What is ethical + sustainable Jewellery?
We are at a wonderful junction in the world as we know it, as so many of us start to question how ethical and sustainable our purchase choices are. From super funds to banks, organic veggies at the farmers market and organic cotton underwear, the transparency and purchase choices for those of us who care about the planet and the animals and humans who inhabit it are growing.
Ethical jewellery is a growing area of this conversation and one that we are incredibly passionate about. When we talk about ethical jewellery, we need to speak about all parts of the process – from sourcing metals and gemstones to the quality of jewellery (better quality = less in landfill after all!) and the way that jewellery is recycled at the end of its life. It’s about reforming and reworking the whole process to ensure that we do our best to reduce the harm done when creating beautiful things.
At Bowerbird Jewels we care deeply about Sustainability, Fair Work and Transparency. While we are not perfect, we are always learning and looking at better, more responsible processes wherever and whenever we can. When we first founded the brand, our focus and passion were for creating jewellery that could be passed down as heirlooms through the generations – and that means creating jewellery that will both stand the test of time and isn’t so trend-driven that it ends up in landfill a month from now.
Our commitment is to produce thoughtfully-sourced jewellery that has a small environmental footprint and encourages conscious consumption. Fast-fashion jewellery, whilst trendy and very shiny, generally only lasts a season and contributes to landfill and unnecessary chemical pollutants along the way. That simply isn’t sustainable, and it doesn’t show respect to the materials that it is made from, or the people who made each piece.
Instead, we choose to craft our collections from sterling silver and gold, both of which can be refined and recycled. The brass or nickel that most fast-fashion jewellery is made from is generally harder to recycle and worth less when you do so, meaning it is harder to find a company willing to recycle the metal itself. It's important to us to try and use recycled metal wherever possible in our designs but we do acknowledge this is not always 100% achievable. We choose to create pieces that are of a high quality that will last – they aren’t going to break after a season's wear, but instead can be worn for years to come, ensuring that fewer pieces end up in landfill each year.
All of our diamonds are conflict-free and comply with the Kimberley Process. Our gemstones are sourced from trusted and known ethical dealers or directly from mines.
One of the biggest areas of waste in any industry is packaging. We absolutely LOVE our little blue bags and boxes that you buy our jewels from, and we encourage all of our customers to use them to store their jewellery, to give gifts in OR you can always return them to us and we will reuse them again for someone else’s beautiful pieces. All of our packaging is made from paper products, and all of our items are wrapped in recycled paper and recycled cartons for shipping purposes. Our workshop is committed to recycling wherever possible. All cardboard and paper packaging is recycled or reused, and all plastic packaging that comes into our workshop is recycled and reused many times over.
We believe that staff and employees deserve to be paid fairly whether it be our direct team or the staff working with our suppliers. We make sure that we know who we are dealing with, and our long history in the jewellery industry means we have established trusted relationships with our supply chain.
Return - Recycle - Reuse Program
To further support our respect for the planet and continued efforts to use recycled metals wherever possible we have set up a Return, Recycle and Reuse Program. Customers can drop off or send to us any silver or gold unwanted, broken jewellery, single earrings or butterflies etc. that they no longer need or want. We don’t mind if they’ve been purchased from us or not, instead, we are focused on making sure that these resources are being returned to the cycle and reused.
Whilst their value as single items is small we can collect and refine the metal so it can be reused again. 100% of the proceeds from the recycling of these materials will be donated to ocean conservation and removing plastic from our oceans. Additionally, the metal is now available to be reused to make new jewellery without further impact to our planet.
Bowerbird - Return, Recycle and Reuse Program
PO Box 189 Sylvania Southgate
Every time we make a donation we will make sure to let you know through our social media channels.
Whether you are looking for your next ‘treat yourself’ item or a gift for a loved one, beautiful ethical and sustainable jewellery encourages change in the jewellery and fashion industry as a whole. It opens the eyes of your friends and family to ways that they can contribute to a greater understanding of the issues around ethical jewellery, and supporting ethical practices means that you never need to sacrifice aesthetics for your values. As our business grows and we learn more we will continually improve our impact on the planet wherever possible and minimise our footprint. We look forward to taking you on that journey with us.