Caring for others and wanting to make the world a better place have always been a part of me. I studied medicine and public health in hopes of helping people through improving their health. I have done countless races, rides, and fundraisers for charities that I believe in. When I was growing up I would spend my nights and weekends doing charity work around town, helping at the nursing home, helping at the food bank, volunteer babysitting for families in need. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was a nerd with a big heart and I still am one today. And now more than ever, as I travel the world in what is undoubtedly the greatest job ever, I’m continually struck with the reality that many people around the world live in. Most people are not as lucky as you and I. Millions of people live on less than a dollar a day. It’s unfathomable to some, but now that I’ve traveled so much, it’s unavoidable to me. There’s no quick solution to these problems and we may never see in our lifetimes an end to the violence, poverty, hunger, and inequality that plagues much of the world. But we can’t ignore it either, so I propose that we all put in the effort to make charity and giving back a part of our regular lives. One way that we can do so is by shopping through brands that make giving back a the core of their mission statement. Today I want to share with you my 10 favorite ethical jewelry companies. These are companies that are making great strides to improve our world, so I encourage you to visit their stores and purchase something beautiful. Then whenever you wear it, you know you have helped contribute to positive change. These are my 10 favorite ethical jewelry companies:
Soko began in Nairobi, Kenya with an idea to empower local artisan entrepreneurs and expose their work to an international market. They use recycled, locally sourced, and eco-friendly materials to craft their beautiful jewelry. Their handmade, ethical jewelry is a whole new kind of luxury.
Rose + Fitzgerald
Rose + Fitzgerald employs local artisans in Uganda to create handcrafted jewelry made from locally sourced materials. This company employs local artisans at their studio in Kampala to craft their jewelry designs. Providing jobs for talented artists and access to international markets, they are helping Ugandans find their own solutions.
Project Bead sells jewelry made by local artisans in southeast Ghana. The beads they use are made of recycled glass, and each one is hand-painted for a unique look. They operate as a social enterprise that donates 100% of profits to fund education for students in Ghana. Their jewelry is colorful and fun and beautiful, so buy your beads today and wear them with pride!
Cred Jewelry has been pioneering the movement for responsible mining practices to source the gold, silver, and platinum used in their jewelry for 20 years. They were the first jewelry company to produce a Fairtrade gold wedding ring. They work with the Sotrami mining community in Peru and a co-op in Nepal to source their materials. Help support their supply chain transparency, fair wages, and safe working conditions, by purchasing and wearing their beautiful jewelry.
Rebel Nell employs disadvantaged women in Detroit to create unique and beautiful works of graffiti jewelry. They work with these women to educate and empower them so that they can build solutions for themselves. The jewelry is beautiful and the company is a reminder that suffering can be found anywhere, that we need to remember to help those within our own country too.
Raven + Lilly
Raven + Lilly uses their jewelry line (as well as their fashion and lifestyle lines) to alleviate poverty and suffering for women. They employ marginalized women to provide them with a career, fair wages, safe work environment, and benefits to lead happy lives. When you wear their jewelry, you’ll know you’ve helped women around the world, including in Guatemala, India, and more.
Brilliant Earth is fighting the problems of the blood diamond market by ensuring that the diamonds used in their jewelry is sourced from an ethical and environmentally friendly source. They go beyond the Conflict Free diamond guarantee, setting the bar higher than the industry standard, to ensure no human has suffered for the production of their diamonds. And that’s a diamond you can truly feel proud to wear!
Purpose Jewelry provides opportunities to survivors of slavery by employing them as artisans. 100% of their profits go to International Sanctuary, a nonprofit that provides comprehensive care and rehabilitation services to women who have escaped the sex trade. Help empower survivors when you wear their jewelry.
The Giving Keys
The Giving Keys is an LA-based jewelry company that employs people transitioning out of homelessness. They create necklaces made of old keys that have an inspirational word engraved into them. Their customers wear the necklaces, embrace the word etched onto them, and then pay it forward to someone who needs the message even more. Many pay it forward stories have been shared on their website, showing the reach of their giving key messages.
Same Sky works with women in Rwanda to provide a hand up (not a hand-out). They provide artists in Rwanda with the training and tools to create beautiful handmade jewelry, which is then available worldwide through Same Sky’s global reach. They empower Rwandan women, giving them the opportunity to earn twenty times more than the average wage in Sub-Saharan Africa.
These are just a few of the amazing ethical jewelry companies out there who are striving to make a difference in the world by improving transparency in sourcing materials, by supporting local artisans, by upholding Fairtrade standards, and by making ethical and charitable work the foundation of their company. These are my favorites but there are so many! Be a conscience consumer, and take a look at where the things you’re buying come from. Consumers have great power through their purchasing, so let’s support the companies that are doing their part to make the world a better place.
All photos were sourced from the companies to which they reference.