Exploring Sustainable Jewelry: Ethical Practices of Manufacturers


Demand for sustainable jewelry has been steadily increasing as consumers become more conscientious about the environmental and social impact of their purchases.

Sustainable jewelry

Source: https://nendine.com/how-to-have-a-sustainable-jewelry-brand-in-2023/

Here is where sustainable jewelry comes in. Many are starting to discover and craft jewelry pieces using eco-friendly jewelry materials and ethical methods. This shift is evident in the rise of brands specializing in sustainable jewelry, catering to consumers seeking pieces that align with their values. Below, we will do a deep dive into sustainable jewelry in the following contents.

What is Sustainable and Ethical Jewelry?

It is important not to mix up sustainable and ethical jewelry. These are often used interchangeably, but they have their own definitions. 

What is Sustainable Jewelry?

Sustainable jewelry is about the effects manufacturing a piece of jewelry has on the environment, mainly focusing on reducing waste and sourcing low-impact materials and gemstones. Sustainable jewelry manufacturers like Nendine balance top quality with eco-friendly and ethical practices to achieve outstanding results.

Green practices

Source: https://nendine.com/sustainability/

What is Ethical Jewelry?

Ethical jewelry refers to the creation of jewelry pieces that are not only beautiful but also kind to the environment and society. It involves three main components: where the materials came from (ethical and eco-friendly materials), how the pieces are made (green production and techniques), and who’s making them. More about these will be discussed in the following sections.

How do Ethical Jewelry Manufacturers Make Sustainable Jewelry?

Sustainable jewelry is now what consumers and jewelry manufacturers pursue, but how to make sustainable jewelry? Ethically sourced jewelry suppliers normally achieve this goal through the following methods.

1. Ethical and Eco-friendly Materials 

Recycled materials

Source: https://www.body-piercing.com/

When it comes to producing sustainable jewelry, an aspect of it that we cannot take away from is the ethical practices involved in their production. These are some of the sustainable materials in jewelry making and the practices used by sustainable jewelry manufacturers:

  • Fair Trade Materials: The materials used in creating sustainable jewelry, such as gems, pearls, metals, and other materials, come from suppliers certified by the FAIRTRADE Foundation. These producers are proven to support sustainable livelihood and safe working conditions in developing countries. Using fair trade materials assures that the suppliers give back to the community working under them.
  • Conflict-Free Gems: Jewelers worldwide understand the importance of funding the economies of the countries where resources are located. Sustainable jewelers ensure that the gems aren’t mined in places known for conflict and unsavory activities.
Conflict-free gems

Source: Google

  • Alternative Materials to Diamond: With modern science, sustainable jewelers such as Nendine can now take advantage of scientific innovations for products without relying too much on Earth’s resources. Inventions such as lab-grown diamonds, recycled glass, cubic zircon, moissanite and even natural materials such as wood and bone are now being sought out and used in manufacturing sustainable jewelry.

2. Green Production and Techniques

Materials are not the only aspect of manufacturing sustainable jewelry – the processes employed in crafting them play a big role as well. From improving their operation processes to minimizing the production of waste material to lowering carbon footprint, every action taken is aimed at not adversely affecting our environment.

  • Computer-aided design (CAD) employment: Employ CAD to minimize material waste. 
  • Materials recycling: Recycled metals are one of the popular sustainable materials used in jewelry making. Recycle metals like gold, silver, and platinum by melting them and shaping them via molds thus shaping them for their new purpose, reducing the need for mining, which is often associated with significant environmental damage.






Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel

  • Packaging: Opt for packaging made from recycled or biodegradable materials. Minimize packaging size and eliminate unnecessary materials.
  • Energy-efficient practices implementation: Implement energy-efficient methods in the production process, such as using renewable energy sources (solar, wind) in workshops, using LED lighting and efficient heating/cooling systems within the workshop.
  • Water recycling implementation: Implement water recycling systems within the production facility to minimize water usage.
  • Waste management system establishment: Establish a comprehensive waste management system to ensure proper disposal and recycling of all production byproducts.
  • Jewelry Certifications: Obtain certifications from recognized eco-friendly and ethical organizations.

3. Sustainable Labor Practices

Sustainable jewelry manufacturers believe that they can only get quality products from workers who are paid with their fair wages and are treated with respect. They also ensure that the miners, artisans, and other staff who work for them are in the safest working conditions. More practices are listed as follows:

  • Strictly prohibiting the use of child labor and forced labor in all stages of production.
  • Ensuring reasonable working hours, including overtime pay and limiting excessive work hours.
  • Offering training and development opportunities to help workers improve their skills and advance in their careers.
  • Implementing policies that promote diversity and prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or other personal characteristics.
  • Ensuring equal opportunities for all employees.

These are not the only ethical practices sustainable jewelers use in conducting their day-to-day operations, but these are the most widely used practices in the sustainable jewelry industry.

Why do Brands Go with Eco-friendly Jewelry?

Eco-friendly jewelry

Source: Google

Eco-friendly jewelry provides numerous environmental benefits that help to protect our planet. First, practicing sustainable jewelry manufacturing allows jewelry makers to continue their craft without depleting the resource pool. By opting for recycled or alternative materials to create their stunning pieces, they can extend the material resource and give Mother Nature time to replenish its stock.

Moreover, responsible production initiatives like lower power consumption and proper waste management help keep our planet cleaner and greener.

Then there’s a company’s social responsibility. Jewelry manufacturers are responsible for the well-being of their customers, employees, and local communities. As such, they should ensure that the practices they employ in making the jewelry pieces meet global standards in health and safety.

How to Verify a Sustainably Sourced Jewelry Supplier?


Source: https://nendine.com/sustainability/

Finding a reliable supplier who follows the sustainable concept can be challenging, as not all jewelry suppliers have fully adopted the practice. However, some well-known jewelry manufacturers like Nendine embrace sustainable jewelry production and promote it through their stunning collections.  

Here are some key questions to ask jewelers about their sourcing and production practices:

Sourcing-Can you provide documentation on the origin of the materials used in your products?
-Are your materials certified by any recognized sustainable or ethical organizations?
Labor Practices-What measures do you have in place to ensure fair wages and safe working conditions for your employees?
-Do you have policies to prevent child labor and forced labor in your supply chain?
-What’s the working hours of your workers?
-What kind of training and development opportunities is offered to help workers improve their skills and advance in their careers?
Environmental Impact-What steps do you take to minimize the environmental impact of your production processes?
-Do you use recycled or eco-friendly materials in your products?
Certifications and Audits-Do you have any third-party certifications or undergo regular audits to verify your sustainable practices?
-Can you share recent audit reports or certification documents?
Waste Management-How do you manage waste and reduce material waste in your production processes?
-Do you have recycling programs in place for scrap materials and byproducts?
Energy and Resource Use-What types of energy sources do you use in your production facilities?
-Do you use renewable energy?
-How do you manage water usage and conservation in your production processes?
Product Lifecycle-How do you ensure the durability and longevity of your products?

10 Sustainable Jewelry Brands You Can Choose From

Some brands are pioneering sustainable jewelry trends. Offering more than just jewelry – they’re advocating for a lifestyle and philosophy that resonates with eco-conscious consumers. Here are some best sustainable jewelry brands and best eco-friendly jewelry brands to add to your jewelry cart.

  1. Mejuri- Focuses on ethically sourced materials and responsible production processes.
  2. Catbird – Uses recycled gold and conflict-free stones, and practices ethical production in their Brooklyn studio.
  3. Aurate – Emphasizes recycled gold, conflict-free diamonds, and transparent sourcing practices.
  4. Brilliant Earth – Known for its commitment to ethical sourcing, including beyond conflict-free diamonds and recycled precious metals.
  5. Wwake – Utilizes recycled gold and ethically sourced stones, promoting sustainability and fair labor practices.
  1. Soko – Partners with artisans in Kenya, combining traditional techniques with modern design and sustainable materials.
  2. Monica Vinader – Focuses on sustainability through the use of recycled gold and sterling silver, as well as ethical gemstones.
  3. Pipatchara – Uses sustainable materials and supports local artisans, promoting fair trade and eco-friendly practices.
  4. Vrai – Offers lab-grown diamonds and uses sustainable manufacturing processes to minimize environmental impact.
  5. Laura Lombardi – Creates jewelry from recycled and repurposed materials, emphasizing sustainability in every piece.

Current Trends in Sustainable Jewelry

As with any other business, the sustainable jewelry industry also relies upon the current trends set by the market. 

  • Minimalist Jewelry

Source: Google

Minimalist jewelry opts for subtle designs that blend with the wearer’s skin and clothing, thus making the user look more sophisticated and elegant, in contrast to someone wearing jewelry with complex and more prominent designs. 

Minimalist jewelry also promotes sustainability in terms of long-time use as fewer materials to produce minimalist jewelry, thus producing less waste in the process. 

Gold necklace

Source: Google

Scrap metals and other waste materials can be used in creating captivating pieces specifically tailored for each customer, lessening the waste material produced. It also gives a second life to unused jewelry by being used as a material for crafting a personalized piece.

  • Gender-Neutral Jewelry
Gender-neutral jewelry

Source: Google

The rise of gender-neutral jewelry promotes inclusivity and self-expression, impacting sustainable jewelry trends by encouraging timeless, versatile designs. This shift drives demand for eco-friendly practices, such as using recycled materials and ethical sourcing. 

As consumers seek ethical products, this trend strengthens the jewelry industry’s commitment to environmental responsibility, merging fashion with sustainability and equality.

  • Vintage/Upcycled Jewelry
jewelry ring

Source: Google

Embracing the ethos of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” designers are breathing new life into vintage jewelry by repurposing old pieces or incorporating vintage components into modern designs. 

These trends are affecting sustainable jewelry and the jewelry industry in general. The world is becoming aware of sustainability in their ornaments and is now more conscious about how their choices affect the world around them.

Key Takeaway

The path toward sustainable jewelry starts with every one of us making the right choices. So the next time you’re developing a jewelry collection for your brand, think about its impact on the environment. Choosing Nendine as your sustainable jewelry manufacturer gives you the opportunity to make the world a better place while boosting your brand.


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