If you’ve been watching any television the past couple weeks, then you’ve seen a major advertising boom by the jewelry industry pushing gold and diamond necklaces, earrings, and rings for Valentines Day. Aside from Christmas, V-Day (or National Solitary Awareness Day, as some call it) is one of the biggest holidays of the year for jewelry sales.
However, much of that jewelry is made from “dirty gold” and “blood diamonds” — terms used to describe gold and diamonds mined by children, exploited workers, and tied to violence and conflicts. But the good news is, there are a number of great places to buy Fair Trade gold and diamond jewelry without sacrificing quality. Here are some of my favorite Fair Trade and ethical jewelry resources:
Arctic Sparkle: They have a selection of fair trade and eco gold jewelry. The company is based in Minnesota and mines diamonds in Canada.
Artisan Wedding Rings: Offers primarily wedding and engagement rings, including gems and gold from small scale and family-owned mining operations in Africa. All precious metals are 100% recycled.
Brilliant Earth: Their diamonds come from Canada, where labor regulations are more worker-friendly than many parts of Africa, and where the diamond industry doesn’t fuel slavery or war. They also feature recycled gold in some of their products.
Pristine Planet: While they focus more on the sustainability and environmental impact of products, they do have a good selection of ethically-sourced diamonds and gold.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started, but the Internet is full of places to buy more ethical jewelry. And if you’re shopping at a jewelry store near you, ask lots of questions about where the the diamonds, gold, and gems came from, and try and find a jeweler who offers some sort of guarantee that no slaves were used in the production of that piece.
As with all places you shop, I strongly encourage you to do your own research on these vendors and choose those which most closely reflect your values. If you’re looking for more information about blood diamonds, dirty gold, and where to find more ethical jewelry, here’s a guide on the subject. Also, you might want to check out this video about the diamond industry in Sierra Leone, and one man’s quest to help promote Fair Trade jewelry and fair wages for the diamond industry in Sierra Leone. Check it out below.
Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar