Sometimes celebrity endorsements can be a turn-off. And I get it—just because a "famous person" likes something, doesn't mean you should too. Usually, I'd be right there along with you, as ultimately you should like what you like, regardless of what someone in the public eye is doing. However, I will concede that when it comes to sustainable fashion, I'm all for a bit of an A-list boost.
Two women who have been at the forefront of promoting ethical fashion are Meghan Markle and Emma Watson. While we know they love to wear sustainable fashion brands such as Veja, they're both also fans of wearing sustainable jewellery, such as from Bar Jewellery and Pippa Small. I'm not surprised then that global fashion search platform Lyst revealed just yesterday that there is an increase of 15% of consumers searching for "consciously-made" jewellery, with searches including words such as “recycled,” “sustainable” and “ethical”.
Demand for recycled gold "has jumped 29% year-on-year" and "searches for 'ethical jewellery' have increased 20% since the beginning of the year". True, this won't be down to just Markle and Watson, but it will definitely have helped.
Another great thing about sustainable jewellery is that I find it's an "easier" way to invest in a more ethical approach to consuming. We often put our focus on clothing, shoes or bags but actually jewellery, especially those everyday pieces you never take off, have a better cost-per-wear factor.
However, much like the issues surrounding sustainable clothing, ethically-sourced jewellery can feel a bit alienating thanks to the price. But there's good news: it's not all completely crazy prices. While some pieces will go into the £1000s there are affordable sustainable jewellery brands too, including pieces worn by royalty. Keep scrolling to find out more.
This simple and minimalist brand ensures that the skilled artisans who make the jewellery are paid a fair wage. The brand ensures that "Even small choices are carefully considered, ensuring that they are responsible and not harmful to the environment".
Sarah & Sebastian
Sydney-based founders Sarah Gittoes and Robert Sebastian Grynkofki, have backgrounds in design and goldsmithing and used 14-karat gold and ethically-sourced gems for their line of sleek jewellery.
Melissa Joy Manning
Melissa Joy Manning has led the way with sustainable jewellery for 20 years, and even co-founded CFDA Sustainable Committee. For her brand she uses recycled metals and each piece is created by skilled artisans.
Contemporary brand Wwake, founded by Wing Yau, uses uses recycled and fairmined gold and it's all produced in New York.
From working with fairmined gold and Fair trade, as well as traceable gem sources, Pippa Small aims to be as ethical as possible when it comes to her production of fine jewellery. She works with artisans from different communities to preserve traditional techniques and skills and she was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2013 for ethical jewellery and charity work. The ultimate seal of approval? Small's designs have been worn by Meghan Markle.
To ensure its sustainable practices, Yam, based in New York, aims to use local products and works with small, family-owned material. All the orders are shipped in bio-degradable or recycled packaging and most of the designs use some kind of deadstock material.
Omi Woods is invested in ensuring that all the jewellery is individually and ethically handmade using fair trade African gold and conflict-free metals. It also pays the people sourcing the material fairly—the gold they used is from small artisanal mines and the miners are paid a fair wage to ensure the community benefits.
One of the easiest ways to shop sustainable jewellery? Find it vintage or second hand. Susan Caplan is one of the leaders in vintage jewellery, and often carries fun and classic pieces from Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy.
This oh-so-pretty brand uses recycled freshwater pearls and gold plated brass.