Over the last few years, there’s been a huge shift with people’s lifestyles and the way they consume. This worldwide phenomenon is seen with new choices of clothes, diet, homeware, or interior décor. People have been more ethically conscious with the products they buy.
Many have opted for eco-friendly materials not only for the environment but for their well-being as well. Jewelries also belong in this sustainable movement. Men and women are now more inclined to plastic-free accessories and sustainable pieces. Manufacturers themselves have also shifted their production to new innovative procedures which are more ethical and eco-friendlier.
Sustainable goods are often seen as something made only of recycled materials. However, what people need to understand is that sustainability is more than just recycling. It also involves ethically sourcing the materials used, supporting local communities who are part of the production, transparency on the sourcing and contents of the materials used on the product, as well as practicing zero-waste management that limits excess materials from being thrown in landfills.
The concept behind sustainable products also values timelessness in designs as it aims for the product to be used for much longer.
What are the dangers behind plastic jewelries?
Over 180 million jewelries have been recalled in the US in the past few years, including jewelry kits for posing health threats to both adults and children.
But finding toxic substances in jewelries is not new. It’s just that these are now more exposed online.
Lead and cadmium are just two of the common harmful hard metals that can be found in a regular jewelry, not to mention PVCs and other plastic toxins. These regular accessories are usually sold by both small retailers and high-end stores.
What’s so toxic about these hard metals?
Cadmium has been associated with skin irritation and reproductive toxicity. It is also known to be carcinogenic – which means it has elements that can cause cancer. In fact, in a test conducted in 2018, 98.4% of Cadmium was found in a child’s jewelry that was sold in a department store in Washington.
Cadmium builds in a person’s body and the long-term effects also include lung and kidney diseases.
Lead, more dangerous than Cadmium, is also found on many adult and children jewelries. It is a neurotoxin that has been proven to reduce IQ levels and have been associated with developmental issues, language problems, and other severe health concerns.
Vinyl or PVC and other plastic materials are not safe as well. It can cause endocrine disruption and can generally leech hard metals which are highly dangerous to the body.
Ammonia, arsenic, and chromium are also present in some other plastic jewelries. Not only can they irritate the skin, they are also linked too many cardiovascular diseases, reproductive toxicity, and other health problems.
What other issues do non-sustainable jewelries pose?
Apart from health concerns, there are social concerns present in many plastic products. The biggest and most obvious issue is environmental degradation. Sourcing gems from the mine put workers and nature itself at risk.
Precious stones like diamonds undergo a long process before they become the shining eye-catcher in a piece of accessory. While it’s been profitable for as long as its discovery, the number of diamonds available on the market is continuously declining.
These issues caused some companies to turn to non-sustainable manufacturing practices. This, combined with over-mining, has affected the land from where they’re sourced. It has affected the wildlife inhabiting those areas and even water supplies where local communities are relying from.
How to find sustainable jewelries
Vogue published a roundup of sustainable jewelry brands in April 2020 for better, healthier alternatives.
Unfortunately, there’s no telling whether the material used was ethically sourced. However, many manufacturers disclose where the product comes from, and from which regions they were collected. This gives one a general idea of the source.
These days, it’s easier to conduct a search for environmental and social issues in a particular place. Researching before buying and checking customer testimonials are important to finding sustainable wears.
Finding reputable retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers will go a long way when looking for plastic-free jewelries.
To name a few from the 2020 Vogue list, there is the Laura Lombardi collection which uses raw and recycled materials or Meadowlark products that are made to order using repurposed jewels and other traceable materials.
Many Bali-based jewelers are highly commended as well for crafting eco-friendly accessories.
The European-owned SUSILA Jewelry based in Bali, Indonesia makes handmade fashion jewelries and partners with many talented female artisans, all of whom are locals in Bali.
The best part about them is that they offer affordable fashionable jewelry in BULK! One can custom design their own accessory and have them made in huge quantities.
A little sparkle in one’s OOTD (outfit of the day) never hurt anyone. Not unless they are wearing toxic-containing jewelries.
Glamour doesn’t have to come with unfavorable consequences, to the environment and to one’s health. This is the advantage of picking eco-friendly plastic-free jewelries. They say fashion is a state of mind, so why not opt for a more positive selection. The glitz and glamour fade away in time; diamonds may or may not last forever, but the long-term effects of being exposed to toxic hard metals do last a lifetime. Not to mention the lasting impact caused by unsustainable manufacturing practices involved in making these toxic jewelries.
Gems and accessories are made to be passed on from one generation to another, but it’s worth considering leaving behind an even better environment for the new generation that you’re passing the jewelry to. This is one of the biggest highlights of sustainable fashion. It’s one meaningful cause that more consumers are starting to support.
When buying sustainable fashion, one should remember that it’s not just about buying recycled or repurposed items. It’s about caring for the local communities behind the product and supporting their livelihood. It’s about valuing their health above anything else.
Help local communities thrive while promoting sustainable fashion. Contact Susila Jewelry to learn more.