Eco-friendly Organic Jewelry – A Stunning Collection


Not many people know the environmental impacts jewelry has on the environment as it is not spoken about often. The more our population is increasing, our demand for resources such as land, water food, clothing and in this case jewelry, increases too. The earth is being depleted of these resources and the destruction that is occurring through the processes to get the resources are becoming very apparent.  Attention must be made to this topic as well as spreading information about what we can all do to help.

 

How does jewelry affect the environment?

Gold mining is the most environmentally cost worthy resource when it comes to jewelry. The extraction of gold affects our planet in numerous ways, through emitting greenhouse gases, water pollution, and soil erosion.

The chemical or toxin, Cyanide is used to extract gold from its core. It is a very environmentally costly process, in fact, according to Dr. Gunthrie, dean of International Business and Management at the George Washington University School of Business, stated that ‘20 tons of waste are produced for every ounce of gold’.

Additionally, mercury occurs naturally in the earth and is a liquid metal. Most mercury forms in a sulfide ore called cinnabar. To separate the mercury from the cinnabar is to crush the ore and heat it in order to vaporize the mercury. This vapor is then condensed into liquid mercury form. If done improperly, mercury vapor, which is highly toxic, can escape into the atmosphere. It releases hundreds of tonnes of airborne elemental mercury every year.

Erosion from this process clogs streams and rivers and can lead to taint ecosystems. This contamination impacts biodiversity, with cyanide causing a direct lethal effect on biota close to the source and metal contaminants which considerably reduces aquatic biodiversity further downstream.

Additionally, gold mining is at fault for high levels of deforestation, destroying remote areas rich in biodiversity. It practically obliterates the natural landscape. The largest gold mine is now a crater in Utah which is so large that it can be seen from outer space!

Other jewelry such as silver, is a byproduct of the industrial mining of other metals such as copper, zinc, and gold, so has similar environmental consequences. 

Overall, gold is a very environmentally destructive, resource. But jewelry has been a part of many cultures for hundreds of years all over the world so it is not given up easily.

Gold mining is severely

destroying land,

the atmosphere,

and precious water.

 

The Gold Mine: Africa

Africa contains 30% of the world’s minerals so it is literally a gold mine when it comes to resources for jewelry such as silver, diamonds, gold, and other platinum-group metals. Because of Africa’s potential, large interest from foreign investors (China, Australia, Canada) is being made to mine there. Yet with less than 5% of global mineral exploitation has occurred in Africa, and large parts of the continent being geologically unexplored, the potential for growth is enormous (Taylor et al. 2009).

This enormous increase in mining will have detrimental effects on the natural environment, as mining can directly remove fragment, or degrade natural habitat, destroying as much as 1-12km squared depending on the mineral being mined. 

Additionally, the expansion of roads, and railways, for transport to move commodities, from mine to smelters, as well as shipping ports for exports and hydroelectric dams is one of the biggest threats to natural habitats and wildlife populations, and will increase access to some of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, including the eastern Congo rainforests, the Miombo and Guinea woodlands, and the Rift valley savannas and mountains (Edwards et.al., 2013).

Mining could provide poverty alleviation opportunities and enhancement of sustainable practices as well as implement environmental protection standards, but such positive outcomes seem unlikely due to Africa’s corruption and weak governance (Edwards et.al., 2013). 

Eco-friendly, Organic Jewelry

There are companies that have sustainable jewelry such as Grazza Portugal

Did you know you can make jewelry from cork?!

Cork is the bark of the cork oak (Quercus suber L.) which means the material used for this jewelry is 100% natural, organic, sustainable, handmade, biodegradable and eco-friendly.

This tree, also called Sobreiro, is found in Portugal where these oaks can live up to 200 years old and can be harvested up to 12 times during its lifetime. The European cork industry produces 300,000 tonnes of cork a year, with a value of €1.5 billion and employing 30,000 people.

Wearing and supporting businesses that promote the use of sustainable and eco-friendly jewelry is doing a world of good for the earth and its resources. Not only that, but this jewelry looks gorgeous and trendy!

Thank you for reading and I hope you learned a thing or two. Please feel free to comment below any thoughts you have about this topic, I would love to hear from you!

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

 

References

Taylor, C.D., Schulz, K.J., Doebrich, J.L., et al. 2009 ‘Geology and nonfuel mineral deposits of Africa and the Middle East.U.S.’ Geological Survey, California.

David, P, Edwards, D, P, Sloan, S, Weng, L, Dirks, P, Sayer, J & Laurence, W, F, 2013 ‘Mining and the African Environment’, Policy Perspective, pp. 302-311, doi: 10.1111/conl.12076

16 thoughts on “Eco-friendly Organic Jewelry – A Stunning Collection

  1. So great post.
    Help you may inspire the world and together we can make a difference. Even if small, step by step we may build an empire of conscious and ecofriendly generation for a better world.
    Count on us.

    xox from to the heart,
    Cátia
    Grazza Portugal Jewelry

    1. Thank you! Yes, together step by step, we can bring awareness about our ability to make eco-friendly choices to help our world 🙂

  2. Wow, I’m not surprised. People have been digging for gold for years and years. I know it has a negative impact on the environment. It will only get worse. I wonder what the final straw will be?

    1. Thanks for commenting, Staci! Yes, it has been going on for a very long time, hopefully, if we keep bringing more awareness, more people will go for eco-friendly jewelry instead of gold and silver.

  3. Hi Danielle!
    This is a great article – I love the idea of eco friendly jewellery!
    Definitely something I want to look in to!
    Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂

  4. Dude! I am all about this. Eco friendly jewelry is amazing. Thanks for spreading awareness as many people have no idea, they just dont think about it. I’m gonna be poking around your site more. Love it!

  5. Hi Danielle,
    I actually had never thought of my jewelry as causing trouble to the earth! This is really interesting and informative; I guess I’ll be making more informed choices in the future

    1. Hey Marketa, that is great to hear you have learnt something today and are ready to make more informed choices about your shopping! 🙂

  6. Thanks for all of the great read.

    A truly inspirational post about the effects of our jewellery on the earth. I really did not know the full process and am happy that I was able to pull a lot of good information about what mining has done to our earth!

    I really do like the look of the cork jewellery too! I think it is very fashion forward and unique!

    I will look into cork jewellery!

    Cheers,
    Kahlua

    1. Thanks, Kahlua for commenting! I am so glad you had a good read 🙂 I had no idea as well about the impact Jewellery had on our earth but feel so great that now I can make more informed choices when I am looking for my next jewellery piece. I agree with you that the cork jewellery is stunning! Very trendy indeed.

  7. Hello Danielle,
    I am a big lover of crystals and gems. And often I wonder how much did the earth give for me to get these precious gems? And that we do not give respect to the earth that gives us these gifts.
    I know that in Africa slavery and capitalism has ended their way of life just to get to the gold. That is so not okay.
    I am grateful that you wrote this article to show us how we can live more responsibly and respectfully.
    Great job!
    In peace and gratitude, ariel

    1. Thank you so much, Ariel, I appreciate your clear concern and passion for mother earth. It is very sad what happens in Africa in regards to the poor working conditions African’s must endure, as well as the devastating environmental impacts that mining promotes. Hopefully, we can steer away from gold and silver mining and look more into sustainable resources.

  8. Wow- 20 tons for every OUNCE of gold?? That’s crazy. I had no idea!
    It’s good to see that there are alternatives out there (the cork looks great); are there really ZERO benefits to using gold?

    1. Hey Benji! Thanks for commenting and yes how crazy is that!? It is a pretty scary amount. The cork looks fabulous, I agree!
      I am not too sure if there any environmental benefits to mining gold, but in terms of overall benefits of mining gold, I would say it provides work for African’s (even though conditions are not good) and a lot of people enjoy gold jewellery! haha

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