How eco-friendly is your jewelry? Get the information you need so you can scope out eco-friendly jewelry. Wearing a necklace, bracelet, or ring makes a statement: “I’m married,” “I have style,” or “I can afford precious things.” Your jewelry can also say, “I care about environmental and human welfare.”
Gold: Greed behind the glitter
• Mining destroys local ecosystems and creates toxic waste–including mercury, arsenic, and cyanide, which poison waterways and create health hazards for people, animals, and birds.
• Gold refineries use lots of water and dangerous chemicals.
• Buy recycled. GreenKarat, a company committed to ending destructive gold and diamond mining, sells only 100 percent recycled gold and cultured diamonds and uses a zero-discharge refinery.
• Sell unwanted jewelry so its precious metals can be recycled. GreenKarat estimates enough gold has already been mined to satisfy demand for the next fifty years.
• Wear antique jewelry. Buy from local vintage or estate sellers.
Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend
• In African countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, the diamond trade finances civil wars and fuels human rights abuses, coining the term “conflict” or “blood” diamonds.
• Diamond mining causes massive ecological damage, whether diamonds are taken from open pits or dug from under riverbeds.
• Buy conflict-free diamonds. The diamond industry’s Kimberley Process certifies that diamonds are conflict-free, but because the system isn’t independently monitored, conflict gems still enter the market. Diamonds from Canada are conflict-free and ethically produced, although environmental damage from mining is still a concern.
• Opt for “lab-grown” or “cultured” diamonds. Real diamonds created with high pressure and temperatures in laboratories are identical to natural gems.