HOW ETHICAL IS YOUR JEWELLERY? – by Ali Gray (Elle U.K. – December 8, 2017)

If you’re not asking questions about your gemstones, now’s the time to start

Thanks partly to Paris Hilton and the Ab Fab ladies, excessive opulence was everywhere during the ’90s and early ’00s. The “bling” mentality was the cultural norm ā€“ and, when it came to jewellery, many consumers were more concerned with the status it brought them than where the stones were sourced.

But over the past decade, the tides have been turning. Our stronghold on materialism has relaxed, making way for a generation that’s favouring more considered purchases.

When it comes to jewellery, that added consideration has led to an increased demand for ethical gemstones. If you saw the 2006 film Blood Diamond and began to question your own jewellery collection, you’re not alone. The impact from the Leonardo DiCaprio drama seemed to add to a conversation that was already gaining traction. More and more women were receiving the message: our jewellery decisions matter.

“People are demanding transparency and brand accountability,” explains Livia Firth, the founder and creative director of EcoAge, a consultancy company supporting sustainable business across the developing world (and wife of actor Colin Firth). “It’s not right anymore not to know. For jewellery, we should ask more questions.”

To find out more, we decided to do exactly that ā€“ ask more questions.

What does ‘ethical jewellery’ actually mean?

If you’ve ever been guilty of just nodding along when the word “ethical” is thrown out in conversation – without actually understanding the usage ā€“ then raise your hand. Us too. But, most often, the issues focus on three things: treatment of the workers, effect on local communities and environmental impact of the mines.

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