young couple looking at handmade ethical jewelryJewelry is more than a decoration for your ears, neck, or fingers — it’s a reflection of your personal style and taste. For some, it’s an important part of their cultural identity. Whatever the reason you choose to wear jewelry, it should make you feel good — not just with how you look, but about where it comes from and how it was made.

Adding this question into your jewelry experience means choosing to be a more ethical shopper, which in turn can have a positive impact. But what is ethical jewelry? Is it eco-friendly? Sustainable? What does that even mean? Here is a quick guide to help you make more informed choices about the pieces you wear and love.

What is Ethical Jewelry?

Ethical jewelry is jewelry that has been produced in a way that does not exploit people or damage the environment. This includes everything from the mining of metals and stones to the manufacturing and finishing of the piece.

There are many ethical concerns in the jewelry industry, but some of the most common are:

  • The exploitation of miners, often in developing countries, who work in dangerous conditions for very little pay.
  • The use of conflict minerals, such as gold from artisanal mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which funds war and violence.
  • The use of toxic chemicals in the production process, which can pollute local water supplies.
  • The waste produced by mining and manufacturing, which can damage ecosystems.

According to Human Rights Watch, “an estimated one million—and possibly many more—children work globally in artisanal and small-scale mining, in violation of international human rights law, which defines work underground, underwater, or with dangerous substances as hazardous and, therefore, among the worst forms of child labor and prohibited for children.”

This is why ethical jewelry is often called “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” or “fair trade.” It’s jewelry that has been made with consideration for the people and the planet — not just profit.

Why Does the Source of Jewelry Matter?

The importance of this kind of jewelry is not only about making customers responsible shoppers — it’s also about supporting the people who make the jewelry and the planet we all share.

We can all do this by choosing to buy jewelry that is:

  • Made with fair labor practices
  • Made with recycled or sustainable materials
  • Certified by an independent third party

When you choose ethical jewelry, you can be sure that the people who made it were paid a fair wage for their work, and that the piece was produced in a way that didn’t damage the environment. You’re also supporting businesses that are working to make positive change in the industry.

Find Your Socially Conscious Jewelry at Essex Fine Jewelry

At Essex, we are committed to offering our customers only the highest quality jewelry. We believe that jewelry should be beautiful, sustainable, and responsibly made.

We also offer a wide range of vintage and antique jewelry, which is a great option for ethical shoppers. Because these pieces are pre-owned, they don’t require any new mining or production.

If you’re looking for ethical jewelry that is stylish and sustainable, Essex is the perfect place to shop. Browse our collection today to find the perfect piece for you.