vintage engagement rings

Environmental and Social Issues With Fine Jewellery


Fine jewellery is well-known for its rare minerals and gemstones used in modern pieces. The issue is that they are not ethically sourced in most third-world countries. Furthermore, they will use giant machinery to extract these materials. It contributes a lot to the ozone layer and impacts global warming. It is one of the reasons why many people buy vintage engagement rings instead of modern rings from fine jewellery stores. Let’s take a look at how fine jewellery impacts the planet.

What Are The Issues Of Producing Fine Jewellery?

From start to finish, the production of fine jewellery is unsustainable. During the mining process, mines will contribute a large amount of air pollution. Volatile organic compounds and other hazardous air pollutants are produced during the process.

Mining companies will also use hazardous chemicals to extract these materials from the ground. It means these toxic chemicals will then be in the environment around the mine including the earth itself.

Land degradation also occurs during the mining process. That is due to the mining companies removing soil so they can dig into the ground. That will destabilise the area they are mining. Furthermore, it can produce large open pits.

The amount of earth required to be mined is nowhere near worth the pollution it produces. Furthermore, the machinery used will use fossil fuels, which also contributes a large amount of greenhouse gases.

The amount of waste produced during this process is also a lot. For example, around 250 tons of earth will be extracted per carat for mined diamonds. Additionally, 20 tons of waste are produced when crafting a single golden ring. All of this requires a lot of energy to be used to extract these materials and therefore, produces a lot of greenhouse gases.

Is Production Of Fine Jewellery Ethical?

The production of fine jewellery isn’t ethical either. Usually, modern mines will underpay those miners and make them work extensive hours. In less developed countries, people will often be miners so they can fund their families.

Additionally, these mines contribute to air pollution and, can also affect local water supplies. That will then affect those who live in the area, causing respiratory issues. Moreover, because the earth has been affected by mining, it makes it extremely difficult for people to farm on this land, causing difficulty to grow crops and produce food for the area.

Another issue with modern mines is they can lead to hundreds, sometimes thousands of people being without homes. It is due to these mining companies buying the land and destroying those homes so they can mine for new materials.


There are many issues with mines and the production of fine jewellery. If you are one of those who wants to reduce their carbon footprint then you can when looking for jewellery. We advise you to buy from vintage jewellery stores as you are supporting the second-hand market and not paying for modern-day mined materials.


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