What is sustainable jewelry?

Sustainable jewelry is jewelry that is produced in accordance with ecological, social and ethical principles. This involves minimizing negative impacts on the environment, ensuring fair working conditions and using resources responsibly.

It is often made from recycled silver or gold and set with things like lab-grown diamonds or fair, traceable gemstones. Sustainability includes not only the raw materials for the piece of jewelry itself, but also everything that goes with it. The packaging should be as recyclable as possible and shipping should be CO2 neutral. Local production can ensure short delivery routes and reduce CO2 emissions compared to long transport routes from outside of the EU.

Local production also strengthens small businesses and is easier to oversee. This ensures that working conditions are good and that employees are paid fairly.

Beware of greenwashing

The term "sustainable jewelry" is not protected and so each label can define it its own. This does not have to be a bad thing, as many jewelry labels work with great commitment and transparency for a green future. At the same time, the lack of rules and definitions naturally offers scope for greenwashing and does not always make it easy for you as a customer to distinguish trustworthy from less trustworthy companies. So it is worth taking a closer look and, if you are not sure, contacting the label directly and clarifying any questions you may have. A good company will always take the time to educate, advise and inform its customers.

Sustainable jewellery: rings made from recycled materials

Why should I buy sustainable jewelry?

Sustainability must not be a trendy topic or a "buzzword". It must be a matter of course for us to make good, resource-saving decisions with regard to our consumer behavior and our everyday lives. We can only do this if we are sufficiently informed - that's why we would like to inform you in the following section about the challenges that the jewelry industry is currently facing and why your purchase can help make the industry greener.

The big problems of the jewellery industry

The jewelry industry is an incredibly complex network consisting of many players. Today, more than ever, it is faced with the challenge of working towards a sustainable and responsible future for all those involved and solving existing problems. These include:

1. Negative environmental impacts

Mining of precious metals and gemstones often causes significant environmental damage, including deforestation, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and pollution from chemicals such as mercury and cyanide. Mining requires large amounts of water and often leads to pollution of rivers and groundwater, which has negative impacts on the local environment and the health of residents.

2. Human rights violations & child labour

In many mines, children have to work to earn additional income for their families. Workers in mines and production facilities also often suffer from low wages and a lack of occupational safety.

3. Conflict materials

In some regions, the mining and sale of precious metals and gemstones finances armed conflicts. These so-called conflict minerals contribute to instability and violence.

4. Lack of transparency

The origin of materials is often difficult to trace, making it difficult to ensure that they have been mined ethically and sustainably. Many pieces of jewelry are also not adequately labeled regarding origin or materials, meaning consumers cannot make informed decisions.

5. Overproduction & seasonality

The fashion industry, including jewelry, often promotes short-term trends that encourage the consumption of short-lived products and lead to higher resource consumption. Ultra fast fashion is a major contributor to this.

Benefits of sustainable jewelry

Buying sustainable jewelry is not only environmentally friendly, but also raises general awareness and attention to this important issue. If you tell your friends excitedly about your new rings, necklaces and earrings made from recycled silver or gold, you may also encourage them to learn more about the topic and buy jewelry made from ecological silver or gold.

Sustainable jewelry is often made from high-quality materials that are durable and retain their beauty over time. Many sustainable pieces of jewelry are designed to outlast fashion trends and provide long-lasting joy.

This is how sustainable jewellery is produced: With fair payment

Why is sustainable jewelry often more expensive?

The low price we pay for many things in our everyday lives is often paid for by people in low-wage countries. Many conventional gemstones, for example, are mined and then sold through many, many, many middlemen. In the end, each of these dealers earns a small amount - the least is usually left in the country where the precious jewel was mined.

Companies that offer sustainable jewelry strive to source their raw materials from responsible and traceable sources - the acquisition costs for this are often more expensive and the management effort is higher. In addition, they value fair pay for everyone involved and safe working conditions. They invest a lot of time in researching suitable partners and often produce by hand, made-to-order or in smaller quantities to avoid overconsumption.

This has the great advantage that they can respond to individual customer requests and you receive a unique, high-quality piece of jewelry that you can wear with a clear conscience.

Sustainable jewelry is often classic and timeless, less seasonal and trend-dependent. To ensure that your piece of jewelry will accompany you for a long time, it is made with high-quality materials. As you can probably imagine, the production of high-quality individual or small series is generally more cost-intensive than conventional mass production. With your purchase, you are making a valuable contribution to a sustainable, green jewelry industry.

Have you ever heard of cost-per-wear? It's a concept that helps evaluate the true value of a piece of clothing or an accessory, such as jewelry, by spreading the cost over the number of times the piece is worn. So if you spend a little more money on a piece of jewelry but wear it regularly over many years, the "cost per wear" will be cheaper than an inexpensive, seasonal piece of jewelry that you only wear a few times.

Buying sustainable earrings


What should I pay attention to when buying sustainable jewelry?

If you want to buy a sustainable piece of jewelry, you can pay attention to the following points when making your selection in order to make a conscious purchase decision and make a valuable contribution to a green jewelry industry:

1. Transparency on the website

Does the brand provide you with enough information? Do you know where and with what materials the piece of jewelry is made?

2. Recycled or fair materials

Does the jewelry label work with recycled silver or gold? Where does the company source its raw materials (e.g. from local refineries, does it melt down materials from old stocks itself?). Does the company provide information on where it sources gemstones, diamonds or lab-grown diamonds, for example?

3. Support Small (& Female!) Businesses

Small businesses often don't have the same opportunities for expensive, large marketing campaigns or print advertising - but they do at least as good a job as big labels, if not with more passion, closeness to their customers and commitment! Consider smaller, owner-managed companies the next time you make a purchase and support women-owned brands.

4. Certificates

Certificates are a wonderful way for companies to communicate their statements in a credible way. There are only a handful of certificates in the jewelry industry and unfortunately none specifically for "sustainable jewelry" per se. But what you can still look out for is: is the company or its production a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC)? It is an international association of companies that are committed to transparency, ethics and sustainability throughout their entire value chain.

Other certificates are: Fairtrade Gold, Fairmined or the Kimberly Process (KPCS). The latter is an international initiative that aims to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds. The KPCS ensures that rough diamonds come only from conflict-free sources and are monitored by a certification system.

In addition, companies also issue certificates that provide you with proof of the materials used in your piece of jewelry. There are also certificates for diamonds, lab-grown diamonds and gemstones - but these are usually only issued for items above a certain carat weight (approx. 0.30 - 0.50 ct).

Please keep in mind: Renowned certificates are usually extremely expensive and time-consuming to obtain and are therefore not always feasible, especially for companies that work alone or with very few employees and are self-financed. But that doesn't mean that they do a worse job! Small companies can give you just as transparent information about their supply chains and dealers and do equivalent work.