Mother Earth Living

How Eco-Friendly is Your Jewelry?

Make a statement with eco-friendly jewelry, such as conflict-free diamonds, recycled silver and gold, vintage, antique jewelry and natural stones and gems.
By Natural Home Staff
January/February 2006
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GreenKarat’s Kindred Souls wedding bands are hand cast in recycled 18K white or yellow gold.
Photo Courtesy GreenKarat

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How eco-friendly is your jewelry? Get the information you need so you can scope out eco-friendly jewelry. Wearing a necklace, bracelet, or ring makes a statement: “I’m married,” “I have style,” or “I can afford precious things.” Your jewelry can also say, “I care about environmental and human welfare.”

Gold: Greed behind the glitter


• Mining destroys local ecosystems and creates toxic waste—including mercury, arsenic, and cyanide, which poison waterways and create health hazards for people, animals, and birds.

• Gold refineries use lots of water and dangerous chemicals.


• Buy recycled. GreenKarat, a company committed to ending destructive gold and diamond mining, sells only 100 percent recycled gold and cultured diamonds and uses a zero-discharge refinery.

• Sell unwanted jewelry so its precious metals can be recycled. GreenKarat estimates enough gold has already been mined to satisfy demand for the next fifty years.

• Wear antique jewelry. Buy from local vintage or estate sellers.

Diamonds aren't a girl's best friend


• In African countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, the diamond trade finances civil wars and fuels human rights abuses, coining the term “conflict” or “blood” diamonds.

• Diamond mining causes massive ecological damage, whether diamonds are taken from open pits or dug from under riverbeds.


• Buy conflict-free diamonds. The diamond industry’s Kimberley Process certifies that diamonds are conflict-free, but because the system isn’t independently monitored, conflict gems still enter the market. Diamonds from Canada are conflict-free and ethically produced, although environmental damage from mining is still a concern.

• Opt for “lab-grown” or “cultured” diamonds. Real diamonds created with high pressure and temperatures in laboratories are identical to natural gems.

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