Sourcing Ethical Metal for Jewelry-Making

open pit mine
We’ve talked quit a bit around here about eco-friendly jewelry making. From making your own recycled colored pencil beads to using yoga to recoop after a jeweling marathon, there are lots of ways to green up your jewelry making adventures.

One thing that I don’t think gets enough attention is the metal that we use in our crafting. Between chains, clasps, and wire for wrapping, metal plays a huge part in any handmade piece of jewelry. That metal can have a huge impact on the environment.

A lot of conventional gold, silver and copper mining is devastating both to mountains and to the surrounding areas. Many mining companies use a process similar to strip mining, and the runoff from this practice pollutes soil and water, and displaces tens of thousands of people each year because of this pollution. “Open pit” mines like the one pictured above are the main culprits.

Small-scale mining has its own problems, especially where gold is concerned. A recent article from Yale Environment 360 talked about the rise of mercury poisoning that accompanies a rise in gold prices, like the one we’re experiencing now. There’s also the issue of illegal gold mining, like the sort that caused mass lead poisoning in Nigeria.

So how can we make our own jewelry eco-friendly? There are luckily a couple of eco-options out there. Let’s take a look.

Next >> Recycled Metal

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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