Most people agree that the term eco-friendly jewellery refers to jewellery composed of material that was either not mined at all or else mined to reduce mining’s negative impact on the environment. This definition is accurately applied to the jewellery sold by Brilliant Earth.
Who is Brilliant Earth?
Founded in 2005 by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Brilliant Earth sells eco-friendly jewellery at several physical locations and online. According to their origin story, the idea for the company arose when Gerstein was unable to find an ethically sourced engagement ring back in 2003.
The principle mandate of Brilliant Earth is their Beyond Conflict-Free policy. Taking direct aim at the Kimberly Process definition of a conflict-free diamond, Brilliant Earth mandates that they will only source diamonds from mines that treat their workers fairly, make efforts to reduce their impact on the environment and support their community. In addition to following the conflict-free diamond mandate, none of their diamonds will have been used to fund illegal militaries.
Not only does Brilliant Earth work to ensure that mining communities are treating fairly and humanely, but they are also actively helping to improve these communities. The main way that they do this is through their charity which donates five percent of the company’s profits to projects aimed at helping communities affected by conflict diamonds. For example, in 2015, they funded a mobile school in Lungundi, a village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for students who often have no choice but to work in the local diamond mines.
Additionally, Brilliant Earth is certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council, which tracks responsible and ethical business practices in the jewellery industry. Most information you’ll find in any Brilliant Earth review will affirm their commitment to their business ethics and customer satisfaction.
The Five Components that Make Brilliant Earth’s Jewellery Eco-Friendly
1. Beyond Conflict-Free
If you’re not already aware, diamond mining wreaks havoc on the environment. Irresponsible diamond mining has resulted in soil erosion, deforestation and led to local populations having to relocate. In fact, in extreme cases, diamond mining can result in the collapse of entire ecosystems. Furthermore, abandoned mining pits can create public health disasters when the pits fill with stagnant rainwater and become infested with mosquitos, spreading malaria and other water-borne diseases. However, damage to the environment is not an inevitable result of diamond mining; companies can do things to mitigate its effects.
Most jewellery companies adhere to the Kimberly Process when they talk about offering conflict-free diamonds. The Kimberly Process mandates that a diamond is conflict-free when it hasn’t been used to finance a war against a government. In addition, the Kimberly Process does not require mines to make any efforts at environmental preservation. By contrast, Brilliant Earth’s Beyond Conflict-Free policy ensures that their diamonds only come from mines that are actively working to minimize environmental degradation.
2. Recycled Precious Metals
In addition to encouraging mines to be more environmentally conscious, Brilliant Earth also works to reduce the need for new mining to occur. They do this by using recycled precious metals in the creation of their jewellery.
We’ve already covered how diamond mining affects the environment, so let’s look at precious metal mining, particularly gold mining.
Irresponsible gold mining has resulted in the ravaging of landscapes, contaminated water supplies, and it’s has contributed to the destruction of vital ecosystems. In addition, cyanide, mercury, and other toxic substances are regularly released into the environment because of dirty gold mining. In fact, mining companies generate about 20 tons of toxic waste for every 0.333-ounce gold ring. Therefore, by using recycled gold in their jewellery, Brilliant Earth is helping to reduce the destructive practices associated with gold mining.
3. Responsibly-Sourced and Eco-Friendly Packaging
As an online retailer, Brilliant Earth recognizes the importance of using responsibly sourced and eco-friendly packaging. In doing so, they help prevent further deforestation and its resulting environmental devastation.
To obtain responsibly sourced packaging materials, Brilliant Earth relies on forestry companies that manage the cutting of wood so as to protect the forest from erosion.
4. Eco-Friendly Ring Boxes
Brilliant Earth delivers their rings in boxes made from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC actively works to prevent clear-cutting in an effort to protect against deforestation. Therefore, when they certify a product, it means that the wood in said product has been made with or contains wood from FSC certified forests or post-consumer waste.
5. A Certified Carbon Free Company
Brilliant Earth is a certified Carbonfree company. This means that they are partnered with Carbonfund.org so as to offset their carbon emissions by contributing to the conservation of tropical rainforests in Brazil. This project aims to protect 750,000 acres of rainforest.
Although eco-friendly jewellery is more expensive than traditional jewellery, when you purchase from Brilliant Earth, you are helping to prevent ecological and environmental devastation.
Brilliant Earth is an eco-friendly company because they have a mandate that dictates that they will only buy diamonds from mines that make an effort to minimize their environmental impact. They also use recycled precious metals to reduce the need for new mining. Additionally, their packaging is responsibly sourced, and their wood boxes are FSC certified. Lastly, they are a certified carbon-free company, which means they take steps to offset their carbon footprint.