We have a guest blogger this week – Wanderlust Jewelers! Wanderlust Jewelers specialize in one-of-a-kind designs with an emphasis on custom pieces curated for you by designer Wes Airgood. Using a conventional approach for design, each and every piece is hand fabricated from start to finish. Castings and wax will never enter the Wanderlust studios, meaning your piece will always be created just for you.
In today’s blog post, the folks at Wanderlust Jewelers will provide insight into the importance of choosing eco-friendly jewelry, as well as tips on how to go about starting the process of creating your beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece.
At Wanderlust Jewelers, we’re not just designing grounding, symbolic pieces of jewelry for our clients; we are helping them create a story. Wedding rings are most commonly worn every single day, and as time passes, they take on wear of life. Each impression and mark in the gold holds a story, giving it character to last for generations.
For something that will acquire so much history, we have committed to creating it with materials that already have a history of their own through using recycled metals. With a large portion of Millennials reaching the marriage chapter in their lives, and the ever-growing awareness of the diamond and gold market versus the environment, there is a prominent focus on eco-friendly jewelry. Taking part in this movement was an obvious route, which brings us to starting at the source: the raw materials.
In order to reduce our impact on the earth as much as possible, we seek alternative methods to active mining practices. Mining for precious metals strips the earth of its resources and creates toxic waste. It causes more global mercury pollution than any other source, pollutes rivers with sulfuric acid, and contributes to deforestation. In addition to these environmental issues, it is often done in parts of the world where fair labor practices and worker safety are loosely monitored. Millions of miners earn extremely low wages, while the general working conditions cause illness, injury, and sometimes death.
An environmental group called Earthworks launched a pledge in 2004 called “No Dirty Gold,” which asked large retailers not to carry gold that was produced through environmentally and socially destructive mining. The company estimates that in order to produce enough gold from earth for a single wedding ring, 20 tons of rock and soil are dislodged and discarded. For us, it only made sense that we pair up with Stuller, an SCS Certified supplier who solely works with existing materials.
By not supporting the active mining industry, we not only do our part to stay eco-friendly, but we also genuinely love the idea of recycled metals. Each raw piece of material we receive holds so much history, and from there we are creating something new that will take on a story of its own.
In addition to sourcing eco-friendly metals, we work with companies that are committed to selling ethically sourced diamonds. All the rough and polished diamonds we use are Kimberly Certified, meaning that they are conflict-free, transported between signatory countries in a sealed and tamper-proof container, and come with a statement of certification.
The Kimberly Process started in the late-2000’s when Southern African diamond-producing states met to find a way to stop the trade of “conflict diamonds.” They wanted to ensure that diamond purchases were not financing violence by rebel movements, which became even more increasingly aware to consumers with the release of the movie “Blood Diamond.”
More and more, savvy shoppers are curious as to where their purchases are coming from. In addition to becoming more eco-friendly with their choices, they want to shop small, and they want to make it unique. Wanderlust Jewelers provides just that to each and every client. We take pride in knowing that we are doing our part to not support destructive and unfair practices, and hope that we can help spread the word and educate on this topic until it is no longer a threat to society and our environment.
One of the safest ways to ensure that you know where your sources are coming from is by recycling old jewelry. A large portion of our wedding ring designs are created from heirloom gold and diamonds that have been passed down through generations. These pieces have timeless characteristics that we can incorporate into your new designs, and usually carry a sentiment that is unmatched.
In the end, this tiny piece of metal is representing the start of something beautiful. The symbolism of a circular piece of jewelry, that has no beginning and end but continues on forever, represents your everlasting commitment to each other. Most jewelers, like Wanderlust, are highly aware of the origin of their sources, so as a customer you can be confident in your wedding ring choices. By getting to know your rings a little more first, you can help ensure that you too are not supporting destructive practices, but celebrating the wide historic value in your most important piece of jewelry.
A huge thank you goes out to Wanderlust Jewelers for providing us with such deep insight about the process of creating eco-friendly jewelry, as well as the importance of doing so to reduce our impact on the environment!