What do you do if the beautiful, luxurious jewellery you love isn’t quite in your budget? We’ve assembled independent brands that are crafting stunning pieces of jewellery that hit all the right notes of sustainable practices, ethically sourced materials and putting the environment first. Best of all, they’re all truly affordable. You’ll never have to buy high street jewellery again.
Just Trade: dainty, interesting jewellery that does the world good
If you’re used to buying jewellery from high street shops and don’t want to spend more than you’re used to, this is the brand for you. Prices go up to around £40 and they have a special curated section of pieces under £15. You can easily pick up a beautiful pair of earrings for a tenner. Best of all, Just Trade is guilt-free. Founder Laura Cave works with eight groups of artisans in Peru, India, Ecuador and Vietnam in a collaborative design process. They’re improving opportunities for those in impoverished communities and offering a fair wage and ethical working conditions. Materials are locally sourced and ethical wherever possible.
Catbird: pieces that will inspire envy
This New York-based brand makes some truly stunning, inventive jewellery at prices you can really afford. With rings, earrings and necklaces so unique that your friends will be asking where you got them, Catbird is a gem. Our picks are the personalised letter rings and literally any of their delicate, handcrafted earrings. Their values are even better. They’re a woman-owned and operated business with great employee values. Their diamonds are recycled and ethically sourced, their gold and metals are recycled and they’re a member of No Dirty Gold, an international campaign to clean up the industry. Stones used in Catbird jewellery are sourced only from mines that adhere to their strict ethical standards, meaning they’re actually limited as to what stones they can use. Since the brand began they’ve given at least 1% of all sales to non-profits which share their values, and their employees decide where the money goes.
Related | Can you buy an ethical wedding ring?
The Giving Keys: jewellery that’s giving people homes
A self-identified ‘pay it forward’ company, The Giving Keys provides jobs for people transitioning out of homelessness. Their most popular product are their repurposed keys sourced from around the US engraved with inspiring words such as ‘love’, ‘create’ and ‘enough’. So far the brand has generated 158,691 hours of work for those struggling with homelessness - and counting! Most of their products are under £50, so just right for self-gifting.
Jewels and Aces: freshen up your look sustainably
This brand has a clever idea of how to refresh your jewellery wardrobe without buying new products every few months - earring ‘jackets’, detachable charms which slot onto the earring post. These immediately brighten up those earrings you’ve been wearing for months. The understated, minimalist designs won’t burn a hole in your wallet. They only work with jewellers they know personally who provide safe working environments and fair wages, use lab-grown stones and recycled metals. Jewels and Aces even properly treat the water used in their creation process so it doesn’t harm the environment.
Alona: inventive adornments for a special occasion
This daughter of fine jewellery pulls on her Middle Eastern and European heritage as inspiration for her cool-girl designs. If you want to buy a beautiful piece of jewellery as a celebration or a milestone, you couldn’t do better than Alona. All the products are made in London and a whopping 10% of the proceeds from each order are donated to ocean conservation charities.
Faire Collection: colourful accessories that pull people out of poverty
This company is pioneering a new business model for jewellery making that involves providing artisans with no-interest loans, scholarships, educational and financial training - on top of fair wages. This means that disadvantaged people can find a way upwards and have hope that life will improve. Even better, the jewellery that Faire Collection sell is stunning. Their colourful, eye-catching pieces are totally affordable and the glow you’ll get from supporting artisans will make you look even better than the jewellery will.
Words: Alice Johnson
Header: Left Jewels & Aces ; Right Alona