There’s no escaping the fact that words and phrases like ‘sustainability’, ‘eco friendly’ and ‘ethically made’ have become buzz words in recent years, but what do they actually mean?  I frequently see businesses marketing their products as such, but with very little to back up these claims.  This left me wondering what does it actually means to be a sustainable or eco friendly business?

As the focus on sustainability continues to grow, I thought I would take a little look at sustainability in the jewellery industry and what I am doing to ensure Bijoux & Belle minimises it’s environmental impact.

Gemstones, with their timeless beauty, have been treasured throughout history.  However, the quest for these precious gems has raised concerns about environmental impact, ethical sourcing, and the overall sustainability of the gemstone industry.  I recognise that I am still learning and as such, I regularly review my business practices to see if and where I can make improvements.

This is what I am currently doing:

I only buy high quality gemstones from two trusted suppliers, who I have been buying from for many years (around 20 I think).  Both of these companies have been working with their suppliers for decades.  Many of these places of work have been visited first hand and the working conditions have been seen to be good.  Both of my gemstone suppliers are confident that they are buying from ethical businesses.  Many of the gemstones are purchased direct from the mines themselves and my suppliers know these to be ethically mined with minimal environmental impact.  Some might argue that gemstones should just be boycotted all together, but this would have a hugely detrimental impact on the communities that are supported by the mining of natural gemstones.  

One of the first changes I made was ensuring that all packaging is 100% plastic free, recyclable or biodegradable.  This took considerable effort, but I am delighted with the results!  All Bijoux & Belle jewellery comes beautifully packaged and ready to gift, without harming our environment. 

All consumables (tissue paper, stickers, labels, display cards etc) are made from recycled or FSC certified paper and card, which is recyclable, or cane fibre paper, which is biodegradable.

I re-use postal packaging, so your order might arrive in a previously used box.

Gift cards (and greetings cards) are made from biodegradable seeded paper, which can be planted to grow beautiful wild flowers.  All inks used are water based and the glitter and glue are both biodegradable.

I have also made the change to eco sterling silver where possible, which is 95% recycled sterling silver and 5% ethically mined sterling silver.  The majority of the gold I used is also recycled.  I hope to be able to switch entirely to recycled metals in the very near future, once they are more consistently available.

I have also recently launched an eco friendly collection of recycled sterling silver stacking bracelets, made from recycled sterling silver and recycled glass.  These will all be available on the website shortly.

I make in small batches or to order, so I am not purchasing materials in excessive quantities, thus minimising any potential waste.

In conclusion, not all jewellery or gemstones are created equally, both in terms of quality and sustainability, so it is worth digging a little deeper to see what is really on offer if this is important to you.   It is very easy to throw out the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘eco friendly’ without any further explanation or justification.    For me, being a sustainable or eco-friendly business requires quite a lot more than just paying lip service to these words.  I am 100% committed to ensuring that I continue to do what I can to minimise our environmental impact and to being transparent about what steps I am taking to increase our sustainability so that you, the customer, can make a truly informed choice.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *