The meaning of the word ’green’ has changed in recent years, our first thought is probably not the color but merely an approach to living.There are green options for most things now, including even jewelry. Buyers are not just concerned about looks but where the jewels were sourced including issues like fair trade gold and conflict free gems. The focus of jewelry is often less about reducing consumption but more on ensuring human rights and the environment are protected. There is a pragmatism in many green organisations that jewelry although not a neccesity are a good source of income for poorer countries and societies.
For example conflict free diamonds (also known as blood diamonds) are those produced in countries where the industry funds wars and militia groups.Places like the Congo, Sierra Leone and Angola have experienced conflict and suffering over ownership of these mines. Ordinary citizens are often caught up as innocent bystanders in these brutal battles.
There are a number of organisations who certify ’conflict free diamonds’ though. They don’t certify the diamonds themselves but produce an Audit program which can direct consumers to jewels that are from regions which aren’t involved in financing conflicts.
There is a similar scheme for Fair Trade Gold but this just ensures that the miner themselves have received adequate compensation for their work and the mining does not unduly damage the environment.
Exploitation is common in many of these countries but buying conflict free or Fair Trade means that your purchase has not been created at someone else’s expense.The idea is that these schemes can help reduce overall poverty in a sustainable way. The green movement actively promotes these schemes, allowing people to enjoy fine jewelry in a responsible way – in essence eco friendly jewelry.
However if you want to enjoy jewelry that has even less environmental impact then you need to stop buying things that need to be newly dug from the ground. Antique or vintage jewelry has already been produced and does not involve further environmental impact. Just think of it as recycling but this time not water or glass or paper. Many green designers are also creating jewelry by melting down unwanted rings, bracelets etc to produce their raw materials.