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What IS Eco-friendly Jewelry?

Yesterday marked the largest climate change march in history, with hundreds of thousands gathering worldwide  to bring awareness to a very real ecological problem.

So today, in honor of the march, we’d like to bring your awareness to eco-friendly jewelry.


Q: Is there such a thing as eco-friendly jewelry? How can I be sure the necklace I’m buying doesn’t have any Earth-killing karma?

A: Good question. Any industrial jewelry mining can have numerous harmful negative impacts on the environment, ranging from erosion of the land, to leakage of harmful chemicals into the water supply, to the alteration of an entire ecosystem. And let’s not forget about the carbon footprint of the heavy machinery that’s used in the process. So yes, there most definitely is such a thing as eco-friendly jewelry — that is, any jewelry that was mined with the least possible negative impact on the environment, or not mined at all.


First, a few retailers out there offer recycled gold jewelry. By buying recycled gold jewelry, you’re not only being environmentally responsible; you’re also lowering the demand for newly mined gold. And while you’re at it, why not recycle your old gold trinkets?


Another option is to consider vintage jewelry, which recycles valuable resources and doesn’t require new mining. And a vintage necklace or ring is always in style.


One eco-friendly jewelry option (and my personal favorite — hubby dearest, are you reading this?): Pearls! The pearl industry is quick to point out that pearls aren’t mined at all and say that they are more eco-friendly than your average mined gem. That being said, aquaculture can be damaging to the environment because of the use of high-powered hoses to clean the oysters. There is an eco-friendly solution though — some pearl farmers use tropical fish to scrub the oysters clean.