Adeela Hameed

Virgin Gold and the Kashmiri Bride

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A Switch to Eco-friendly Jewellery

Living sustainably is one of the most efficient ways to keep our environment healthy. It includes every aspect of our day, and everything we use. From buying organic products to segregating garbage, practising composting to carpooling, every action is a supplement to guard resources on this planet. With the wedding season in tow, much-needed attention is garnered by jewellery. Kashmiri brides, especially, feel incomplete without it. And keeping the trend of sustainability alive, this article dives into the world of eco-friendly jewellery.

Kashmiris and Their Love of Jewellery

Jewellery is the most important aspect, than any other accessory, in our Valley wedding ceremonies. This is because grace and beauty of aKashmiri bride revolves around jewellery. Many families invest in gold, diamonds, rubies and a variety of other stones to adorn their brides. Considering such a large market, it is imperative that we understand other options available which would help reduce impact on our immediate or distant environment, ethically, ecologically, and socially. Floral jewellery is must for one of the ceremonies observed at most weddings. Recognizing how natural materials beautify the bride so graciously, acquiring jewellery that has a more down-to-earth origin makes a lot of sense.

What is Eco-friendly Jewellery?

Jewellery with very less or no impact on the environment, including minimal carbon footprint, is considered eco-friendly. It constitutes ornaments made from recyclable material, synthetic diamonds, gemstones, and pearls. Diamonds synthesized artificially, with minimum carbon footprint, gemstones that require less mining activity, and pearls mined using tropical fish, are some of the definitive examples of eco-friendly jewellery. Vintage jewellery is also considered eco-friendly wear. Regarding ecological impact of jewellery, mined and assembled in industries, is an important step towards eradicating numerous hazards this process has on our environment.

From the Movie – Blood Diamond

Apart from eco-friendly jewellery, another very important aspect to consider, when buying, is whether the jewellery is ethical. So let us understand the ethical aspects of jewellery. Conflict-diamonds is a term most of us must have heard of. Diamonds mined in regions marred by civil war, turmoil, and agitation are referred to as conflict diamonds. The precious stones excavated in such areas are collected by poor workers, who are generally paid less. And in violation of human rights laws, include child labourers as well. Revenue from selling off diamonds, to industries all over the globe, is utilized in purchasing weaponry to further subjugate the occupied land. This is the most important and near-home definition of jewellery that is unethical and exploits the lives of every worker involved.

Ecological Impact of Virgin Jewellery

A lot goes into the preparation of freshly made jewellery found in markets today. If it is gold, the areas rich in gold reserves are mined. About 100% of the time, mining has a negative impact on the area. It results in leaching of a variety of compounds, most of which are harmful to the ecosystem and neighbouring human civilization. Apart from soil erosion, mining releases a lot of obnoxious gases into our atmosphere, resulting in air pollution. With an increase in demand for new, exquisite gold jewellery, more areas are mined regularly leading to an even greater increase in pollution. When considering diamonds, the situation is more threatening. Not just to the environment but manpower involved in mining too.

Ethical and eco-friendly jewellery takes care of the environment, sustaining us all, as well as the people we share equal rights with. After a thorough research, these are some of the upcoming brands in India that sell eco-friendly jewellery; Ananda Soul Creations, No Nasties, Love Darling, Daughters of the Ganges, and Ba No Batwo. All sellers operate online.

Know About Certifications

When talking about sustainable jewellery, certain important certifications should also be taken into consideration.

  1. Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC): It helps establishments of all sizes, all through the jewellery supply chain, meet the ever-rising ethical demands of consumers, competitors, peers, civil society, and financial institutions. It proffers a clear set of standards, commonly referred to as the Code of Practices, which is verified through a third-party. This code, when adhered to properly, forms a path for companies to address sustainable practices and correspond with the 17 United Nations’ SDGs.
  2. Kimberley Process Certification (KPCS): It certifies conflict-free rough diamonds and includes responsible sourcing and backtracking facility. It prevents rough diamonds from entering the legitimate trade.
  3. Fair Trade Certified Mark: It includes backtracking privilege for buyers.
  4. Fair mined Certification: It is an assurance label and certifies gold from responsible small scale mining organizations. This standard also includes requirements for mining organisations to perform responsible operations, labour conditions, environment protection, and traceability. All this is backed up by a rigorous third-party certification and audit system.
  5. SCS Certification: It assures customers that the brand uses recycled metals and gemstones, avoids conflict metals actively, and does not include materials from illegal sources. In addition, it makes sure that the brand follows ethical benchmarks for responsible supply chain.

Using eco-friendly jewellery may seem a far-fetched idea to people, given the lure of pure diamonds and sparkling gold. However, wearing rings, bracelets and chokers completely different from the usual material make a woman look prestigiously elegant. In addition to broadening your taste, you contribute to a safe environment for all. Recycling old novelties, reusing vintage ornaments for important occasions, and reducing use of new jewellery, is the most efficient way to a sustainable and honourable future.

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