Beyond Bling

True Treasures Avert Eco-Harm




Done right, Valentine’s Day and gifts of jewelry go together like love and marriage. Those that have no desire to support the unsafe worker conditions, widespread price fixing and waste associated with gold mining, also linked to pollution, financing wars and terrorism, look for better options. They wish to have no part in underwriting standard ring-making practices which, according to the Worldwatch Institute, create tons of toxic mining waste that can persist for decades and enter the food chain. Happily, there are far more ethical choices.

Alternate routes. Among many sustainable and socially responsible options, jewelry made from recycled gold, silver and titanium plus synthetic gemstones is offered by GreenKarat (GreenKarat.com) while Brilliant Earth (BrilliantEarth.com) provides antiques and also custom makes or helps customers create their own treasured gifts utilizing minerals from pure sources; the company also donates 5 percent of its profits to support communities that have suffered from unethical industry practices.

Heirlooms. A son or grandson gifting a grandmother’s or mother’s cherished piece of jewelry to a spouse or girlfriend expresses a tradition of love and family connectivity, plus gives new life to precious items. Michelle Ercanbrack, a family historian at Ancestry.com, recommends using a family-treasured diamond in a more modern setting or making a ring into a pendant. “Heirlooms link the present to the past—they are part of a family narrative that can increase the present generation’s sense of belonging and identity,” she says.

Native American jewelry. Deborah Nelson, owner of Silver Eagle Gallery, in Naples, Florida, and Highlands, North Carolina, attests that artful jewelry by Native Americans supports their culture and forges a connection to Americana with timeless appeal. Bracelets made by Navajo Indians incorporate turquoise pieces often linked together or set in mosaic form on a sterling band. Sterling silver and golden amber sunburst rings also make good gifts. “The handmade attention to detail is a stark contrast to what’s cast in a mold overseas,” says Nelson.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Feeding Healthy Habits

Today’s barrage of junk food ads can easily influence kids for the worse, but 10 strategies, including visiting farmers’ markets, teaching cooking skills and implementing device-free family meals, can help them choose to eat better.

Beyond Sustainability

Farmers are increasingly exploring inexpensive organic methods to return microbial diversity to the soil, which could help mitigate a warming planet by allowing soil to absorb more carbon.

Aysha Akhtar on Our Symphony With Animals

Through her personal story as a survivor of childhood abuse and the stories of others, the neurologist demonstrates the scientific bond between animals and humans—and how they can heal each other.

Take It Easy on the Eggs

Eating three to four eggs a week increases heart disease mortality by 6 percent and all-cause mortality by 8 percent, a new study found.

Savor Cherries to Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Montmorency tart cherries in juice or capsules lower systolic blood pressure and insulin levels within hours, reducing factors that lead to metabolic syndrome.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags