We here at JIRE are obviously huge supporters of the fashion hire industry in Australia. But it’s not just because we love being able to wear beautiful jewellery at a fraction of the retail cost. We know that by hiring fine jewellery, instead of buying items we’ll only wear for special occasions, we are doing our bit for the environment and our social responsibility.
What are the Environment and Social Impacts of Jewellery?
Even the simplest of gold bands involves processes that can span continents, making traceability one of the toughest challenges the jewellery industry is facing in its effort to become more sustainable and environmentally concious.
The environmental damage caused by mining precious metals is well documented. Mining practices include stripping the surface soil and using chemicals can cause soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and contamination of soil and both ground and surface water. The use of mercury and cyanide in gold extraction is harmful to plant and animal life. This happens even when fairly stringent environmental regulations are followed, as they are in Australia.
The health impact of gem production and processing on laborers is also significant.
Once the issues have been identified, the impediments to resolving those issues must be recognized. Each colored stone type comes with its own unique set of circumstances, and a commitment to sustainable practices calls for patience, steady financial resources, and an understanding of the local community’s culture.
With consumer interests developing alongside an environment of heightened scrutiny over responsible practices, both new and established gem suppliers are examining their relationships to the mining, cutting, and production sectors. Some industry leaders have long been concerned with corporate social responsibility, yet a combination of public awareness and the desire to self-govern the industry rather than be subjected to top-down legislation has been the greatest motivation to change.
So being acquainted with the basics of the general environmental and sustainability factors, and understanding that they are complex and nothing is clear-cut is important for consumers.
What does sustainable jewellery mean to JIRE?
We firmly believe that wearing the ‘wow’ piece of jewellery can really brighten someone’s day, an we believe every bit counts, especially the small changes we can control. We are committed to minimising our Environmental impact, to ethically sourcing our jewellery and committing to partners and artisans who are socially and environmentally proactive.
We Strive To Only Purchase From Sources Who Have A Proven History Of Being Socially and Environmentally Responsible:
Protecting Human Rights
The most important resource in our supply chain is human life and well-being. To do so we will never knowingly purchase from any groups involved in human rights abuses. Sources will be transparent and accountable for its methods. Employment practices must not violate and human rights laws or enforce child labour.
Mining impacts the environment in many ways but it can be minimised by following strict environmental standards that protect the eco system. We purchase from sources who leave lighter footer prints on the earth participating in methods to protect it.
Improving Working Conditions
Mining industries employ hundreds of skilled workers, and create jobs to help benefit the society and supply chain. In addition, millions of dollars are spent each year in these mining communities to fund new schools, provide scholarships, and support families. Our legacy must include improving the lives for everyone at every level of trade in the jewellery mining community.
The Ethically-Sourced Jeweller network promotes the purchase and reuse of diamonds, gold, and other precious gems and metals. So by reusing materials helps fill demand and does not diminish their quality or value. It’s one way we personally protect the earth and lessen the impact of mining on our environment without even leaving the store.
What can I do?
While a “one-size-fits-all” approach will not accommodate every aspect of the jewelry supply chain, Consumer education is vital to the success of this effort.
Voting with your pocket, and hiring jewellery is an amazing way to do your bit to live more sustainably. Hiring jewellery is for women who value experiences over their outfits.
By hiring through rental companies instead of buying, you have access to many beautiful styles created ethically by a range of designers. You avoid the risk of putting the jewellery back in your drawer to collect dust until next year’s event. Hiring is not only budget conscious, but it is environmentally friendly and get any look you want!
We hope that the info on this page has helped open your eyes on some of the hidden issues behind the fashion and we love and desire. We hope that through education, more and more Australians make changes to the way they contribute to the fashion and jewellery industries, leading to an overall improvement in environmental effects and human conditions.
Sources and great reading:
- The Color of Responsibility: Ethical Issues and Solutions in Colored Gemstones