Ethical jewelry options seem to be limitless these days, from kitschy handmade baubles to pricey indie-chic pieces. Below, we rounded up 10 of the world’s best ethical jewelry brands. Whether you’re interested in bohemian beads or minimalistic sparkle, you’ll be sure to find accessories that suit your style. See the brands below to find your new favorite ethical jewelry.
Eden Diodati is, to its core, ethical. Women artisans who survived the Rwandan genocide craft the hand-beaded pieces. With centuries of artisanal heritage backing them, the women have an impressive collective knowledge and skill level. Eden Diodati’s four principles are: Art & Collaboration, Ethical Manufacturing, Wearable Philanthropy, and Beauty Through Compassion. In addition to employing a marginalized group of African artisans, Eden Diodati donates 10% of dividends to Médecins sans Frontières, which recognises the need to address human fragility on a global scale. By proving that brands can be both exquisitely crafted and ethically made, Eden Diodati is changing the landscape of luxury jewelry.
Edge of Ember
Embodying the golden rule, Edge of Ember vows to treat their artisans and the planet as they themselves would like to be treated. This includes the following respectful practices: healthy working conditions, absolutely no child labor, advanced payments that exceed the local living wage, and using sustainable raw materials whenever possible. Edge of Ember designs pieces in London and employs artisans in India, Nepal, Indonesia, and Thailand to create them. Due to the fair wages, these skilled workers can practice their trade without worrying about getting replaced by mass production factories. With an ethos grounded in social responsibility, Edge of Ember is able to take a stand against the fast fashion industry.
JEM stands for “Jewellery Ethically Minded.” Their philosophy reads like art itself, extending the symbolic beauty of jewelry to reflect on the way in which we view the earth’s creations. Based out of Paris, JEM aims to combine their ethical awareness with the ever so French simplicity of design. JEM’s gold is certified “Fairmined,” guaranteeing that it is ethically sourced from mines working to adopt sustainable habits. The first French jeweler to be labeled as such, JEM hopes to inspire transparency in the jewelry industry. Every piece bears a trackable serial number that can be traced to the material’s origins. JEM is currently searching for a solution to diamond traceability before including this precious stone into their collections in order to ensure complete fairness in their production model.
Another jeweler taking a stand against the traditional diamond industry, Kinraden uses only FSC certified Mpingo, also known as African Blackwood, in place of the stone due to its striking resemblance to black diamonds. Mpingo is extremely tough and hard and reflects a beautiful stark black color, hence its similarity to diamonds. Often used to manufacture acoustic stringed instruments, it is a plant found in the dry regions of Africa. The pieces of mpingo Kinraden sources are too small to be used in the production of anything else. This initiative to limit manufacturing waste is not just sustainable for the environment, but helps locals to improve their own living conditions as well.
Odette New York
Odette designs their pieces in Brooklyn and casts and manufactures locally in New York City via small family run businesses. Materials used include sterling silver, 14k gold, brass, and bronze. The sterling silver and 14k gold are made from 100% SCS (Scientific Certification Systems) certified recycled metals. Odette is currently in the process of finding a new method to recycle brass. Additionally, Odette uses only recycled packaging. Seasonal digital lookbooks show the inspiration behind the designs, giving you plenty of ideas for how to wear your ethical trendy pieces.
PASCALE x JAMES
London brand PASCALE x JAMES is focused on quality of product, fairness to their workers, and responsibility to the environment. The latter includes the following steps to minimize their own carbon footprint: using a renewable energy supplier for their gas and electric, keeping unnecessary travel to a minimum (and use green alternatives when possible), and routinely check in with their suppliers to re-evaluate their eco-credentials. PASCALE x JAMES understands the importance to do more beyond these conscious choices to affect the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, PASCAL x JAMES has decided to pay a voluntary carbon tax to advance the use of renewables.
Highly unique, Saya creates a different kind of jewelry – the kind meant for your hair. A love of nature and an excitement around sustainability drove the founder, Victoria, to begin Saya Designs. Recycled root wood is recovered from old Indonesian plantations to use for the handcrafted hair sticks. Although Indonesia’s rainforest is one of the most diverse in the world, it has one of the highest deforestation rates. The Indonesian forest cover is in a significant state of decline, as it has been since the 1960s. Saya uses the root wood, which was once a waste material, to create sculptural hair pieces. To replenish the earth’s source of wood, with every hair stick purchased, Saya will plant up to ten endangered or endemic species of trees into local community gardens in Indonesia.
Founder Elise Lindqvist started Norrfolks to create high quality jewelry inspired by Scandinavian minimalism. After having worked in the jewelry industry for years, Lindqvist was frustrated with the low quality and lack of transparency in the fast fashion world. A key factor in sustainability is to make durable products which is why Norrfolks stays away from platings or fillings. Keeping in line with their sustainable model, Norrfolks only uses 14k solid gold so you can wear their fine jewelry everyday. The gold is 100% recycled and certified through LBMA and CFSI to ensure that the gold comes from conflict-free zones and never from mines. All Norrfolks’ pieces are handcrafted in Spain under ethical working conditions and come in yellow, rose, and white 14k solid gold.
Boho-chic is back in a big way with Sophie Monet. The namesake brand handcrafts original and forward-thinking trendy pieces in Venice, California from ethically sourced wood. Reviews show that customers find Sophie Monet ideal for everyday wear due to the balance of statement-making sizes with the subtle, casual look from the use of wood. Each piece has its own identity as all of the wood is hand-shaped using unique and rare materials. Using sustainable materials wherever possible, Sophie Monet captures the beauty of nature and effortlessly turns it into California-cool fashion accessories.
Winden creates jewelry that is dainty yet super-cool (see: “Boss” necklace), crafted mostly from recycled materials. A list of all materials and their origins can be found on the website since transparency is key for Winden. From 100% natural unaltered Oregon Sunstones to recycled gold chains selected from an NYC-based family business, Winden chooses their materials and suppliers with equally conscious thought. Committed to supporting other small businesses, the uncomplicated pieces create a feel-good confidence one can adorn with pride. As such, Winden pieces feel intimate and cared for – and who doesn’t want a little extra love in their jewelry?