13 Best Sustainable Jewelry Brands to Buy Right Now

Of all the accessories we love and treasure, jewelry can be one of the most sentimental. The best sustainable jewelry brands get it, but they also get that quality and beautiful design can go hand in hand with being kind to the planet.

We’re all thinking more and more these days about how to protect our planet and where to shop – and buying pieces that have a long lifespan, like jewelry, is a great place to start if you want to feel good about an upcoming gift or treat – buy yourself. Crucial for this feel-good factor: buy brands that not only display ethical values, but also build their businesses around them.

Ethical fashion can look like different things to different people, so we’ve rounded up 13 of our favorite sustainable and ethical jewelry brands right now. From maintaining traditional craftsmanship, to sourcing materials responsibly and engaging in return initiatives that really make an impact, each of these brands gets the job done and creates tiny heirlooms that will outlive any purchase from fast mode. Whether it’s 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 eponymous brand in 1997. Manning’s signature style is a blend of recycled 14-karat gold and rare and responsible gemstones like opals, pearls and sapphires. Plus, each piece is handcrafted by artists in their green-certified studios in California and Brooklyn.

2. Catbird

Look to Catbird for the stacks of rings 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 (i.e. pre-pandemic), you’ve probably seen a line of tourists and locals at the door. Yes it’s this popular. Additionally, the Catbird Giving Fund donates 1% of all sales to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and She’s the First.

3. Monique Vinader

It’s not everyday that you see jewelry brands making drastic changes towards sustainability, but Monica Vinader is doing just that. The British designer recently unveiled her very first 100% recycled silver collection with influencer Doina Ciobanu. It marks the brand’s first step towards 100% recycled silver by the end of the year. From snake chain bracelets to stackable rings, this capsule collection is proof that sustainable fashion and ethical sourcing can live in perfect harmony.

4. True

If you’re looking for jewelry for a special occasion (i.e. wedding or engagement rings), check out True. The direct-to-consumer jewelry company controls every aspect of its supply chain, including diamonds that are sustainably created by Diamond Foundry, the world’s only certified carbon neutral diamond producer according to its site. Vrai’s creations are simple yet timeless, and you can shop by diamond cut (round, oval, emerald, marquise, etc.) or style (bracelet, ring, necklace, or earrings). Plus, everything is set with recycled solid gold and platinum and its packaging is fully compostable.

5. Oremme

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 built into its mission, whether using certified conflict-free diamonds, focusing 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 association). From her Dew Drops or Bud Stud earrings, think of those modern heirlooms you’ll want to pass on.

6. Svnr

We first wrote about Christina Tung’s jewelry brand, Svnr (pronounced “souvenir”), for our Charm Game Changers series on women-led brands to buy, and we’ve been fans of her creations ever since. Each barrette, earring or necklace is entirely made from second-hand or reused natural materials such as pearls, cowries and baroque pearls, leaving no impact on the environment. The earrings are sold individually, with the aim of mixing and matching, and the styles (and their names) are inspired by faraway destinations like Lagos, Positano and Havana.

7. Akola

From its hand-rolled beaded bracelets to its raffia earrings, all of Akola’s jewelry is made in Uganda from sustainably sourced and recycled materials like recycled glass beads, cow horn and palm leaf raffia. Akola translates to “she works” in a Ugandan dialect, which reflects the brand’s intention to support local women by providing them with decent pay and fair working conditions. Empowering marginalized communities is not only important financially; it is also essential to maintain traditional jewelry making practices.

8. Bagatiba

What do Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kaia Gerber and Angelina Jolie have in common? They all adore Bagatiba’s 90s-inspired gold jewelry. The Los Angeles-based brand sources all of its recycled and unused materials locally, and has a closed-loop return policy so you can donate your unwanted metal jewelry for a discount on your next purchase. Bagatiba also recently made the 15% pledge, which calls on retailers and brands to create space and empower Black-owned businesses, artists and designers.

9. Soko

By establishing a network of local artisan jewelers through its “virtual factory” (a digital platform that connects to consumers, orders and payments), Soko has harnessed traditional craftsmanship in Kenya to create jobs and practices fair working conditions for small creators. But Soko’s commitment to fair trade doesn’t stop there: each piece is also handcrafted from eco-friendly materials like recycled brass and reclaimed cow horn.

10. Zoe Chicco

An enduring jewelry brand that can appeal to minimalists and maximalists alike. Zoë Chicco’s worn rings, earrings and charm necklaces look equally beautiful alone or stacked. The brand uses recycled 14k gold and responsibly sourced diamonds to make its jewelry, but what really sets us apart is the community it has created in its Los Angeles studio. She, along with around 20 local artists, come together every day to model, set and shape pieces you’ll love to wear.

11. Circus of Wolves

Created and run by women, Wolf Circus is a demi-fine jewelry brand from Vancouver that follows a “by women for women” philosophy. All of her pieces are hand cast using recycled sterling silver or recycled bronze for women who want unique designs at affordable prices. Wolf Circus designs (like the glass hoops below) are whimsical but never kitschy and look great with the simplest of t-shirts.

12. Poppy

Although we always have vintage jewelry, pearls can look dated (and they can also be very expensive). But that’s not the case with Poppy Finch, another Vancouver-based brand that first caught our eye for their modern, affordable take on the pearl trend you may have seen. (Who can forget Harry Styles’ pearl necklace?)

Once we started reading about Poppy Finch, we discovered that the brand has incorporated sustainability and transparency into all aspects of its supply chain. For example, all of its pearls are sourced from responsible farmers in China, 75% of its gold is recycled to its purity, and all diamonds in the designs are conflict-free. All that to say: if you are nostalgic for grandmother’s pearls, this may be the brand for you.

13. Ages

Jewelry often intertwines with other art forms, and Agmes’ sculptural creations are a prime example. Co-founded by sister duo Morgan and Jaclyn Solomon in 2016, Agmes takes a zero-waste approach to jewelry making: the brand works with local designers in New York to produce items to order, and nearly all of them precious metals. she uses are recycled. All unused materials are sent back to suppliers to be remelted, so nothing is left unused.

Since sustainability can also mean showing up for your community, Agmes takes it a step further by also designing pieces that give back. For example, by December, 5% of the proceeds from her Wishbone collection (like the gold earring below) will go to support the ACLU.