Shine bright like a diamond: 5 ethical jewelry brand

13 February 2019 | Posted by Zackary

In 2017, De Beers (a South African diamond conglomerate and jewellery brand) announced the construction of a gigantic mining-boat planned for 2021. Its concept: to suck sediment from the seabed off Namibia, which is teeming with precious stones — if you’re thinking of taking skin diving classes, forget about it, it’s far too deep. The problem? The technique used causes irreparable damage to the ecosystem and presents risks of water contamination. A controversy that arose some twenty years after the group’s involvement in the purchase of blood diamonds…

Jewelry remains one of the most opaque sectors of fashion, both in terms of manufacturing conditions and the origin of raw materials. We can know that our shoes are made of Italian leather or our shirt of Calais lace, but what about our ring’s silver? The emeralds from our earrings?

Statistics indicate that just under a quarter of the gifts offered on February 14 are jewels. Yet, if we have nothing against the idea of being covered with gold — really, nothing at all — we might as well do it without having blood on our hands. While Chopard has paved the way for fair trade gems by mastering every step of its supply chain, what are the addresses following in its footsteps? On what levers do they rely? Can we get into green jewelry without putting our account in the red zone? Follow the guide…

Aglaïa & Co’s made in France

(© LittleGreenBee)

“Act different”, says Aglaïa & Co. The French start-up intends to bring a fresh wind by focusing on transparency proximity and affordability. On each product page, you will find a complete description of the item — all that is missing is the name of the person who made it, always in France. In addition, 5% of the sales are systematically donated to charities.

Caring about its community, it makes an appointment every month for its customers to choose which models will be produced among a whole bunch of possibilities. A rather refreshing habit, which ensures to match their needs.

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Tuza, the eclectic

(© Katy Hallowell)

After studying art in London, Suzzan Atala turned to jewellery by creating Tuza. A Mexican, she chose to set up her workshop in her country of origin in order to stimulate the economy and “contribute to social progress”.

Based in Taxco, a city that has been exploiting silver since the 16th century, she creates pieces for all budgets. Each realization is handmade, sometimes on request only. The good side of it? No more problems with rings, just send them your size.

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E’ Pomellato, bello!

(© Pomellato)

Born in the 60s Italy, Pomellato quickly established itself as a major player in high-end jewellery thanks to a stroke of genius: applying to it the principle of ready-to-wear. From the beginning, the Milanese company has designed its pieces in collections designed to be mixed together. Unlike other luxury names, it offers a range of references below 300 €.

The brand reduces its impact by choosing a responsible supply of its resources, offers training programs and has created a foundation promoting women’s education. Today, it is one of the few to benefit from the coveted certification of the Responsible Jewellery Council, which, I admit, is much easier when you are supported by the Kering group.

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Melissa Joy Manning, the precursor

(© Melissa Joy Manning)

When Melissa Joy Manning founded her eponymous brand in the 1990s, sustainability was still the prerogative of yoga enthusiasts wearing saroual all day long. In other words, choosing to launch a label of responsible and precious jewels, at a time when fashion is still only interested in supermodels and cocaine, is a real commitment. It is not surprising that it is now a model in this field.

The brand only uses recycled silver and gold, the origin of each stone is specified, manufacturing takes place in California or New York in manufactures close to zero waste… In short, it is difficult to do better, both regarding the commitment and the elegance of the pieces imagined.

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TAJ, a holistic philosophy

(© TAJ Amsterdam)

According to TAJ“what you choose is what you vote for”. A phrase that crystallizes the entire philosophy of the brand, which instills an almost spiritual dimension into its creations. It does not speak of “customers” or “community”, but of a “tribe” federated around a principle: love of self and others, therefore considering one’s jewellery as “talismans”.

More pragmatically, it only uses recycled silver and chooses to produce by hand in Indonesia, favouring local know-how. In addition, it refuses the use of any real stone and prefers to rely on synthetic versions: while manufactured in laboratories, they have the same physical properties and offer the assurance that no human has been mistreated during the process.

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Anyway, if you absolutely want to make a gesture for the world without having a Valentine, all you have to do is spoil me… •

Hugh Hefner's and Donatella Versace's love child, I am the visible half of the duo behind ZACKARIUM. In love with fashion since I was in short pants, my mission is to guide you smoothly through the jungle of brands and catwalks.

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