When it comes to sustainable or eco-friendly fine jewellery, people consider many factors before purchasing, including who made it? Where did it come from? Will they be able to wear the piece for generations to come?
Before the whole eco-awareness era came about, traditional jewellery was sourced from mining precious metals often using unfair labour practices. There are even so-called “blood diamonds”, where gems are mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency.
Fortunately, we can still put a bit of sparkle in our style thanks to the increasing global focus on sustainability, specifically in the fashion industry, which has raised awareness of the environmental impacts of jewellery that we adorn ourselves with.
Viable Earth has created a list of some of the ethical and eco-friendly fine jewellery brands you can find in Europe (our team did some research, so you don’t have to).
What makes sustainable jewellery?
Ethical and eco-friendly jewellery refers to transparent and responsible sourcing in the supply chain and the use of sustainable materials. It has minimal environmental impact and offers labourers fair wages and safe working conditions. Here are some types of jewellery to consider:
- Recycled jewellery: This doesn’t require mining and uses old precious metals like gold, silver, or bronze. They can easily be melted and transformed into new pieces.
- Lab-grown gems: Instead of mining sparkly diamonds, laboratory machines use the same heat and pressure to produce synthetic gems that have similar, if not the same, qualities to their natural counterparts.
- Sustainable jewellery: Accessories made from renewable and sustainable alternative materials such as sustainably sourced wood, stone, or ceramic.
Ethical and eco-friendly fine jewellery brands in Europe
Product range: Pendants, necklaces, bracelets, rings, piercings, earrings.
Douze offers modern jewellery designs made from recycled 18-karat gold using ethically sourced gemstones. Everything is made in the company’s workshop in France and shipped anywhere in Europe. The brand also allows customers to design their jewellery pieces.
Ethics: Recycled metals, ethically sourced gems, fair trade.
Product range: Brooches, bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces.
The products from this German brand are sourced from independent artisans and small family businesses worldwide, including in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. All pieces are inspired by timeless handcrafted techniques using local materials and contemporary design. The brand uses 100 per cent gold-plated brass, sterling silver, gold-plated silver, and ethically-sourced gemstones.
Ethics: Natural renewable materials, handmade, fair trade.
Product range: Earrings, rings, necklaces.
Established in 2017, Norrfolks was one of the region’s first fine sustainable jewellery brands using 100 per cent recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds. The diamonds are sourced from Belgium, while the gold is collected from post-consumer waste. The pieces boast minimalist and timeless designs that can pair well with any outfit. The products are ethically handmade by Alfonso, a third-generation manufacturer in Spain.
Ethics: Lab-grown diamonds, handmade, recycled, fair trade.
Product range: Bangles, cuffs, chokers, earrings, rings, pendants.
The eco-friendly jewellery brand boasts a unique aesthetic inspired by art and nature. Co-founded by designer couple Christopher James and Antonia Pascale, all pieces are handcrafted in London using only recycled metals and fairly obtained gems.
Ethics: Recycled sterling silver, fairtrade gold, lab-grown diamonds, “conflict-free” diamonds.
Product range: Bracelets, earrings, pendants, rings, necklaces.
This Scandinavian fine jewellery brand designs minimalist jewellery using recycled 18-carat gold and 925 sterling silver. It is known for using responsibly sourced blackwood diamonds made from African blackwood (Mpingo). The black diamonds offer a lustrous shine despite being made from wood.
Ethics: FSC-certified, recycled materials, fair trade, renewable gems.
Product range: Piercings, bracelets, brooches, earrings, cuffs, necklaces, rings.
Designer and multi-award winner, Gina Melosi, handcrafts jewellery made from “broken and abandoned objects” such as post-consumer silver, bronze, or pink silver (a combination of copper and silver) and adorns them with ethically sourced gems.
Ethics: Fair labour, handcrafted, recycled metals, responsibly sourced gems.
Product range: Bracelets, rings, earrings, necklaces.
The brand’s pieces are made from 100 per cent recycled silver from Scandinavia. The jewellery is handcrafted by local goldsmiths who work under fair labour conditions.
Ethics: Recycled silver, fair trade.
Product range: Bracelets, earrings, pendants, necklaces.
The timeless pieces designed by founder Helge Maren offer sustainable luxury using recycled 18 karat gold, 925 silver, and lab-grown gems exclusively. In addition, all accessories are made to order to ensure no material goes to waste.
Ethics: Handmade, fair trade, vegan, plastic-free, recycled, made-to-order.
Product range: Earrings, rings, pendants, necklaces.
Fine jewellery maker Leni Adam designs his creation using recycled metals and gemstones responsibly sourced from the Swiss Alps, such as amethysts, quartz, and rock crystals. All pieces are handmade in Olten.
Ethics: Oeko-certified gold, handmade, responsibly sourced gems, responsible jewellery council certified.
Product range: Anklets, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings.
Based in London, the jewellery studio creates contemporary and conceptual jewellery using recycled metals like 925 silver blended with recycled gold. All materials are ethically sourced within the UK, and each piece is made to order.
Ethics: Made to order, recycled materials, fair trade, handcrafted jewellery.
Product range: necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and wedding and engagement rings
Karaat is a Finnish diamond jewellery brand that seeks to make sustainable, long-lasting jewellery using lab-grown diamonds and 18-karat recycled solid gold.
The brand’s pieces are handcrafted by goldsmiths in Milan, Italy, Antwerp, and Belgium.
Ethics: Lab-grown diamonds, handmade, recycled solid gold, women-led.
While numerous brands offer eco-friendly and ethical jewellery pieces, there are other alternatives to sparkle sustainably, such as borrowing or loaning an item only when needed or shopping second-hand in pawnshops where you can save the planet and your wallet.