Why Ocean & Company Bracelets Are Made With Ceramic Eco-Friendly Beads

Author Natalie Pope / Ocean & Company Blog / Published: June-29-2022

 

You may have heard the terms “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” floating around recently when it comes to jewelry. Or perhaps you have seen it in the title of articles from your favorite online magazines regarding the best places to purchase “sustainable jewelry”. But what is it? Is it just a buzzword? And why should you care? When you boil it down, sustainable jewelry is being transparent about sourcing practices within the jewelry supply chain and the use of quality materials.

The jewelry industry’s story isn’t one all of sparkles and glamor. It is a tale containing environmental harm and unethical working practices. Don’t panic and run to your jewelry box. We are here to clue you in on the industry and show you how you can make an effort to help.

The Problem With the Jewelry Industry

The issue within the industry is not solely one aspect that can be easily fixed. Concerns regarding ethics and the impact on our planet have arisen in every phase of the jewelry-making process. It is extremely challenging to create sustainable jewelry due to the process involved in mining for the raw materials and what happens to those materials once they are mined.

 

Let’s first take a look at issues regarding common materials used in the jewelry industry.

    • Gold: Studies have shown that for every 18 karat gold ring, there are around 20 tons of toxic waste produced and dumped into natural bodies of water each year. Not to mention that during the mining process the iron sulfides in underground rocks may be exposed to air and water. This can cause a reaction that creates sulfuric acid, or acid water. Not good.
    • Silver: Silver is a typical byproduct of mining for metals, such as gold. Although only 25% of the silver mined is used for jewelry compared to gold’s 80% the same ecological and ethical risks occur.
    • Diamonds: Mining diamonds do not require the same toxic chemicals that mining for metals does. However, this mining process leads to soil erosion and its aftermath. On top of mining, with diamonds, you have the issue of the dangers involved with gem cutting.

The problems do not stop once the materials are out of the ground. Fine jewelry is made from at least one precious metal and a precious gemstone that comes from the ground. Tracing materials becomes extremely difficult when these materials are usually coming from poor regions and pass through many hands.

 

 

On top of this, we have begun to see more companies utilizing recycled metals in their pieces. The good news here is that metals are essentially forever recyclable without losing their quality. Once you melt the metal down and reshape them you are able to make something new.

Another recent innovation has been using lab-grown diamonds. These diamonds are pretty much identical to mined diamonds, but rather than having to be mined and then cut they are man-made in a lab.

What To Look For When Purchasing

Now that you are aware of what has been going on within the jewelry industry in regards to our environment and ethics, how can you know where/what to buy? It is up to you to do your research into the companies that you are thinking of supporting. Look for pages on a company's website specifically dedicated to “Our Process,” “Our Sourcing,” “Our Materials,” “Our Standards,” “Our Efforts,” and other similar phrases.

Be curious. Ask questions. Achieving true sustainability in jewelry production requires a level of activism and sourcing that most jewelry producers can’t afford. It is a long and costly process, they are going to want to talk about it so keep an eye out for this on their website.

Our Efforts at O&Co & Using Ceramic Beads

Here at Ocean & Co taking care of our oceans and environment is why we were founded. That is why you can feel safe about your purchases made with us. We have taken the time to do our research and find quality recycled and eco-friendly materials to use in our products.


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