When shopping for sustainable jewellery, you’ve likely seen the term 'recycled jewellery' used here and there. But what exactly is recycled jewellery, and why is it more environmentally friendly than jewellery made using virgin materials? We're here to share all the facts with you and show you just how brilliant recycled jewellery is...
Virgin silver and gold can be incredibly unethical and unsustainable, with much of it being mined by men, women and children in impoverished areas and in unsafe conditions. Most silver and gold being mined in the world comes from rural communities in places like Ghana and Brazil. Mining is an incredibly invasive process which can cause damage to local communities and ecosystems. Mining is also a dangerous process, with 81 reported fatalities in precious metal mining in 2018 alone. As resources become increasingly more scarce, workers are forced to mine deeper which increases the risk of mines collapsing as well as inhaling toxic fumes.
It is an industry which is rife with exploitation, with many children being sent to work down mines. Ethical and eco-friendly gold and silver does exist, but it is important to check the companies sources. If they are unwilling to share where their metals come from, there is probably a reason why. According to Diamond Foundry, a man-made diamond company, 143 pounds of carbon dioxide is released into the air for each carat of natural diamond mined industrially. In addition to this astronomical amount, irresponsible sourcing of diamonds can involve child labour, wildlife displacement, human trafficking, water pollution, armed violence as well as the violation of indigenous peoples’ rights.
For all of our jewellery collections, we use recycled brass and aluminium, utilising these surplus materials from several industries to ensure our efforts towards zero waste. We also use recycled silver in our Indian jewellery collections. Fun -or not so fun- fact: £36,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away each year and if all cans in the UK were recycled, we would need 14 million fewer dustbins. Brass is an incredible, sustainable metal that polishes up to look just like high-shine gold.
Brass is one of the most recycled metals in the world, and is significantly more energy efficient to recycle. Brass can be recycled many times over without diminishing the composition so it means that the recycling process can continue time and time again. Our jewellery is also made by expert artisans who are paid fairly for their expertise in their craft. Our partner workshop in Jaipur is certified by SEDEX, a not-for-profit organisation responsible for auditing businesses committed to the continuous improvement of ethical performance within their supply chains. Anton & Benta who make our Signature Kenyan Jewellery Collection work from their own backyard workshop to Fair Trade standards with the help of their adult children.
It can be easy to forget about jewellery when we make the shift to buying more responsibly. But just like our clothing, how it’s made and what it’s made from have big consequences on both the people that produce the jewellery as well as the planet. Buying recycled jewellery is a quick, simple and stylish step anyone can make to reduce their impact on our ecosystems and ensure that all of our shopping decisions are that little bit better. Want to know how to take care of your recycled brass jewellery? Click here.