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With this ring
Q. How do we check for sustainable, eco-friendly options when it comes to choosing our rings and wedding jewellery?
A. Charlotte Cornelius says: Charlotte says: If the perfect jewellery for you is one that has impeccable ethical credentials then it will take some research. Doing the right thing and making a difference is all about having the knowledge to get behind the headlines of what is actually happening on the ground, as it can be easy for companies to 'green-wash' their products without being able to substantiate their claims. It's still a work in progress, however there is a huge groundswell of support from consumers, as well as campaigners within the global jewellery industry, for full transparency and sustainability.
To help you choose, here are some key questions to consider:
Where is your jewellery made? Being handmade locally or in Britain is one of the best ways of ensuring quality with proper skills training, environment, fair conditions and pay for workers. Beware of the 'designed in the UK' label and check the small print to see where the actual manufacture and/or stone setting is done as it may be an unregulated factory in the Far East, using cheap materials and labour.
Where are the diamonds sourced? Established jewellers are more likely to know their gem and diamond dealers personally and have a long and trusted relationship in order to make sure their diamonds are conflict-free; not 'blood diamonds' used to buy arms or fund civil wars.
Are coloured gemstones traceable? Gems such as sapphires, emeralds and rubies can be bought from ethical dealers who can offer fully traceable precious stones.
What is the environmental impact of gold, silver and platinum? Mining can take its toll on the environment and the availability of fully Fairtrade and Fairmined gold is still limited. Fairtrade gold has to be certified or you can have freshly smelted and processed recycled gold and silver in your rings.
Can I repurpose and remodel existing heritage jewellery? This is one of the best ways to be truly sustainable and have high quality jewellery to last for generations to come. The stones and metal from inherited jewellery or sentimental pieces can often be redesigned and remodelled to create something new and unique to treasure for ever – the ultimate in enduring love for you and our precious environment.
Charlotte Cornelius, Charlotte Cornelius