Sustainable Gemstones: What Makes a Gem Planet-Positive? (Guide)

Today you’ll often encounter jewelry brands marketing products as being created in an environmentally sound way.

This sounds good in isolation, but like most marketing methods it’s also one which can be misused by the less scrupulous operators out there to mislead consumers, or misrepresent the reality of products that are on offer.

With that in mind, let’s talk about a few of the only things which legitimately make it possible for precious gems, both mined and lab created, to be deemed environmentally sound and why this matters.

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing Sustainable Gemstones & Jewelry

1. The Issue of Emissions

First and foremost, modern consumers need to be clued up on how the buying decisions they make impact the amount of carbon and other potentially harmful particles that are emitted into the atmosphere during manufacturing.

For mined gems, the reality is problematic. A vast amount of energy needs to be expended in order to extract, transport, and process them before they can end up pretty as a picture as part of a finished piece of jewelry.

Thankfully with a choice of lab-grown diamonds created in zero net emissions foundries, like those from VRAI, such concerns can be minimized, and sparkling jewels are available guilt-free.

Furthermore, companies like VRAI push the sustainable envelope even further by integrating recycled gold in the creation of their jewelry.

This is something we’ll touch on in more detail later, but the main takeaway is that the gap between mined gems and lab-grown equivalents is vast and growing from an ecological perspective, so conscientious shoppers really can make a difference here if they want to.

diamond ring

2. The Appeal of Circularity

A diamond ring is said to represent the everlasting relationship between two people, and yet there’s also a new meaning that can be ascribed to a standard circular band if the focus is turned to environmentally positive purchasing decisions.

The jewelry industry is moving towards more of a circular economy, along with many other industries, in order to keep up with the kinds of demands being placed upon it by consumer trends in the face of the climate crisis.

This circularity means rather than always buying new, a truly conscientious choice is to choose pre-loved gems that are back on the market after being enjoyed by their previous owner.

If a piece of jewelry already exists, then the emissions and ecological impact of its original production are long in the past, and so re-selling it makes a very limited contribution to the issue of climate change today.

An offshoot of this trend for second-hand and vintage jewelry is that consumers are compelled to only hang onto pieces they purchase for as long as they are useful.

Rather than wearing a gem once and then locking it up for decades, it’s more forward-thinking and green to get it back in circulation, so that supply doesn’t become a limiting factor.

circular economy symbol

3. The Role Played by Politics

It would be impossible to talk about this topic without touching briefly upon the political and humanitarian worries that plague the jewelry industry, and which have only really become a headline topic for debate among average shoppers in recent years.

Aside from the environmental cost that comes with mining gems from far-flung corners of the globe, there’s also the very real fear that usually it’s common for exploitative labor practices to be used as part of the extraction.

Once again the rise of lab-grown gems is in part explained by the fact that growing diamonds in labs on home turf, rather than relying on overseas operators to source them in a sketchy way, removes the potential for exploitation and suffering.

So whether your primary concern is reducing emissions, limiting waste or avoiding any toll on human workers in the supply chain, choosing environmentally advantageous gems in any form is a clear choice.

4. The Power of Responsible Consumer Choices

It’s essential to remember that you, the buyer, hold a significant amount of influence in shaping the jewelry industry.

By opting for forward-thinking options when purchasing jewelry items, you send a clear message to manufacturers and retailers about your values and priorities. It’s why there are so many great environmentally aware companies today.

When shopping for jewelry pieces, do some research on brands before making purchases. Look for companies that prioritize environmental responsibility and fair labor practices.

This not only helps lessen the ecological impact but also supports businesses striving to make a positive difference.

Moreover, spreading awareness among family and friends can encourage them to make informed buying decisions too. Sharing information on available alternatives demonstrates how each purchase contributes towards promoting better standards within the industry as a whole.

Remember, each conscious choice plays an important role in inspiring change across the market. That’s why many believe that lab-grown gemstones will eventually usurp mined diamonds.

It’s not just that big companies are pushing for this change, but rather they are being led by consumers, and are having to adapt as values shift with time.

5. The Future of Progressive Jewelry Innovations

As the demand for environmentally responsible products grows, innovative advancements in the jewelry world are on the rise. One significant trend involves using recycled materials to craft beautiful and pro-planet pieces. For instance, incorporating recycled metals like gold and silver can lessen mining-related environmental impacts without compromising style.

In addition to materials, harnessing renewable energy sources during production processes contributes positively by reducing emissions related to fossil fuel consumption. Some companies invest in solar or wind-powered facilities, ensuring their crafting activities have a minimal carbon footprint.

Another exciting development is collaborations between designers and suppliers who share similar environmental goals. Such partnerships help create stunning collections that uphold high environmental standards while also raising awareness within the industry about achievable innovations shaping a greener future.

These efforts bring us closer to an era where jewelry transcends aesthetics alone, reflecting our commitment to preserving the planet’s well-being too.

Jewelry making with molten metal

Sustainable Gemstones & Jewelry: The Bottom Line

In essence, making deliberate choices like, choosing lab created gemstones, when purchasing jewelry reflects a growing awareness of our impact on the environment.

By understanding emissions, supporting circularity and ethical sourcing practices, and staying informed about industry innovations, consumers can drive positive change in the jewelry market.

Together, we play an essential role in shaping a more responsible future for this beautiful form of self-expression while safeguarding our planet for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do lab-grown diamonds minimize environmental concerns compared to mined gems?

Lab-grown diamonds, such as those from VRAI, are created in a zero net emissions foundry which significantly reduces the carbon footprint associated with traditional diamond production. This guilt-free alternative provides a positive option to address climate change while still allowing you to enjoy flawless jewels.

What role does circularity play in making more environmentally aware choices when purchasing jewelry?

The concept of circularity emphasizes using pre-loved gems instead of always buying new ones. By choosing second-hand or vintage jewelry, consumers can limit their contribution to the issue of climate change since older pieces have already been produced and their ecological impact is now in the past.

Are there innovations happening within the industry that promote environmentally responsible products?

Yes, several advancements are on the rise within the jewelry world that prioritize environmentally friendly creations. These include using recycled materials like gold and silver, harnessing renewable energy sources for production processes, and collaborations between designers who share similar environmental goals. These efforts contribute towards encouraging greener practices within this industry.

As a consumer, how can I drive positive change toward sustainable practices in purchasing jewelry?

You make a difference by staying informed about responsible companies focusing on environmental issues and fair labor practices within the jewelry industry. By supporting these brands and making conscious purchasing decisions, you can send a clear message about your values and priorities. Additionally, raising awareness among friends and family members can inspire them to make more informed buying choices too, together contributing to overall better standards in the jewelry market.

References

Smithsonian: Diamonds Unearthed

The Guardian: Lab-Grown Diamonds and Climate Change

Gem Society: Sustainable Alternative to Diamond Mining

UN: The Climate Crisis We Can Win

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