These days you’d be hard pressed to find a wellness or artisanal jewelry maven who doesn’t feature gemstones and crystals. Touted for their spiritual qualities, these precious rocks not only have the potential to heal, empower, and detox every part of your being—take amethyst for purification of your aura, or black tourmaline for protection from negative energy—but they also compliment a variety of skin tones and wardrobe palettes. You may even recall a time when statement jewelry was first all the rage purely for aesthetics (this was pre-healing crystal trend), and women donned rings the size of multiple fingers and stacks of multi-colored bangles that blinded with their sparkle.
Now that they also boast greater returns on the well-being front, gemstones may be having a renaissance in your daily accessory rotation. But falling back on department stores, conventional jewelry brands, and specialty chain stores, where even jewelry with three-digit price tags falls into the chintzy “costume” category, might not be right for your current spiritual and sartorial needs. Going authentic, though (investing in quality is always the way to go with jewelry), isn’t without its flaws. Gemstone mining is a huge issue for political and environmental reasons, and the logistics and legalities involved in tracking stones and their sources is even fuzzier than what Leo let on in Blood Diamond.
If you’re excited about wearing more gemstones but want to source them as closely as you do your farmer’s market kale, check out these ethical jewelry brands who talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to style and practices. The pieces here are no doubt a hefty investment, but it’s hard to put a price tag on the long-term benefits of protecting the earth’s resources. Get ready to get #lit with gorgeous, ethically sourced jewels!
Founded in 2005 by Stanford classmates, this is a traditional jeweler with settings and styles that will make fiancees-to-be swoon. Their diamonds stand out among a dizzying list of products, but their other semi-precious stones like this gorgeous opal ring are equally impressive. Brilliant Earth emphasizes responsible sourcing and community-building among their many partners in developing countries, working to help spread the word about labor, environmental, and educational causes along the way.
Opal Cadence Ring, 14k Rose Gold, $730
*Opals were the original “mood stone” and represent devotion, fidelity, and your inner fire.
For the DIY-er, sourcing your gems directly may be the most attractive (and fun!) option to ensure you get a stone with a history you approve of. Perpetuum, located in New York and San Francisco, features estate and vintage stones and pieces and is certified by SCS Global Services as a Certified Responsible Source and for 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Gemstones. This means that all the stones were taken from previously-owned jewelry. While “recycled stones” doesn’t necessarily mean they were ethically sourced to begin with, it was far less common that “blood diamonds” and their ilk were in circulation before African conflicts boomed in the 1980s-2000s. Finding vintage stones also means that your piece will be inherently one of a kind.
Handmade Auralite Silver & Copper Pendant, $125
As is the case with the healthfulness of whole, natural foods, sometimes you don’t have to go too far off the beaten track to find something inherently good. Such is the case with Austrian crystal megalith Swarovski, which has been in business since 1895. One of the most well known jewelry brands, they’ve always abided by ethical standard when sourcing stones, but the new Advanced Crystal Standard ensures that each stone’s DNA (we’re talking its chemical makeup but also the travel and trade routes it took, etc.) is as clean and clear as the crystal quality itself. And with an eco-conscious celeb campaign led by Miranda Kerr, the company is putting its best face forward for another century of quality.
If you feel that the biggest statement comes from understatement, Noemie is the brand for you: indeed, don’t let these delicate and minimalist designs fool you as anything but extraordinary. Noemie makes personalized jewelry using a variety of ethical materials, from reclaimed 18K gold to conflict-free stones and solar-grown diamonds, and the direct-to-consumer model means that a lot of costly middlemen are subtracted from the final price tag. You can make an appointment at their Soho Loft in NYC to explore their handiwork in person and discuss a unique piece that matches your stage of life or reach out online to design remotely. These modern classics will last you a lifetime, and after that make handsome additions to the recycled jewelry lot for the fashionista of the future.
18K Gold and Pave Diamond Huggie Earrings, $470
What are your favorite ethical jewelry brands?
Related: How to Use Healing Crystals in Yoga
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Photo: Swarovski; Respective Brands