December 9, 2010

Green your Bling. ~ Rachel Ava

Dressing the part: A tale of “Green” Jewels.

I remember feeling of a soft chill swirl through my body as I slipped my toes out of my Birkenstocks and into the inviting bright green blades of midday grass, my gold ankle bracelet catching the light for a moment before it cooled against my skin.

My politics seminar had taken to the quad on account of the balmy Midwestern Indian summer, and we were heatedly discussing the implications of International Criminal Tribunals in the developing world. Wide-eyed college liberals grappling for a chance to understand the greater universe and all its injustices, we sat cloaked under the shade of college campus oak trees and library buildings.

Little did we know how little we knew.

As a responsible “adult” with an ephemeral presence on any particular continent for a given period of time, I can still feel the shivers running through my spine as I sift through memories of serious discussions about a sustainable and just world while I was unknowingly feeding into many of its injustices.

One of the many truths I’ve picked up along this journey through adulthood and its fabulous array of corresponding body aches and pains is the understanding of how my personal habits and consumerism affects the citizens of the world. It may be my grassy granola education snickering in the dungeons of my mind, but choosing a lifestyle that does not feed into the ills of the world is harder than us college kids could ever have imagined.

These days I sit comfortably at the crossroads of dating, work and marriage. Watching friend by friend announce their engagements and show off their engagement rings with pride sends those same shivers up my spine because now I know where the gold and diamonds are truly coming from. With a deep understanding of the environmental implications of diamond and gold mining, I implore all mindful people to be aware of the jewels they are donning and consider the following when purchasing new jewelry:

  1. Try and purchase jewelry made of recycled precious metals. Metal mining (particularly gold mining) is incredibly environmentally destructive. Twenty tons of ore are required to produce just one diamond ring, and many gold mines are involved in inhumane labor practices and water contamination problems.
  2. Eco-friendly jewelry often supports artisans in impoverished communities or in fair trade organizations. In this light, you know that if you purchase eco friendly jewelry you will be contributing to a greater good.
  3. Buying jewelry from a supplier who works with the Fairtrade Foundation ensures that the miners and workers who have created your jewelry are receiving fair pay for their work and they are treated in a humane and proper way in the workplace.
  4. If you are buying diamonds, be sure that you are purchasing conflict-free diamonds. This means that you should steer your purchasing toward diamonds backed by the World Diamond Council. It’s incredibly important to be sure you are not buying blood diamonds when you are purchasing diamonds for yourself or a loved one. To read more about the diamond conflict visit Diamond Facts.org.
  5. If you are purchasing your ring online, be sure to check out the retailer’s stance on conflict-free diamonds. Most stores will have a testimonial and a policy against conflict-free diamonds on their sites.

Following a few mindful steps will get you on the right track to being a worldly citizen still tuned into the green grass, the healing of the world, and your very adult-like life.

Rachel Ava is a jewelry and diamond expert, with a passion for all things nature. She works as a consultant for major jewelry companies and in her free time she writes and researches about conflict-diamonds and best-consumer practices. She is also an avid yogalaties practitioner.

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