The right kind of earrings can really take your look to the next level, but sometimes those “precious metals" like gold, silver and platinum aren't so precious. Calm down, don’t rip them out of your ears…yet. We’ll take some time here to chat about a few things that can help add ethical earrings to your collection. Like:
What is ethical jewelry?
How are ethical earrings eco-friendly?
Which companies can you shop at to snag your new favorite pair of ethical earrings?
So what is ethical jewelry?
To keep it simple, ethical jewelry is made with people and the planet’s best interests in mind. That means that the talented human being who made your favorite hoops is paid enough money to stay out of poverty, and they’re not intentionally put in unhealthy work environments. It means the studs you want to get your bestie for their birthday don’t pollute the water, air and soil in the communities where they’re produced.
Big box companies love to greenwash consumers with the words eco-friendly and sustainability. They’ll make vague claims about how “good” their products are for the world, with no real data to back it up. Jewelry that’s truly ethical can be traced back to their original sources, and the brands are transparent with their supply chains. While slave labor is definitely an issue in the U.S., products made in developing countries tend to be made in unsafe working conditions, with very little pay using materials that are harmful to workers and their communities. It may be hard to believe, but slavery still exists and it’s usually referred to as human trafficking - and countries like Haiti, Mexico and Thailand are known for exploiting workers, especially women, to produce jewelry.
With Fair Trade certifications and practices, consumers can shop for their new favorite pieces with a clear mind. Fair Trade is a general description for items produced ethically with principles like living wages, safe working conditions, environmental protection and community development. Some businesses go through a process to get a seal of approval from third party organizations, and others proudly list all materials and resources on their websites and products so buyers can see for themselves.
DoneGood.com vets every brand on our site, so you never have to worry about if the earrings you love are made with love. Vi Bella, which means “beautiful life”, employs artisans in Haiti and Mexico which helps them build life and career skills that create and maintain stability. So not only do their handmade earrings made with recycled materials add beauty to your life, they create a beautiful life for someone else too.
How are ethical earrings eco-friendly?
With ethical earrings, environmental rights are just as big of a deal as human rights since taking care of the planet we all live on, is also part of taking care of our people. Fast fashion companies are able to mass produce earrings, because of the cheap and toxic materials used to quickly create them. These chemicals leak into the local soil and water systems that’s used as drinking water and to grow food. Low-cost earrings aren’t the only ones with negative effects. As beautiful as they are, the mining of gold, silver and platinum requires a lot of water waste and pollution, air pollution and damage to ecosystems. And since jewelry trends quickly come and go, a lot of earrings end up in a landfill.
Brands like Fair Anita recycle precious metals to create brand new and timeless pieces, like these arrowhead sterling studs made by women in India. Not only are they super cute, they’re also free of nickel which can cause allergic reactions. Plus, a pair of recycled or upcycled earrings actually helps the environment, since they stopped something else from making it to a landfill. And since gold and silver don’t lose their qualities, recycling them to use again is just as nice the second (or third or fourth) time around!
In addition to using recycled materials, ethical earrings are made with other sustainable and eco-friendly materials like:
Stainless Steel is 100% recyclable and products made with it are usually made from scraps. It’s another metal, like silver and gold, that doesn’t lose value when it’s reused. So if you or someone you know has a crafty side, stainless steel can be melted and reshaped into something else. These restoring justice hoops provide dignified employment to victims of human trafficking and support their journey to healing and freedom.
Volcano Wood + Resin Statement Earrings from Fair AnitaSterling Silver isn’t produced through mining like silver and gold. On top of the toxic fumes and chemicals caused by mining, it can also be a dangerous work environment. Sterling silver is another material that can be recycled over and over again without losing its quality.
Huggie Tube Hoops from Kind Karma are made by at-risk and homeless youth in Toronto. The opportunity to create jewelry helps the artisans build their futures, so they can continue to inspire future generations.
Don’t worry, we have hoops of all sizes and colors for all your everyday, girls’ night out, work, and date night needs! Check Out More Ethically Made Hoops Here in DoneGood’s Hoops Collection.Ear Jacket Studs from Starfish Project provides education, counseling, outreach programs, shelter and more awesome opportunities for women and girls, who are also survivors of human trafficking. This pair of earrings (also in white gold) provides a week of safe childcare for women in the program.
If the ear jacket studs aren’t your jam, check out more sustainably made earring studs.
Lola Dangle Earrings from Astor & Orion are created with the help of third party certified manufactures. This means the factories meet requirements including, but not limited to: no child labor being used, paying living wages and no excessive working hours. Their earrings are also shipped from their manufacturers in compostable bags, and then to customers in 100% cotton pouches with recycled mailing boxes and recycled paper labels.
Check out more styles of ethical dangle ethical earrings from a few different brands here.