When it comes to accessories, my favourite has to be jewellery, in particular the earrings. Honestly, my earrings are just another part of me. I mean, I can’t even leave my house without them on…and if one day I forget to wear them I feel, well, naked. Maybe this isn’t your case but no matter what kind of jewellery you love, you have to be aware of one thing: most pieces that we own and buy, sadly, haven’t been made under ethical conditions. But why, you may ask, do I need to think about ethics when it comes to jewellery?
Thanks to wonderfully talented Leo DiCaprio and his role in the film Blood Diamond, we all know about diamonds and their often central role in ethical conflicts. From slavery and smuggling to the environmental impact of diamond mines, there is still a long way for that industry to go before we can call it ethical.
But this doesn’t mean that because you don’t buy or wear diamonds you’re in the clear. It’s not as simple as that. There are also concerns over the use of gold, silver, and other metals and gems in the manufacture of jewellery. These too are not responsibly collected and the people involved in their mining and post-production are exploited and forced to work under inhuman conditions. And then, there’s all the pollution and toxic waste that the extraction and processing of these metals and gems generates. It’s that age old story of ‘exploit the land, exploit the people’.
Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom! I have been looking for jewellery brands that are trying to do things differently; brands that are working to create pieces that have a positive impact on the world…and I found this company called ‘MADE’, which has now become my favourite place to shop for jewellery.
The really cool thing about this brand is that it helps communities in Kenya by creating sustainable jobs for their workers. Women and men have been turned into artisans and craftsmen, they’ve been given appropriate training to became professionals so they can maintain a respectful job for the rest of their lives. MADE also helps people in these Kenyan communities develop their own skills and potential as workers, helping them to escape the circle of poverty.
MADE uses recycled materials when possible and they buy all the raw materials locally, supporting the economy and business of the region. I’ve bought 3 pieces from them so far and they are truly stunning. Every time I wear them I get so many compliments I can’t stop blushing 🙂
Another brand I’ve bought a few earrings from is Wolf & Moon. I discovered this brand in a little shop here in Brighton, in the Lanes, and I loved their creations straight away. They are all very delicate and original pieces made with a combination of different materials such as wood and brass. What I like the most about them is that they are not at all heavy; in fact, they feel so light that I’d call them earring perfection!
This brand works out of their studio in London with each piece being hand-made by their professional jewellery makers. They only use sustainable materials (like FSC certified wood), most of their waste is recyclable, and they’re currently working to reduce their consumption of plastic. They also look after their employees (by paying above the London Living Wage). On their website you can see and meet the whole team (photos of them included). Honestly, they’re super inspiring!