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How Can Jewellery Be Sustainable?

Updated: Mar 4

By definition, being sustainable is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs and this is what it means for Silver & Fern.

A silver chaina silver oak lead pendant showing reticulation and a small amber gemstone link bracelet made using recycled silver. There is a small handcrafted fern leaf attached to the middle bracelet link.

I do my best to ensure Silver & Fern is as sustainable and as ethical as it can be. I use recycled metals, non-toxic and vegan-friendly polishes, and eco-friendly packaging and ensure the production of my jewellery is fully traceable from start to finish. You'll find a few points below explaining what sustainable jewellery is which will help you in deciding who to purchase from in future.



What is the difference between ethical and sustainable?


Ethical refers to the process and supply chain involved in making the jewellery (the people involved) whereas sustainable refers to the effects of the production of the item, on the environment. To me, they both go hand-in-hand - why run an ethical business if it's not doing its best to be sustainable? or why have a sustainable business if you don't care about how ethically it is produced?


Recycled & reclaimed metals


When making my jewellery, I only use recycled or reclaimed materials. Both the sterling silver and fine silver used in Silver & Fern designs are recycled silver.


Sometimes I receive donations of old silver jewellery or even small bundles of beads and gemstone jewellery. By taking in these donations I can create up-cycled jewellery using the beads and gemstones - giving the original items a fresh start instead of scrapping them.


With donated silver, I melt down the silver and create something completely new. The Pebble Stud earrings I create are made using either reclaimed silver or scraps and offcuts of previous projects I have worked on.


Sometimes I use materials such as Fordite or Surfite to create colourful jewellery. Both fordite and surfite cabochons are made from waste products. Fordite is made from the waste paint that drips off Ford vehicles when being spray painted and Surfite is made from the run-offs of the colourful resin used to coat surfboards. How cool is that?!


Black, white and red Fordite cabochon set in a silver pendant with 3 small silver balls soldered below the fordite cabochon.
A black, white and red Fordite cabochon set in a silver pendant.


Vegan & environmentally friendly materials


Being vegan and environmentally friendly is extremely important to me both as a person and for my business. As a vegan myself, I wanted to ensure my business was also vegan-friendly so I only use vegan-friendly/non-animal-based products when making jewellery. It is important to me that all aspects of my business are vegan-friendly; from the polishing compounds, the printing inks used on my business cards and also any cleaning solutions I use.


POLISHING COMPOUND

Every polishing compound I use is vegan-friendly. Many polishing compounds have tallow in them which is animal fat but the polishing compounds I use are water-based instead. They still give the same great polish but without the use of any animal product to create them.


PICKLE

Jewellery pickle is the solution I use to remove impurities such as fire scale from my jewellery. The solution I use is 100% non-toxic and biodegradable.


Fire scale naturally develops during the soldering process, where the oxygen in the air comes into contact with the surface of the metal, oxidising the copper content within the metal and bringing copper oxide to the surface. It causes a dark grey colour to form on the surface which needs to be removed before polishing can begin.


Pickle is a very useful component in making precious metal jewellery!


INKS

The inks used for printing my business cards and other materials are all water-based rather than solvent-based. Solvent-based inks contain volatile organic compounds which can harm health and also get released into the environment, slowly contributing to the abundance of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.



Eco-Friendly packaging


All of my packaging is recyclable; the box, tape, packing filler and business cards. I currently give a free cotton gift pouch with each order to keep your jewellery safe when it's unworn.


Gift boxes are available upon request and are made from recycled materials and sustainably made. They are also biodegradable, compostable and recyclable!


A green cotton gift pouch and Silver & Fern business card with the Fungi Necklace.


Planting trees to offset emissions


I work with Ecologi to offset my carbon emissions and plant a tree for every purchase. You can view Silver & Fern's Ecologi profile by clicking the link above - you will be able to see how many trees Silver & fern has helped to plant.


Ecologi are also very transparent with how many trees they plant and provide all of their paperwork showing the number of trees they plant each year and where they are located.




Buy sustainably!


So that's what goes into creating a sustainable and ethical business! Hopefully, you now understand more about sustainability and will choose to shop with sustainable and ethical businesses.


You can find your perfect piece of jewellery here.


Silver & Fern logo against a photo of a fidget pendant

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