The jewellery industry has had its fair share of ethical issues. From poor working conditions to environmental damage and people displacement caused by mining precious materials, it still has a fair amount to do to clean up its act.
Luckily, there are ethical jewellery brands out there that enable you to make a good choice for your loved one – and the planet. If you don’t have anyone on your shopping list this year, why not practise a little self-love during this challenging start to the year by treating yourself to a gift instead.
From sustainably-sourced necklaces and cruelty-free watches to diamonds that don’t cost the Earth, here’s our top 5 ethical jewellery gifts for Valentine’s Day 2021.
Kind Jewellery makes beautifully crafted, eco-friendly necklaces and rings. Each piece is handmade in London by founder Tansy Haak, making them 100 per cent sweat shop free. She only uses responsibly sourced materials, including 100 per cent recycled, Fairmined© & Fairtrade precious metals.
Any components which cannot be sourced in this way come from accredited Hatton Garden suppliers who are regularly audited by the Responsible Jewellers Council, or can provided evidence that their materials are ethically produced. This means that any newly mined gold or silver used has to come from mines which adhere to standards regarding human rights, environmental impact and working practices.
Kind Jewellery supports global charity One Tree Planted by donating one tree for every piece of jewellery made.
Ingle & Rhode offers an ethical alternative to traditional luxury jewellery brands. Its story began in 2006 when founder David Rhode was looking for an engagement ring but couldn’t find a jeweller who could tell him where their diamonds had come from, or the conditions under which their jewellery was produced.
The brand offers a range of classic, art deco and vintage styles, as well as a bespoke design service. You can choose from lab-grown or ethically-minded Canadian diamonds, recycled platinum and recycled gold from a refinery in the US, and Fairtrade gold from cooperative producers in South America.
UK-based Votch is a cruelty-free watch and accessories brand. It was launched after founder Laura Way suffered topical steroid withdrawal, a condition that caused her skin start to peel away. During her recovery, Laura read up on animal welfare, discovering shocking facts about the leather industry. Seeing the pain the animals suffered for fashion, and feeling the pain of her own skin falling away, she vowed never to wear animal skin again. When she then struggled to find a replacement vegan strap for her watch, the idea for Votch was born.
Laura personally visited the factories of suppliers she wanted to work with, choosing the one with the highest standards for employees. She uses sustainable, ethically-sourced materials including a natural leather made from pineapple leaves.
Every three months, Votch donates 10 per cent of its profits to charities working towards a kinder way of living.
Fine jewellery brand Kimaï has a ‘recycle not resource’ philosophy, proving that diamonds don’t have to cost the Earth. By creating lab-grown diamonds that are physically and chemically identical to the mined versions, Kimaï cuts out mining and its harmful effects altogether.
Each piece of jewellery is made to order so no materials are wasted. Its 18k gold is 100 per cent recycled to protect the finite amount of precious metal left.
Founded in 1998, HK Jewellery was the first jewellers in the world to be both licensed to sell Fairtrade gold and audited by the Responsible Jewellery Council.
The brand, which sells bespoke engagement, eternity and wedding rings as well as dress jewellery, is dedicated to finding the most responsible sources for its materials, whilst championing proper design and craftmanship.