Have you ever wondered where your jewelry comes from? Where does the gold come from and how is it mined? How are the diamonds extracted from the earth and how are they sold? How does the harvesting of the pearls affect the environment? Unfortunately, the jewelry industry has a long and ugly history of environmental destruction, human rights abuse, and issues with fair trade. In general, there is nothing eco-friendly about it.
That's why it's so important to understand that you can make a big difference in the world by supporting businesses that deal in eco friendly jewelry, which is manufactured using socially and environmentally responsible methods. More and more jewelry companies are discovering that yes, they can make money by selling eco friendly necklaces, earrings, and wedding rings. They are realizing that more and more people are supporting environmentally responsible businesses – they are putting their money where their ideals are.
The gold mining industry has a poor track record when it comes to labor practices, safety standards, and respect for indigenous peoples, in addition to environmental destruction. It takes a tremendous amount of destructive force to tear open the earth and extract the precious metals and gemstones found below. Gold mining is particularly harmful because of the mercury and cyanide used in the gold mining process, which contaminates groundwater sources and destroys the health of the mine workers, people in nearby communities, and local wildlife.
By choosing to buy jewelry made from eco friendly gold, you can help to reduce the environmental and social damage caused by conventional gold-mining. One of the most practical ways to do this is to select jewelry made from recycled gold. By simply buying recycled gold that has already been mined, you reduce the destructive impact of such practices by eliminating your financial support.
Conflict diamonds, also known as "blood diamonds", are so named because their sale provides funding for devastating wars and violence in Africa. They are responsible for the direct loss of millions of lives. On top of the loss of human life, blood diamonds are linked to human rights abuses such as worker exploitation and violence. Even worse, they are mined using methods that cause tremendous environmental damage. Eco friendly jewelry can never be made by using conflict diamonds.
It is difficult to find a conflict free diamonds because it's hard to guarantee that they are mined in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. However there are sources, such as in Canada, where eco friendly diamonds are mined in accordance with strict environmental regulations, and free of the problems of human rights abuse and violence.
Eco Friendly Pearls
The production of conventional pearls does not fare much better than that of diamonds or gold when it comes to ecological damage. Many current techniques employed on pearl farms results in environmental havoc, depletion of species, and destruction of ecosystems by the use of high-powered hoses to clean the oysters. It is also common practice to cultivate pearls by using mussel nuclei, thus depleting native mussel populations.
Environmental damage is reduced or eliminated by using eco friendly pearl farming techniques. Kamoka pearl farms in Tahiti, for example, clean their pearls naturally by using different species of native tropical fish. Using natural methods such as this are both labor and cost effective. It also helps to protect the environment by encouraging support of native fish populations.