Of all the accessories we love and cherish, jewelry can be one the most sentimental. The best sustainable jewelry brands get that—but they also get that quality and beautiful design can go hand in hand with doing right by the planet.
We’re all thinking harder and longer these days about how to protect our planet and where to shop—and buying pieces that have longevity, like jewelry, is a great place to start if you want to feel good about an upcoming gift or a treat yourself purchase. Crucial for that feel-good factor: Shopping from brands that not only advertise ethical values but actually build their businesses around them.
Ethical fashion can look like different things to different people, so we rounded up 13 of our favorite sustainable and ethical jewelry brands right now. From upholding traditional craftsmanship to responsibly sourcing materials and committing to give-back initiatives that truly make an impact, each one of these brands is doing the work and creating tiny heirlooms that’ll outlast any fast fashion purchase. Whether for yourself or a loved one, shop 13 of the best sustainable jewelry brands, below.
1. Melissa Joy Manning
Even if you don’t own anything from her, chances are you’ve heard of Melissa Joy Manning. The designer is a pioneer of sustainability in the jewelry industry, having founded her namesake brand in 1997. Manning’s signature style is a mix of recycled 14-karat gold, and rare, responsibly-sourced gemstones like opals, pearls, and sapphires. What’s more—each piece is handcrafted by artists in her green-certified studio in California or Brooklyn.
Look to Catbird for ring stacks and arm parties that Instagram gold is made of. The female-owned and operated brand produces all of its jewelry in its Brooklyn studio to minimize manufacturing waste—and if you’ve ever wandered the streets of Williamsburg (pre-pandemic that is), you’ve probably seen a line of tourists and locals out the door. Yep, it’s that popular. Plus, the Catbird Giving Fund donates one percent of all its sales to organizations like Planned Parenthood and She’s the First.
3. Monica Vinader
It’s not every day you see jewelry brands make radical shifts towards sustainability, but Monica Vinader is doing exactly that. The British designer recently unveiled its first-ever collection made from 100% recycled silver with influencer, Doina Ciobanu—and it marks the brand’s first step in moving towards 100% recycled silver by the end of the year. From the snake-chain bracelets to the stackable rings, this capsule collection is proof that sustainable fashion and ethical sourcing can live in perfect harmony.
If you’re looking for special occasion jewelry (think: wedding or engagement rings), check out Vrai‘s lab-grown diamonds. The direct-to-consumer jewelry company controls every aspect of its supply chain—from growing its own diamonds to certifying them as carbon neutral. Its designs are simple yet timeless, and you can shop according to diamond cut (round, oval, emerald, marquise, etc.) or style (bracelet, ring, necklace, or earrings). Everything is set in recycled solid gold and platinum, and its packaging is fully compostable.
The idea behind Oremme came to founder Emilie Nolan through the ritual of “marking life’s moments with jewelry.” As a demi-fine brand, Oremme has responsible production baked into its mission—whether that’s by using certified conflict-free diamonds, homing in on small-batch production in Italy and Canada, or giving back to its community (like taking the 15 Percent Pledge and being a member of the 1% for the Planet Organization). Whether you go for its Dew Drops or Bud Stud earrings, consider these modern heirlooms that you’ll want to pass down.
We first wrote about Christina Tung’s jewelry brand, Svnr (pronounced “souvenir”), for our Glamour Game Changers series on women-run brands to shop—and we’ve been fans of her designs since. Each barrette, earring, or necklace is made entirely of secondhand or repurposed natural materials like beads, cowrie shells, and baroque pearls, leaving zero environmental impact. Earrings are sold individually, with the purpose of mixing and matching—and the styles (and their names) are inspired by far-flung destinations like Lagos, Positano, and Havana.
From its hand-rolled beaded bracelets to its raffia earrings, all of Akola’s jewelry is made in Uganda using sustainably-sourced and upcycled materials like recycled glass beads, cow horn, and raffia from palm leaves. Akola translates to “she works” in a dialect of Uganda, which mirrors the brand’s intention to support local women by providing them living wages and fair working conditions. Empowering marginalized communities isn’t just important financially, it’s also key to keeping traditional jewelry-making practices around.
What do Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kaia Gerber, and Angelina Jolie have in common? They all love Bagatiba’s ’90s-inspired gold jewelry. The Los Angeles-based brand sources all of its recycled and deadstock materials locally, and has a closed-loop return policy so you can donate any of your unwanted metal jewelry for a discount toward your next purchase. Bagatiba has also recently taken the 15 Percent Pledge, which calls on retailers and brands to create space and empower Black-owned businesses, artists, and designers.
By establishing a network of local artisan jewelers through its “virtual factory” (a digital platform that connects to consumers, orders, and payments), Soko has been harnessing traditional craftsmanship in Kenya to create jobs and fair labor practices for small designers. But Soko’s commitment to fair trade doesn’t stop there: Each piece is also handmade from eco-friendly materials like recycled brass and reclaimed cow horn.
10. Zoë Chicco
A sustainable jewelry brand that can appeal to minimalists and maximalists alike. Zoë Chicco’s threadbare rings, earrings, and charm necklaces look just as great solo or stacked. The brand uses recycled 14-karat gold and responsibly-sourced diamonds to make its jewelry, but what really stands out to us is the community she’s created in her LA studio. She, plus some 20 local artists, come together every day to mold, set, and shape pieces you’ll love to wear.
11. Wolf Circus
Wolf Circus is a demi-fine jewelry brand from Vancouver that follows a “by women for women” philosophy. Created and run by all women, all of its pieces are cast by hand using recycled sterling silver or recycled bronze for women who want unique designs at attainable prices. Wolf Circus’ designs (like the glass hoops below) are whimsical but never kitschy—and look great paired with the simplest of T-shirts.
12. Poppy Finch
While we’ll always stan vintage jewelry, pearls for one can feel dated (and they can also be really expensive). But that isn’t the case with Poppy Finch—another Vancouver-based brand that first caught our eye for its modern, affordable take on the pearl trend you may have been seeing around. (Who can forget Harry Styles’s pearl necklace?)
Once we started reading up on Poppy Finch, we discovered the brand has sustainability and transparency built into every aspect of its supply chain. For instance, all of its pearls come from responsible farmers in China, 75% of its gold is upcycled back to purity, and any diamonds in the designs are guaranteed conflict-free. All this to say: if you’re feeling nostalgic about grandma’s pearls, this could be the brand to get behind.
Jewelry often crosses over into other forms of art, and Agmes‘ sculptural designs are a prime example. Co-founded by sister duo Morgan and Jacyln Solomon in 2016, Agmes has a zero-waste approach to manufacturing its pieces of jewelry: the brand works with local designers in New York City to produce items on a made-to-order basis, and almost all of the precious metals it uses are recycled. Any unused materials are sent back to suppliers to be melted down again, so nothing goes unused.
Since sustainability can also mean showing up for your community, Agmes takes it one step further by also designing pieces that give back. For instance, from now through December, 5% of the proceeds of its Wishbone collection (like the gold earring below) will go to support the ACLU.