The Most Ethical and Environmentally Friendly Jewelry Material.
Thinking about our environment with our purchases is how we vote on what happens in the future. Gold and mineral mining in the Amazon is causing deforestation at the highest rate in history.
https://zerowastememoirs.com/ethical-sustainable-jewelry-brands/ does an excellent job of highlighting jewelry that considers ethics more than most. But what is another way to approach jewelry, mindfully, that goes beyond specific brands and individual pieces?
The answer is materials.
The gold and silver used in jewelry never comes from the bars being stored at Fort Knox. And, recycled gold isn't as perfect a solution to stopping gold mining as one might think: https://www.ethicaljewelleryblog.com/home/the-myth-of-recycled-gold
To make a difference one should consider the "alternative metals". Tungsten, titanium, aluminum and steel are four of the best "alt-metals" being used by brands like Tiffany, David Yurman, and Rolex.
Tungsten is prized for the inherent hardness resulting in a virtually scratch proof surface. Titanium is also very hard and scratch resistant. In addition, Ti as it is commonly referred too, is incredibly light making a finished piece more comfortable. Like titanium, aluminum is light, but soft which isn't great for jewelry being worn daily. However, the process of anodizing aluminum renders a painter's pallet of colors which can be very, very cool.
Stainless steel balances all of these attributes the best. Long used for some of the worlds most expensive and collectible watches, famous for the finest swords in Japanese history, steel is an incredible material.
Hard, but not so hard that its difficult to work with. The color of stainless steel is similar to platinum. Its neither too heavy or too light. Fine grades of stainless will not irritate sensitive skin, and in most cases will be better for sensitive skin than even 18k gold (which is 25% NOT GOLD!).
316L stainless steel the grade regarded as the the most resistant to corrosion and commonly produced. Some brands, like Rolex, produce their own proprietary stainless steel in recent years. Harder than silver and gold, stainless keeps an edge allowing for better and finer detail in designs, more precision, and therefor better quality.
The production of steel, re-use, longevity https://www.ssina.com/value-propositions/sustainability/ all factor into the final discussion when considering the environment and sustainable choices. While, www.blackandbluejewelry.com has been using stainless steel since 2007 the brand is not alone. For all of its incredible qualities, stainless steel has been the choice of many fine jewelry makers.