There are a lot of things to think about when you're looking to buy ethical jewellery. Who made it, where, what materials were used and just how ethical is the business as a whole? Here are a few of the factors, materials and practises I consider when making jewellery.
I work with only a few trusted suppliers based in the U.K. to source my gemstones and precious metals. They ensure that workers are paid fairly and provided with safe working conditions. This can include written guarantees, audits, photos of work sites and verifying an ethical code of conduct.
Once the materials arrive with me, I make them into jewellery from my studio here in South Wales, U.K.
Recycled metals are a much more sustainable choice than metal that has been newly mined. I use recycled silver in my jewellery whenever I can. This is usually in the form of sterling silver sheet and wire. Most jewellery findings such as clasps are not yet available in 100% recycled metal, but I am hoping to use these in the future.
Every piece of metal scrap and dust is saved to reuse or recycle again, so nothing goes to waste.
There is a long way to go in the jewellery industry when it comes to tracing semi-precious gemstones. Most of these gemstones are mined, cut and sold in different countries with a complex supply chain.
My suppliers do their best to ensure that gemstones are from ethical and trusted sources. Hopefully fully traceable gemstones will become more widely available and affordable as increase demands.
Making jewellery with natural materials will always have an environmental impact. Thankfully, mining techniques are becoming less destructive and responsible mining means minimising this impact. The great benefit of using recycled precious metal is that it doesn't require mining.
As a vegan myself I will never use or make jewellery with leather, silk, pearls or any other material that causes harm to animals. This includes the tools I use for making jewellery and even the cleaning products I use in my studio.
I'm proud to say that all Honeydew Club packaging is plastic free and made from eco-friendly or recycled materials.
Gift boxes are FSC certified cardboard. Parcels, tissue paper, postcards and ribbon are made from recycled materials, and all packaging is recyclable and biodegradable too. I love to make the jewellery look as pretty as can be whilst using sustainable packaging.
All of these factors contribute to making a piece of jewellery ethical.
When I first started making jewellery, I knew I wanted to do it in the most ethical way possible. By spending a lot of time researching suppliers and materials, I'm confident that this is a goal I will continue achieving.
Of course I'll always be reviewing and looking for ways to improve. For me, the most ethical jewellery is consciously created and I hope that my values shine through in my work.