Why the time is now for ethical jewellery and accessories

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Why the time is now for ethical jewellery and accessories

 

This summer sees the launch of Seekd, a new curated platform where sustainability meets timeless design for both jewellery and accessories.

 

Times they are a’changing and consumers want more information than ever. It’s a challenge to the traditional jewellery and accessories market, which has boomed alongside the fast fashion industry over the last 15 years.

 

Whereas a few years ago no one really thought about where their jewellery or bags were made and in what conditions - more consumers care about the environmental and social impact of their goods, and encouragingly more and more designers are creating circular economies, using less waste, creating fairly made products and working with ethical supply chains.

 

Becoming ethical in the jewellery industry especially is incredibly difficult - from conflict diamonds and slavery practices in mining to pollution from textile dyeing, it’s a veritable minefield to trace and log many different industries and stages before the precious metals or gemstones even reach our shores and stores. But many players in the industry are looking for change.

 

2017 saw the first shipment of Fairtrade gold come into the UK and Fairtrade continue to support discussions about Fairtrade gold and silver and the role of ethical and recycled precious metals in the market.

 

The Responsible Jewellery Council which promotes ethical jewellery and sets industry standards has been around since 2006, now has nearly 1,000 members - 242 of those joined in 2016 alone.

 

Even the major players are moving away from dirty gold and polluting mines. Chopard debuted a sustainable gold collection in 2013, which accounted for under 2% of its gold supply has pledged to move to 100% certifiable gold by July 2018. It’s the first high end house to accomplish a difficult task.

And while the ethical jewellery market is growing, so is the consumer demand for all things eco, green, transparent and traceable.

 

66% of consumers are willing to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand (Nielson’s annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report 2015), while ethics and transparency is even more important to millenials. Morgan Stanley reported in 2016 that 57% of millenials viewed a brand’s ethics as being very important.

 

Which is all good news for Seekd. The new consumer shopping platform has a curated list of designers, artisans and jewellers who commit to its pillars of fairly made, recycled or sustainable materials, social impact and supporting traditional skills.

 

“Being a part of a community that has a vision that’s focused on the ethical and social

aspects of design. It really feels like the missing component for me that makes everything

designed and crafted purposeful and rewarding,” says Tonya O Hara, Seekd supplier.

 

Just as ethical fashion is starting to become a viable alternative to fast fashion - so ethical jewellery is starting to offer a real point of difference to conscious consumers. As more people want to buy less and buy better, Seekd is perfectly placed to offer an alternative to the mainstream shopping experience.

Kurran Johal