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As with most things in life that you’ve never stopped to question, consider the carefully constructed narrative around jewellery as eternal, romantic and a necessary luxury. Then consider the reality that behind the beautiful packaging, the jewellery industry is one of the worst for human rights abuses in the world.

From blood diamonds to forced child labour, it’s no stretch of the imagination to say that your latest purchase could be funding some of the worst atrocities.

To make sure the story behind your jewellery is one that’s kind, it’s so important to demand more from this industry. You can use your purchasing power to make a difference by supporting these 7 ethical jewellery brands in the UK.

My Top Picks

Otiumberg

Monica Vinader

Mejuri

Review Summary

Here are the best ethical & sustainable jewellery brands in the UK

If you’re after a better understanding of the issues and challenges surrounding the jewellery industry, then skip ahead for more info. In the meantime, let’s get straight to it. Here is my pick of conscious jewellery brands in the UK that are worth supporting. Whether you’re shopping for your staple go-to pieces or gathering some engagement ring inspiration – I’ve got you covered!¬†

1. Otiumberg

For us, sustainable fashion means embracing a slower, non-seasonal approach and creating meaningful pieces that can last a lifetime.

  • Categories:¬†Anklets, bracelets, charms, earrings, necklaces, rings, personalisation
  • Pricing:¬†¬£¬£

Sister-duo Otiumberg entered the jewellery industry with a mission to start a transparent brand that considered its impact on both planet and people. Their stunning designs use low impact recycled metals sourced from refineries certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council, including made-to-last materials like 9-karat gold, sterling silver and gold vermeil.

To work towards a circular economy, they have established an accessible recycling scheme, repair process, and each piece comes with a year’s warranty. They are currently looking into responsible mining and how to move beyond the Kimberley Process when sourcing their gemstones, as well as working towards B-Corp certification.

Packaging: Everything about Otiumberg’s packaging has been carefully considered, with zero oil-based plastic or foam used in their jewellery boxes. They have also said goodbye to polybags within their supply chain. They offset their emissions where they currently fall short and publish impact reports.

2. Monica Vinader

We continue to face a climate emergency and the message could not be clearer: we need to take action now. We are not here to tick boxes.

  • Categories:¬†Anklets, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, personalisation
  • Pricing:¬†¬£¬£

Award-winning ethical and sustainable jeweller Monica Vinader have an ambitious sustainability roadmap to deliver targets in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, working with the Watch & Jewellery Initiative and Responsible Jewellery Council to do so.

Their demi-fine jewellery is made from 100% recycled gold and silver. They also offer a 5-year warranty and lifetime repair service, and they have recently introduced a recycling scheme for unwanted jewellery. An industry-first Product Passport program is currently available on a small but growing selection of pieces, allowing you to trace the origin of your jewellery from design to completion. They also engage in various charity and community programs.

Packaging: Monica Vinader use 100% recyclable packaging and reusable pouches when shipping your order.

3. Mejuri

At Mejuri, we’re shifting the focus from traditional archetypes of gifting to buying jewelry for your damn self.

  • Categories:¬†Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings
  • Pricing: ¬£¬£

You’ll find some really beautiful jewellery on Mejuri’s website. And what’s even better? You’ll find a lot of information on their sustainability commitments, too. They go into detail to share their progress with customers and have recently published their first sustainability report.

For the most part, Mejuri uses recycled gold and silver, although they do use some newly-mined materials, too. Their diamonds are Kimberley Process compliant, so a step in the right direction. They are founding partners of re-mining initiative Regeneration and have teamed up with consultants to look at ways of reducing their emissions. Diversity and inclusivity are key parts of their internal culture.

Packaging:¬†Mejuri have been tackling the packaging monster one step at a time. In 2019, they introduced recyclable paper packaging and reusable cotton bags. More recently, they’ve introduced a handy reduced packaging option at the checkout.

4. Little by Little

We not only want to create beautiful jewellery; we also want to make a positive impact through its production.

  • Categories:¬†Bracelets, cufflinks, earrings, necklaces, pendants, rings
  • Pricing: ¬£¬£

Founded in 2015 by friends Annabel Cox (a sustainable jewellery designer) and Georgina Fuggle (an aspiring food writer), Little by Little was born – inspired by the beauty of the natural world. In fact, in many of their gorgeous designs you can see a passion for food shining through. For example, in this sustainably sourced silver Apple Pip Necklace or some gold Kalamata Olive Earrings.

With core values of transparency and responsibility (environmental and social), Little by Little use local Peruvian silver, some of which is recycled, and any virgin metal must adhere to strict environmental certification to ensure that it is ethically produced. Their factory in Lima (Peru) aims to bring opportunity and employment by training locals in the art of jewellery production. In a bid to make their jewellery zero-waste, they also offer a handy repair service.

Packaging:¬†Little by Little’s packaging is 100% recycled and made in the UK.

5. Daisy London

Confidence is the best accessory. Jewellery is the highlight.

  • Categories:¬†Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, personalised
  • Pricing:¬†¬£¬£

London-born and bred, Daisy London create gorgeous, affordable jewellery. Passionate about empowering and celebrating women, they are also a refreshingly female-led team. Daisy identify people, materials and processes as the foundations of their sustainability journey.

They use 100% recycled sterling silver and 18ct gold plating for their collection of gold pieces, as well as working with select, family-owned factories in Italy and Thailand (in keeping with the Responsible Jewellery Council‚Äôs guidelines). They call this circular process ‘The Daisy Chain’. Furthermore, their jewellery is made to last and includes a one-year warranty as standard. As of April 2022, they are carbon positive.

Packaging: Daisy’s packaging is made with FSC-certified materials, and all of it can be reused, recycled or repurposed. I also think it’s a lovely touch that they give you the option to opt for less packaging at the checkout, should you wish.

6. BAR Jewellery

BAR ‚Äď Born from Ambition to create Responsibly.

  • Categories:¬†Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings
  • Pricing:¬†¬£¬£

With star-studded endorsements from the likes of Emma Watson, Meghan Markle and Katy Perry, BAR Jewellery designs timeless pieces that are counter-cultural to fast fashion. And with this list of supporters, you’d be forgiven for thinking that BAR must also have a celebrity price tag (good news, it doesn’t!).

They aim to encourage optimistic innovation and social progress within the jewellery industry through responsible consumption, production and respect for the environment. From their UK studio and facilities to their factories in Thailand and Bali, skilled artisans are paid fair wages with a community-centric focus. They also use recycled metals, vegan and non-toxic polishing compounds, and offer a repolishing and replating service.

Packaging: All packaging from BAR is 100% recycled or FSC-certified, as well as being recyclable and free from plastic. They plan to publish a sustainability report in the near future, so watch this space.

7. Brilliant Earth

We started Brilliant Earth in 2005 to raise the ethical standards of the diamond industry and create a new way to buy beautiful fine jewellery.

  • Categories: Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, wedding & engagement rings, men‚Äôs jewellery
  • Pricing:¬†¬£¬£¬£

For wedding and engagement rings with a conscience, check out Brilliant Earth. As one of the first jewellers to offer blockchain-enabled diamonds at scale, they aim to go beyond conflict-free diamonds and current industry processes by holding themselves accountable to the highest traceability standards.

They also offer lab-grown diamonds (chemically identical to real diamonds), recycled diamonds and recycled precious metals to help minimise their footprint and combat the negative impacts of mining. The Brilliant Earth Foundation was established to aid in programs that are dedicated to improving social and environmental practices; in 2015, they built a mobile school in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Packaging: Their beautiful ring boxes are made with FSC materials and all of their shipping packaging is made from post-consumer recycled content. They have offset their operational carbon emissions since 2018.

What Is an Ethical Jewellery Brand?

In short, an ethical jewellery brand cares about more than just profit. They understand that they have a responsibility to ensure their jewellery is fully traceable back to its source, as well as considering the impact the process has on the environment and workers in their supply chain.

They care about the traceability of their supply chain

TL;DR¬†‚Äď check out the 2006 film Blood Diamonds starring Leonardo DiCaprio for a whirlwind education on the topic. ‚ÄėConflict diamonds‚Äô, as they‚Äôre known in the industry, are mined in areas controlled by rebel groups. This money is then used to buy arms and fund war activities.

Diamonds aside, there are many parallels with the fashion industry. When Western jewellery brands outsource their manufacturing overseas, the minimum wage in these countries is often unethically low and there are no standards in place to ensure worker safety. The resulting poverty inevitably leads to child labour.

An ethical brand will provide traceability of its supply chain, with information regarding the geographical source as well as having audits and checks in place. Other brands may go further and opt to use recycled gold and silver or produce lab-grown diamonds to avoid these troubling sourcing issues altogether.

Environmental damage caused to the environment by the mining industry

They consider their environmental impact

Mining for precious metals and gemstones also has an effect on the natural world, contributing to the destruction of ecosystems, contamination of water sources, deforestation and loss of vegetation.

It is a heavy chemical process that pollutes the land with a highly toxic concoction of mercury and cyanide (to put it into perspective, small-scale mining is the number one source of mercury pollution in the world). This becomes a problem for wildlife and accumulates in local food chains, causing larger social displacement of communities and affecting the long-term health of workers and local people.

If you’re looking for eco-friendly jewellery, ask questions like ‘Who made my jewellery?’ and ‘How was it made?’.¬†A sustainable jewellery brand should be able to answer these questions.

They produce in lower quantities of higher quality

The flip side of the problem is fashion jewellery, which is produced cheaply and quickly loses its gold or silver plating. If you‚Äôve ever felt annoyed that the latch broke on that bracelet your bought for ¬£5, or vaguely wondered why your necklace started turning your skin a weird shade of green, then I get it ‚Äď I‚Äôve been there!

The truth of the matter is that these products simply aren’t made to last and will only end up in landfill, releasing toxic chemicals into the air and taking hundreds of years to degrade. Whilst it‚Äôs tempting to buy cheap, it‚Äôs incredibly wasteful and doesn‚Äôt consider the environmental or human impact of a disposable culture.

Ethical brands will produce in smaller runs of much higher quality, so you can buy pieces to truly last a lifetime.

Ethical and sustainable jewellery in the UK

How to Purchase Jewellery More Ethically

Buy second-hand or vintage jewellery

Rather than bringing something new into the world, why not choose from the abundance of secondhand jewellery already on offer? Personally, I love that vintage jewellery has a story ‚Äď it‚Äôs nice to breathe new life into a previously treasured piece. With no resources used, this is by far and away the most sustainable option.

Quit fast fashion and embrace slow fashion

As with your wardrobe, try to get into the mindset of spending more on fewer pieces in your jewellery collection. You can then prioritise brands that source ethically and sustainably rather than throwing away your money on fast fashion pieces that only end up in the bin.

Choose brands that align with your values

As a first port of call when sussing out a brand, make sure to check out the ‘Story’ / ‘About’ / ‘Mission’ pages on¬†their website and assess whether they¬†align with your own values. Whilst you‚Äôll want to be careful of greenwashing (see next point ‚Äď impact reports and certifications are important, too), this should give you an initial indication as to whether this is a brand you feel good about supporting.

Look for accreditations, transparency & lower impact materials

When attempting to purchase more ethically, it can be hard to distinguish between brands that are talking the talk… and those which are actually walking it. To help you make a considered judgement, here are some ethical and sustainable standards to keep an eye out for:

  • B-Corp certification – The gold standard¬†for measuring a company’s entire social and environmental impact.
  • Blockchain technology – This cutting-edge tech tracks your jewellery‚Äôs full supply chain journey.
  • Impact reports – Look for companies that will openly share their progress with you.
  • Recycled materials – Such as gold, silver and gemstones.
  • Certified gold – This might be fair trade gold, fair mined gold, or better yet, certified ecological gold.
  • Lab-grown diamonds – A manmade method of producing diamonds that doesn‚Äôt require mining.
  • Members of the¬†Responsible Jewellery CouncilAdhere to sustainability standards set within the jewellery industry.
  • Kimberley Process compliant –¬†I‚Äôve put this at the bottom of the list because this accreditation can be problematic (it‚Äôs virtually impossible to enforce). However, it goes some way towards ensuring conflict-free diamonds.
UK ethical jewellery brands

Demand More From the Jewellery Industry With Your Purchasing Power

It can feel overwhelming knowing where to start with jewellery shopping. There is so much¬†choice, expectation and pressure tied up in these pricey little purchases ‚Äď especially when they are intended as gifts or chosen¬†for special once-in-a-lifetime occasions.

Narrowing your selection down to sustainable brands is a great way to start being intentional about the process. It will also feel so much better knowing that your jewellery isn‚Äôt just a beautiful object ‚Äď it has a kinder story behind it, too. Don‚Äôt believe the marketing hype and be silently complicit in exploitative systems. Instead, make a powerful statement with¬†how you choose to spend your money,¬†supporting innovative brands that are working towards a brighter future.

If you’re looking for ethical alternatives when it comes to your wardrobe and cosmetics, then check out my recommendations for:

And don‚Äôt forget to let me know your favourite places to buy jewellery ‚Äď are there any shining ethical brands I need to know about?

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