It's been awhile since I've bought new jewelry - I usually wear the same pair of heart-shaped studs every day, and rotate between two necklaces, if I wear one at all (it used to be three, until one of them broke).
There was a time in my life when I layered on endless cheap accessories (including armfuls of those plastic black bangles that had a revival in the early 2000s emo crowd, I must admit), but I feel now I've strayed too far in the opposite direction with my extreme minimalism (or, some would say, just plain old boring-ness).
From left to right: Elaina; Sundara.
When J and I were looking at engagement and wedding rings, I knew it was important to me that any gemstones be conflict-free and sustainably sourced, and I was excited to find lots of rings made from recycled gold (which cuts down on all the environmental impacts of having to mine for new metals). We ended up picking out rings from Ken and Dana Designs, a New York designer that met all our environmental criteria, had beautiful pieces, and were all around lovely to work with. I couldn't be happier with the rings we ended up with, and it was definitely worth every penny.
From left to right: Mable; Bridgette.
However, when it comes to non-wedding jewelry, I was looking for pieces that didn't require quite so much of an investment. So I was curious to see whether I could find more everyday jewelry that shared that commitment to ecologically-friendly, ethical production without breaking the bank. After a little bit of digging, I've found so many beautiful choices that now the difficult part will be not buying everything! I've tried to focus on pieces that are priced at a budget for every day wear.
Good news! Ken and Dana also has a collection of non-wedding jewelry, and they are beautiful. Like the delicate Rinlet necklace (left) or the super fresh Kalika earrings (right).
Dana Bronfman is another NYC designer who uses reclaimed metals and ethical gemstones to create must-have pieces with a little urban edge - like the Tiny Trina Pendant necklace (left) or the Tiny Trio Cuff (right).
From the opposite coast, Beklina is a family-owned business in Northern California emphasizing organic, sustainable fashion and showcasing independent artists and designers. I can't get enough of their candy-colored French enamel lockets (left), and this lovely long turquoise necklace (right) is so pretty and elegant.
The tag line for fashion company Ash & Rose is "ethical, sustainable, beautiful," Their extensive jewelry collection is also affordably priced, which is good because they have a ton of gorgeous, wear-with-everything options to choose from - like these nest earrings (left) and this stacking chevrons necklace (right).
Ruff & Cut embraces natural textures and raw gems in an aesthetic that echoes their commitment to sustainable jewelry, as seen in their Hammered Silver Medallion Pendant (left) and Aureole earrings (right).
Wild Mantle bills themselves as a socially and environmentally conscious fashion company, which comes across in their small jewelry collection handcrafted from sustainable materials, like the unique Mica necklace (left) or the graceful Heartwood earrings (right).
Zady is primarily a fashion house for men and women with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. Their jewelry is versatile and perfect for everyday wear - like the hammered gold bar necklace (left) or the island gradient necklace (right), both of which would lend a touch of class and style to just about everything in my closet.
Helpsy is a NYC-based company curating fashion (including shoes and accessories) and home goods with an emphasis on social and environmental responsibility. Their wide selection is budget-friendly, and you can find everything from the cheeky - like this Feminist necklace (left) that I must have, proceeds from which also benefit Planned Parenthood - to the sophisticated - like this crescent moon necklace (right), proceeds from which funds educational training for women artists in African communities.
I was excited to find so many options that emphasize style without sacrificing a commitment to ethical and sustainable production, and surprised to see how much is fairly affordable.
We've just scratched the tip of the socially responsible, eco-friendly fashion iceberg, but it should be plenty to get you started on any Valentine's Day gift wish lists <3
*Did anyone else watch How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days a million times over? No? Our tv in college went through a period where it broke and the only two movies we had in the tv room were How to Lose a Guy and Love Actually, so I remember a period when I just watched those two repeatedly because no one could be bothered to bring a new DVD into the tv room. Anyway, the title for this post comes from the first of those two. Enjoy!