Sustainability is a buzzword in the jewelry industry, but unfortunately, there are no set standards for what constitutes sustainable jewelry. Some jewelers use the term to describe products made from recycled or waste materials, or those that incorporate transparent practices to reduce emissions and prevent environmental destruction.

Recycling precious metals such as silver and gold is a sustainable practice as they can be easily melted and reformed into new pieces of jewelry without losing their qualities. Recycled jewelry is better for the environment because it does not require mining, the use of cyanide solvents, or cause environmental damage. It also gives a second life to antique or damaged jewelry and encourages consumers to value precious metals.

Ethically-sourced gems are the second-best option for sustainable jewelry. Brands that incorporate transparency into their sourcing practices demonstrate fair pay practices, workers’ rights, health and safety, and protocols to deal with environmental impacts.

Lab-grown diamonds are becoming increasingly popular, especially among millennials, as they are produced without the environmental and humanitarian catastrophes associated with mined diamonds. Although lab-grown diamonds require a lot of energy to power the machines used to produce them, some companies have become certified carbon neutral and only use renewable energy to power their operations.

When it comes to sustainable jewelry brands, consumers can fast-track their research by reading guides on which brands to look out for. These guides have been vetted according to the criteria outlined in this article. By choosing sustainable jewelry, consumers can make a positive impact on the environment and support ethical practices in the industry.