Sustainable Jewellery: Everything You Need to Know

A form of self-expression, jewellery has the ability to elevate an outfit, provide you with confidence and is often passed down or kept for a lifetime. As much as you should choose pieces that you truly love, it’s also important to understand where they’ve come from, how they’re made and their impact, prioritising ethics and sustainability as well as their lustre and shine. Keep reading as we take you through everything you need to know when it comes to sustainable jewellery

What is sustainable jewellery?  

Sustainable jewellery refers to jewellery that is made in a way that is minimising its environmental and social impact on the planet, including the methods of its production and manufacturing, the materials used, packaging and waste disposal. 

What’s the difference between sustainable and ethical jewellery? 

Both sustainable and ethical jewellery are terms that are often used interchangeably. Although they are closely linked and related topics, it’s important to know that their focuses are slightly different. 

Sustainably made jewellery focuses predominantly on the environmental impact of the production process, including the sourcing of materials and manufacturing practices. On the other hand, ethical jewellery focuses on the social impacts of its production process such as safe working conditions, fair pay, the impact on local communities and exploitation. 

Although both have slightly different focuses, both ethical and sustainable jewellery aims to produce jewellery in a responsible and sustainable way, without harming or compromising the planet and its people. 

earrings on metal bar

What are the sustainability issues within the jewellery industry?

There are some big sustainability issues and concerns surrounding the jewellery industry as a whole. 

Carbon Footprint

Jewellery production and transportation require an extensive amount of energy, which contributes to a significant carbon footprint. To mine just 1 tonne of gold, 36,793 tonnes of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, contributing to greater pollution levels. 

Unsustainable Material Sourcing

The mining of precious metals and gemstones can cause significant environmental impacts, especially if they are not done in sustainable ways. These include deforestation, water pollution, damage to ecosystems and soil erosion.


The jewellery industry is responsible for generating a large amount of waste through its production process, unused materials, packaging and unsold jewellery. Research shows that approximately 20 tonnes of toxic waste are produced in the production of a single gold ring!

Use of Chemical

Chemicals are often used within the production process of jewellery. Concerns are raised over what impacts this has on human health and the environment, especially if they are not managed properly. 

Social & Political

There are also many social and political issues associated with the jewellery industry concerning the local communities surrounding mines and factories, such as human displacement, conflict, dangerous working conditions as well as the quality of life fuelled by the environmental impacts that could be impacting human health. 

How to shop for sustainable jewellery? 

There are many ways in which you can shop for sustainable jewellery and in doing so, help protect the environment and the people within it. When you shop for sustainable jewellery, you can wear your pieces with confidence, knowing where they’ve come from and what they’re made of. 

Invest in high-quality jewellery, made to last

Choosing to invest in high-quality jewellery that is made to last is the first step in being a more sustainable and conscious consumer and making better sustainable jewellery decisions. Conscious consumerism is a big topic, especially with the state of the fast fashion industry, but buying better less often is the way to go if you want to make a positive impact as a consumer. 

Choose sustainably sourced materials

When choosing your next jewellery piece, make sure to check what materials have been used and if they have been sustainably sourced. For instance, opting for sustainably sourced pearls and other embellishments. 

Opt for lab-grown gemstones

Opting for lab-grown gemstones takes out any of the guesswork when it comes to deciding if a piece uses sustainably sourced gemstones. Lab-grown gemstones are cultured within a laboratory setting and use heat and pressure (same as the ones found in the earth) to create stunning gemstones that have all the same properties as the mined version but with a minimal impact on mother earth. 

Choose recycled precious metals

Choosing jewellery that uses recycled precious metals is an amazing way to shop for sustainable jewellery. Precious metals such as silver can be melted down and made into something new, without losing any of its luxurious qualities in the process. Not only does it not contribute to damaging mining practices, but using recycled metals also helps prevent unwanted waste from going to landfill. Precious metals from old jewellery, technology or machinery can all be used to create recycled and sustainable jewellery. 

Shop second-hand or vintage 

Lastly, shopping second-hand or vintage jewellery is a great way to be more sustainable with  your choices. Mixing up new with old and pre-loved not only looks exceptionally cool but is also better for the planet.  

Should you buy sustainable jewellery? 

If you are looking to invest in a new piece of jewellery to add to your collection, then choosing sustainable jewellery that has a minimal environmental and social impact is really important when it comes to protecting our beautiful planet. By buying from sustainable jewellery brands, you’ll be supporting a sustainable movement within the industry that is pushing for more transparency and accountability. 

Sustainable jewellery at Loveness Lee

At Loveness Lee, we’re proud to be a sustainable jewellery brand that does our bit to protect Earth’s beautiful landscapes. We are always inspired by the serendipity of nature, so it’s important for us to have sustainability practices in place to make sure our jewellery is kind to the planet. 

We sustainably source all of our materials, from our freshwater pearls to our precious metals. Our sterling silver is all 100% recycled and we only use lab-grown gems in our designs. When it comes to the production of our jewellery, our talented team handcrafts all designs at our London workshop, with hallmarking and gold-plating carried out locally within the city. Even down to our sustainable packaging, when investing in a Loveness Lee piece be confident that you’re buying a stunning piece that’s sustainably produced and doing right by the planet. 

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