As we all seek to be better people and more aware of the way the world works, we’ve come to realize that too many of the luxury goods we love come at a horrific price. Diamonds and precious gems and metals especially. Luckily there are brands out there who are dedicated to providing us with bling that is conflict-free, sustainable, and ethically sourced.
Zankyou has picked our top three favorite brands who represent our values and provide us with sparkle that isn’t mined at the expense of others or our earth.
Co-founded by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg, Brilliant Earth was created when Beth was about to be engaged and she experienced the challenge of finding a conflict-free engagement ring that represented her values. Eric, through his research at Stanford, became impassioned with the idea that responsibly-sourced jewelry could be an effective tool for social change in developing countries.
Assembling a team of dedicated jewelry designers, sales associates, and gemologists, Brilliant Earth seeks to provide exceptional jewelry that their customers can feel good about wearing.
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“Our customers, too, are part of our community. It is with our customers’ help that we are cultivating a more humane jewelry industry, one stunning piece of jewelry at a time.”
What sets Brilliant Earth apart from other jewelers that offer conflict free diamonds is that the company doesn’ t limit their requirements to the Kimberley Process’s definition alone, which limits “conflict diamonds” as diamonds that finance rebel movements against recognized governments – unfortunately this leaves out large numbers of diamonds that are tainted by violence, human rights abuses, poverty, and environmental degradation. That’s not enough for Brilliant Earth, who make sure that their diamonds are ethically sourced and originate from mines that adhere to strict labor, trade, and environmental standards.
Brilliant Earth is also dedicated to providing education and support to the communities that they work with. They recently funded a new primary school in Lungudi, a diamond-mining community in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As many mining communities don’t have local schools, many of the children are forced to mine for diamonds and receive no formal education. Click the link to learn more about the Brilliant Earth Mobile School.
It all began in 2006 with a simple question: where does the gold used in our jewelry come from? Being able to answer that question both for themselves and for their clients became a mission which led Fair Trade Jewellery Co. to a small group of artisanal miners in Colombia from whom they started purchasing gold which had sustainably mined. A documentary, The Last Goldrush, has since been filmed about the journey can be on the site.
Fast forward today and Fair Trade Jewellery Co. is one of the most certified jewelry companies in the world. They design, manufacture, retail and wholesale work all over the world.
What does “one of the most certified” mean? Well, not only is Fair Trade Jewellery Co. is a certified B Corp company, meaning they have gone through a long audit process where they had to detail how their products are made, how they pay workers, how they effect positive social change in their local communities, they are also the first jeweler in North America to use Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold. They are also members of the the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), an industry-led group of jewelers that sets the highest standard for ethical practices on both a product and management level, and the American Gem Society (AGS), an organization that is based upon education and consumer protection.
Luxury doesn’t have to cost the earth. That’s what Arabel Lebrusan, a specialist in bespoke and limited edition jewels, believes. Arabel is an award-winning designer who creates unique bespoke pieces through her fresh interpretations of traditional jewelry making techniques and was one the very first Fairtrade Gold licensees.
Ethical is at the heart of everything Arabel does: the designer is committed to ensuring that no environmental damage or human rights violations have occurred in the sourcing and mining of the materials she works with.
In addition to holding a prestigious Masters in Jewelry Design from Central Saint Martins and a Bachelors degree in Fine Art from the University of Madrid, Arabel previously as worked as the Creative Director of Leblas Jewellery, the first ethical jewelry boutique on Sloane Street, London before launching her eponymous brand.
Working with local artisans and finding the most socially, environmentally and culturally responsible sources is how Arabel can guarantee providing her customers with jewelry that is beautiful both inside and out, and most importantly, jewelry that helps make the world a better place.