Top 10 independent ethical jewellery brands to know now

Top 10 independent ethical jewellery brands to know now

Luxury jewellery doesn’t have to come at the expense of ethical production. These independent jewellers have incorporated fair trade commitments, conflict-free jewels, recycled materials or social initiatives into their production, putting humanitarian and environmental causes at the heart of their practice.

Ana Khouri: exclusive fair-mined 18-carat gold and platinum

Appearing on the cover of American Vogue and favoured by A-listers from Kendall Jenner to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, New York City-based Brazilian designer Ana Khouri’s collections are created exclusively with fair-mined 18-carat gold and platinum, traceable diamonds and gemstones from Zambia. Expect elegant, delicately-designed ear pieces and rings – we love the Inez ring, recently spotted on Michelle Obama.

Pippa Small: indigenous and traditional craftsmanship

Awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to ethical jewellery production and charity, London-based Pippa Small creates striking necklaces, rings and earrings. Working with indigenous and traditional craftspeople from around the world, Small has collaborated with the world’s first registered Fair trade gold mine in Bolivia; the esteemed Fair trade company MADE based in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi; and the prestigious charity Turquoise Mountain in Afghanistan. In Burma, she has helped train and employ artisans to promote traditional skills, and has recently worked with Syrian refugees to design collections. Alongside her OBE, Small has been awarded the Ethical Jeweller of the Year and the Walpole Corporate Social Responsibility award.

Quazi Design: handmade by local women in Swaziland

Quazi design uses discarded magazines to create beads for its unique jewellery range, which is handmade by local women in Swaziland. Each artisan is employed full time with a permanent contract, giving them job security and a living wage, empowering them through skill sharing and a living wage. A founding member of SWIFT – Swaziland fair trade – the boutique is an active advocate for fair trade principles.

Aide-Mémoire Jewelry: queer woman-owned small business

Seattle-based Aide-Mémoire Jewelry is a queer woman-owned small business focusing on handmade, eco-friendly, and conflict-free everyday fine jewelry, wedding bands, and engagement rings. Crafting pieces in a socially and environmentally responsible way, the brand only obtains its materials from limited-supply, 100% recycled precious metals, conflict-free diamonds (natural recycled, Canadian or Australian, and lab-grown) and ethical fair-trade gemstones. The boutique goes beyond the Kimberley Process in sourcing its diamonds to ensure that they truly are conflict-free and even donates to non-profits including Lambda Legal, Higher Heights, The Hunger Project and Direct Relief.

Wald Berlin: fine jewelry featuring seashells, freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals

Given the stamp of approval by the likes of Marion Cotillard and blogger Leandra Medine, Berlin-based jewelers Wald Berlin – set up by former model Joyce Binneboese and fashion stylist Dana Roski – specialises in fine jewelry featuring seashells, freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals. Committed to ethical production, each pieces is handmade by Wald Berlin’s “fair trade mums collective” – a group of unemployed mothers and grandmothers, many of whom live in towns across Germany where employment opportunities are scarce.

Melissa Joy Manning: ‘Green Certified’ California studio

A team of in-house artists at Melissa Joy Manning studio creates beautiful pieces from recycled silver, 14-carat gold and responsibly-sourced stones. The ‘Green Certified’ California studio is committed to using recycled paper, soy ink, energy-efficient heating and cooling processes, maintains a zero-waste policy and carbon offsets each shipment.

Agua de Oro: gemstones and precious metals from conflict-free zones

Swiss jewellers Agua de Oro sources gemstones and precious metals from conflict-free zones, offers Fair Trade gold and in its Oceane collection features cultured diamonds with a percentage of each sale donated to ocean charities.

Emma Aitchison: London-based responsible luxury jewellery brand

With environmentalism at the core of her studio, London-based jeweler Emma Aitchison uses 100% recycled silver and gold where possible, Fairtrade metals and avoids the harsh chemicals often used in the jewellery making process. The brand’s packaging is entirely recyclable, made out of organic cotton and recycled tape and the studio even donates one per cent of its profits to environmental charity 1% For The Planet.

Arabel Lebrusan: one-of-a-kind items from Spain

With a beautiful selection of hand-crafted and bespoke pieces, Arabel Lebrusan works with artisans across Spain to create her one-of-a-kind items. All the metals and stones are sustainably and ethically sourced, she has committed to using Fairtrade gold and avoids the harsh chemicals commonly used in jewellery making.

Sacet: 100% recycled metals and ethically lab-grown diamonds

Sacet uses 100% recycled metals and ethically lab-grown diamonds for all of their pieces, from engagement rings and wedding bands to diamond earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants. The packaging is made with eco-friendly materials and every product is hand-finished and custom made in an artisan workshop.

Words: Claire Lancaster

Header picture: Ana Khouri