For most of us, jewelry is a crucial part of our daily wardrobe. It’s the perfect complement for many of our much-cherished outfits, adding a dash of elegance here and a touch of grace there.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of jewelry out there with a checkered past. This is why finding a source for your next piece of jewelry that’s committed to a high standard of ethics is imperative. No one wants their beautiful new sparkling necklace to be one of the major contributors to environmental damage, leaving countless humans around the world suffering and oppressed.
Fortunately, there are dozens of ethical jewelry brands out there that create beautiful pieces while remaining committed to careful sourcing, fair wages, safe working conditions, and programs that give back to local communities. We’ve put together this list to help you find the ethical jewelry brands that are doing it right.
Top Ethical Jewelry Companies in 2020
1. BRILLIANT EARTH
Brilliant Earth was founded in 2005 with a simple mission: “to make jewelry as beautiful as it can be.” And when they say “beautiful,” they mean more than just the cut and color. They’re talking about a beauty that runs deep – into the origins of that jewelry.
Over the past fifteen years, they’ve become a worldwide leader in creating ethically sourced fine jewelry. They aren’t satisfied with rejecting conflict diamonds. They seek to use only ‘beyond conflict-free’ diamonds, diamonds that aren’t involved in any human rights violations, that minimize environmental degradation, that are produced in accord with safe labor practices, and that support local community development.
And it’s not just about the diamonds. They also use recycled precious metals, minimizing the need for further mining. And their packaging is FSC certified.
As they put it, they provide “luxury with a conscience,” giving you confidence with any purchase that you aren’t contributing to the pain or suffering of a community on the other side of the world.
Brilliant Earth provides a wide array of jewelry options, from diamonds to sapphires, and rings to bracelets. If you’re looking for a high-quality, ethical jewelry brand, few are as committed as Brilliant Earth.
SOKO is a unique jewelry manufacturer in that they source all of their items from Kenyan artisans who use traditional techniques, along with modern technology, to create beautiful, fine jewelry. Their jewelry has a simple, minimalist aesthetic that’s elegant and has the ability to complement almost any outfit well.
SOKO is driven by a desire to make an impact in the communities where their products are crafted. That’s why they do everything they can to source materials locally and to use recycled materials instead of relying on new metals (which require mining, and the environmental footprint that goes along with it).
Since they’re committed to the communities where they’re located, they pay their artisans five times the amount they would receive at a more traditional workshop. And they’re a B Corp, meaning they’ve made a public commitment and joined with other likeminded companies to use their business as a force for good.
If you are interested in minimalist jewelry that’s making a real difference in the lives of people on the other side of the world, check out SOKO. They have a huge selection of earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, and more.
NOVICA is a company on a sustainable mission. They connect indigenous artisans with consumers around the world and proudly display the amount of money they’ve sent to those artisans. When this was written, it was over $98 million.
By helping local artisans reach the people who want their jewelry and other goods, NOVICA creates a ripple effect that benefits more than just the artisans. Their entire communities are transformed.
Because of their commitment to artisans, every product that NOVICA sells is handmade and sustainable. And they offer hundreds of different products, from dresses and paintings to home furnishings, and yes, jewelry. You can find every kind of jewelry imaginable through NOVICA. And it’s all unique and ethically sourced.
Shop at Novica through Giving Assistant and help donate.
JEM is a Paris-based ethical jewelry brand that’s made a name for itself with its unique, geometric designs, ethically-sourced gold, and lab-grown diamonds.
JEM is the first French jewelry brand to exclusively use Fairmined Gold for its jewelry. This is gold that meets rigorous environmental and humane standards. It involves miners banding together into a cooperative-style organization that’s directed and managed by them. It’s one step in the right direction for an industry that has been plagued by such ethical abuses as child labor, human rights violations, economic exploitation of local communities, and more.
And JEM’s lab-grown diamonds ensure that every diamond you wear is completely conflict-free.
If you’re looking for beautiful, minimalist jewelry that ethically sourced, few jewelers are better than JEM.
Ethical Jewelry Brands Give Back
Over the past several centuries, the jewelry industry has been rife with corruption, abuse, and exploitation. Countless lives have been lost in the pursuit of these beautiful stones and precious metals. Meanwhile, thousands of hardworking artisans have been oppressed, unable to get a living wage for their handcrafted goods. Fortunately, the world is beginning to change. More businesses are committing themselves to ethically sourced, sustainable jewelry. And new ways of doing business are arising that are dedicated to placing the artisan first, rather than last.
All of this is a sign of better things to come. And what’s more, these four businesses aren’t the only ethical jewelry brands out there. With each passing year, more and more are cropping up, giving consumers more choices and the ability to look their best with a clean conscience.
These companies have made commitments to help the people and communities at the center of the jewelry-making process, to purchase raw materials in fair and ethical ways, and to create custom, beautiful jewelry without the baggage.