Did you know that there is such a thing as an eco-aware jeweller and sustainable jewellery? It’s true and I am an ECO aware jeweller based down in Brighton, UK.
When planning a wedding and planning an eco-wedding, couples often overlook their wedding jewellery included their wedding rings. I’ve even had couples completely forget about wedding rings until 4 days before their big day! So I’m going to give you a little helping hand and provide a little insight into the world of more sustainable/eco-friendly options
· Use recycled golds.
That is right, we jewellers can buy in gold bullion that is 100% recycled. Meaning no new mining needed to take place to produce your rings.
It is still recycling but it is using jewellery that you and your family already own but do not wear. Jewellery is made to be loved and worn, so if something is sat in a jewellery box why not use that to make something extra special. You can reuse everything from the metal to the stones depending on the designs. The other bonus of remodelling is you just have the remodelling costs to cover unless extra metal is needed, meaning you could save a lot of money. It is also a lovely way to include family heirlooms and all the lovely memories associated with an item into your new wedding rings. Which they themselves will one day become family heirlooms which again can be reused and loved time and time again.
· Choose small batch or made to order design.
Large retail and high street jewellers buy their jewellery or raw materials in vast qualities. By doing this they get a much lower price, but this means that vast amounts of precious materials (and all the work to produce it) are just sat in stock boxes and in production lines. Going small batch or made to order means only the raw materials that needed are being used.
· Research the jewellers’ practices.
There sadly can be a lot of nasty chemicals in jewellery manufacturing and it is something that I have struggled with over the years but there are natural alternatives which can be used. For example, the nasty cleaning chemicals which we use as pickle to clean jewellery after soldering and heating a piece can be replaced with the natural alternative citric acid, this is just one example. All packaging can be 100% made from recycled materials and can be composed yet are still incredibly beautiful, or are they still using plastic? Also do they off set their CO2 emissions and pay a living wage? And just because someone says they are eco aware, sustainable, or ethical, does not mean they 100% are, do your research. Companies, sole traders, independent businesses, and brands should have their own eco and sustainability policy on their websites.
· False economy.
Rhodium plating white gold rings. Once they have been plated to keep your rings looking fresh you will need to keep having them re-plated and this can vary from 6-18+ months depending on how you use your hands and so over a lifetime this can add lots of money to the cost. There is also an eco-issue with plating, the reason you need them re-plating is that that metal has simply been lost by wear, there’s no way of getting it back, or collecting it or recycling it, it’s simply gone. That is valuable, natural materials simply lost. White gold has a truly lovely tone to it, embrace its true colour and save yourself some money as well as reducing the waste of valuable resources.
It’s your wedding day and there are no rules. And there are no real rules when it comes to your wedding rings, so whatever you want is the perfect ring for you. Your rings do not need to match, they do not need to be worn in a certain order and they do not need to cost the earth. Both in a monetary and a sustainable sense. Jewellers will suggest matching the metal of your wedding ring to your engagement ring as a harder metal will wear a softer one over time, which in turn can cause damage. They will also advise going for a harder metal as this is something you will be wearing for the rest of your life. It is a good rule of thumb to follow but if you are aware of this and you prefer something else then go with it, do not feel pressured otherwise, just make sure to check your rings to see if they need a little MOT.
After 16 years within the trade, I have learnt a lot on my journey to becoming an eco-aware and sustainable jeweller and it’s my passion to help bring about awareness to you fabulous couples but also others within the trade. I hope this is of some help. If you’d like to learn more about sustainable and eco aware jewellery, please do reach out.
Sending love and positive vibes.
Rebekah Ann xx