Tips for Buying Ethically Sourced Jewelry

This post about ethically sourced jewelry is sponsored, however, all opinions expressed here are my own.


Are you considering jewelry gifts this year?  Are you concerned about the sustainability of the gold, diamonds, and other jewelry materials used in it?  From ethically sourced gold to lab grown diamonds, there are many options to choose from when it comes to eco friendly jewelry.  Buy the bling without the guilt with these simple tips!

diamond and metal rings on wood board with text overlay 'Ethically Sourced Jewelry Gifts'

How do you make jewelry ethical?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether your jewelry purchase is ethical or not.  From raw materials to the overall mission statement of the company,  do a bit of research and decide which factors are most important to you.  Here are a few things to consider:

  • What is the overall mission statement of the company?  What are their core values and beliefs when it comes to the people and resources involved in its creation? 
  • Is it fair trade certified?  In a nutshell, were the people who mined the materials and made the jewelry paid a fair living wage for their work? Check out my post about fair trade certification to learn more. 
  • Does it reuse materials from a previous piece of jewelry?  Some companies minimize the environmental impact of jewelry by recycling or upcycling an older piece of jewelry.  
  • How does the company handle business operations?  Do they minimize the resources they use in day to day operations of the business?
  • How is the jewelry packaged?  Minimal packaging means less waste and a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Is it a local, small business?  Supporting small local businesses helps out small artists and keeps travel miles low.  

What is ethical jewelry? Basically, it’s jewelry that has reduced impact on the people who make it, or the environment it’s produced in.  It isn’t always possible to find jewelry that ticks ALL those boxes, though.  Especially if you have a certain style or gem in mind for your purchase.  

upcycled earrings with text overlay 'Eco Friendly Jewelry'

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Types of  eco friendly jewelry to consider

If you are looking for ethically sourced jewelry ideas, there are several available to choose from.  Which one you decide on will depend on your budget, in addition to the type of jewelry you are looking for. Here are just a few you can choose from when buying a new piece of jewelry.

old vintage necklaces and jewelry for sale in the antique shop

Second hand jewelry

Second hand jewelry is incredibly sustainable, not to mention affordable.  Look for estate sales or garage sales in your area. Scour online resales sites like eBay or Esty.  Be a little bit discerning and realistic.  Sadly, it is easy to be fooled when buying second hand jewelry. 

Unless you know what you are looking for, be cautious about how much money you shell out. Don’t accept the seller’s word when it comes to the authenticity and value of second hand jewelry.  Sale should be contingent on appraisal.   

diamond ring being polished

Recycled or upcycled jewelry

Look for sustainable jewelry brands that recycle or upcycle old metal and gems into completely new pieces.   Upcycled jewelry can even be made out of small pieces of glass.  By reusing raw materials, you minimize the carbon footprint of your jewelry considerably. 

Ethical Gemstones

I recently bought my son Moissanite earrings and they were both beautiful and affordable.  What is moissanite?  It is a unique diamond alternative originally found in a crater formed from a meteorite. 

There are several other varieties of ethical gemstones available if you are concerned about questionable mining practices.  Whether you choose Boulder Opals from Australia or Howlite from Death Valley, USA, look for information on the jewelers’ website on how the gemstones were mined and what guarantees they offer about the treatment of mine workers.  

Lab Grown Diamond in a box in a woman's hands

Lab grown diamonds

Traditional mined diamonds have a long history of conflict associated with them.  If you want a true diamond, choose worry free diamonds instead by purchasing one that is made in a lab.  Diamonds are diamonds. Made of carbon, compressed by pressure, and beautiful to look at.  But with a lab grown diamond, you can rest assured that your jewelry purchase is not supporting the exploitation of humans in the process.  

The only thing that makes a lab-created diamond different from a natural diamond is its origin. It is chemically and physically the same as diamonds grown beneath the Earth’s surface. Check out Clean Origin’s man made diamonds for a great ethically sourced jewelry purchase. 

Sustainable Gift Ideas for a Smaller Carbon Footprint

More Sustainable Gift Ideas

Choose ethical jewelry gifts to reduce your carbon footprint. Want more eco friendly gift ideas? Read these articles before shopping!


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