give back to communities that are affected by the jewelry industry. A few of the causes Brilliant Earth is proud to contribute to: Diamond Development Initiative’s (DDI) MedShare International One Sky Conservation Society of Sierra Leone 9. Be your own hero!

After you’ve made the choice to support ethical origin jewelry, get involved! Sign petitions to support small mining communities and to pass laws strengthening environmental protection in the jewelry industry. Contact your representatives in Congress to ensure that they take a proactive role in monitoring the precious gem industry. Donate directly to causes that inspire you! 10. Bring it home!

Once you’ve selected the perfect ethical origin jewels for your wedding, don’t stop there! Make an ongoing pledge to raise awareness about the hazards of unethical jewelry production in your social circle. Gift your wedding party pendants with ethically sourced metals and gemstones. Encourage your friends and family to only purchase fine jewelry made with ethical practices. Together, we can make a difference in the jewelry industry..
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