When we talk about living more sustainably our heads often go to reducing plastic, switching to reusables, walking more, flying less and so on but one really impactful way of doing more for the environment is opting to shop vintage over new. There are many fantastic secondhand options available to us these days from charity shops to antique stores, online shops and apps, all of which allow items to continue to be used and cherished. I am sure that many of you already know the benefits of shopping for clothing in this way but have you ever considered the environmental benefits of buying antique jewellery? Let’s take a look at some of those here…
Shopping pre-loved/secondhand or antique leads to what we call a circular economy. By not creating something new which will eventually end up in the bin (a linear economy), we can allow items to continue to be used by another person and when they have finished using it/enjoying it then it can go on to the next and so on, thus keeping it in circulation. By shopping in this way, we are reducing the need for the production of new products, which reduces pollution and carbon emissions. It is a really effective way of living more sustainably.
Gold and Diamond Mining
There are a number of ethical issues associated with diamond and gold mining for new jewellery. Firstly, it can cause land erosion and reduce the biodiversity in the areas surrounding the dig sites and secondly, it usually leads to water pollution from harmful waste products. On top of this, working conditions are usually extremely poor with the health of workers, age, breaks, safety etc not being taken into account.
And lastly, mining uses a significant amount of water and energy resulting in the emissions of greenhouse gases so by choosing antique jewellery rather than a new piece you will be helping to prevent the demand for this from increasing.
These mines are usually in remote locations which means once they are sourced, they will then need to go on long journeys to be exported around the world. This will occur via lorries, boats and planes which all come with their carbon footprint.
Always in Style
Vintage Jewellery never goes out of style. Unlike many fashion pieces that are made today, antique pieces are timeless, their beauty always being appreciated (due to the workmanship that has clearly gone into them) and they can be paired up with any outfit. Shopping for jewellery in this way gives you a piece that has history, that holds many a secret story and means you too will treasure it.
Antique Jewellery Sustainability
By choosing antique jewellery you can feel assured that your chosen piece wouldn’t have ever had an impact on the environment as those mentioned above. Jewellery made many years ago would have been mined in a very different way, on a smaller scale with no chemicals involved. It would have been lovingly created by hand with no factories and with the intent to ensure it would last. And finally, due to this workmanship and costs involved, you can guarantee that an antique piece would have been well cared for over the years with it undergoing repairs as and when required and being cleaned in the appropriate way.
If you are looking for a new piece of jewellery, going antique is the perfect way of ensuring you get a unique and great quality item whilst caring for our environment at the same time.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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