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Natalie Wilson

A Guide To Shopping For Sustainable Jewellery

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Jewellery accessories are a fantastic way to show off your unique style and turn an average day-to-day outfit into something a little more special. But, the jewellery you choose to buy and wear on a daily basis has a long-term effect on the earth, as well as the lives of the people who make it. 

 

Whilst ethical and sustainable jewellery might be more expensive in the short term, in the long term, your jewellery choices have a profound impact on the way an industry can evolve and change, particularly in an industry, such as the jewellery industry, that is known for unethical practices including diamond mining, water polluting etc. 

 

By choosing to invest in ethical and sustainable jewellery, you’re choosing to buy jewellery that will last longer and which will have less of an impact on the environment. Let’s have a look at a quick guide to shopping for sustainable jewellery pieces.

 

Go For Gold

Or white gold. Or Sterling Silver. Anything as long as it is real and good quality. When buying jewellery, you should be looking to buy pieces that are made of good, quality materials anyway, but if you’re looking to buy more sustainable pieces, then choosing solid metal as opposed to jewellery that is plated will not only ensure that the jewellery will last longer, but that it will also retain its value in the future. Solid gold jewellery, or real sterling silver or platinum jewellery, will always have some value and, in the future, you can always consider melting down the raw material to create something unique and new. 

 

Local Designers

If you want to make more sustainable jewellery choices, then one of the best and easiest ways to start is to stop buying from big companies that mass produce their jewellery pieces and, instead, look to find local jewellery suppliers. 

 

Often, by shopping with local suppliers, you can ensure that the materials used are sustainable and most will be happy the provide the source of the materials. Many local jewellery designers, in addition to being jewellery designers, will have other talents and interests to add to their designs and, with local designers being so passionate about their craft, you’ll also get to learn more about the history and inspiration behind the jewellery designs. 

 

Learn About The Practices Behind Ethical Jewellery

There are many reasons as to why jewellery production may not be ethical and there are many practices involved which can contribute to things such as pollution, poor working practices and over-mining. 

 

For example, mass-produced diamond jewellery may contribute to over-mining in certain areas around the world. As a result, diamond mining can have huge impacts on ecosystems, with some extreme cases seeing diamond miners re-routing natural rivers, polluting waterways and causing disastrous effects on fish and local wildlife. 

 

If you want to start making more ethical jewellery choices, then look to choose brands or pieces that use sustainably sourced diamonds or lab-grown diamonds instead. For modern jewellery pieces, a lot of contemporary jewellery brands are now using sustainable diamonds and gemstones in their designs. 

 

Simple Ways To Make Your Wardrobe Clean Out More Sustainable

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If you’re thinking about cleaning out your wardrobe and want to do it in a more sustainable way, then you’re in the right place! As the saying goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure, so there is definitely someone out there who will want what you no longer need. We’re here with a few simple tips that can help the environment and also even make you a bit of money! 

 

Donate What You Can! 

Our first tip is perhaps the most obvious; donate whatever you can. Anything that you no longer need, like or feel great in, take to your local charity shop. Just make sure that everything you are taking is in decent condition and clean (for anything that isn’t, we have another option which we will come onto!). Whether you’re clearing out your luxury womens tracksuits or your old gymwear, these pieces are still likely to have a lease of life in them! 

 

There are also quite a lot of other places aside from charity shops that accept second hand clothing, particularly refuges for people who are leaving all of their belongings behind, such as refugees or victims of domestic violence. When clearing out your wardrobe, collect everything that you think can be donated, take it to somewhere local and you will be making such a difference for these charities and the environment. 

 

Sell What You Can To Invest In More Sustainable Clothing

Our next tip is to sell anything that you think is worth it and use the profits to invest in more sustainable clothing. There are so many places online where you can sell your clothing, such as Depop or Vinted. You’d be surprised at what people buy, so just because you think something isn’t quite in its best condition, as long as you reflect that in the price, then might be in a chance of selling! You can also do swaps on these platforms, so you could find something you’ve been looking for and exchange it with someone. 

 

If you don’t have much time to manage your sales (once you commit a few hours to setting up your account, taking photos and uploading everything, it really doesn’t take much time at all), then some high street shops exchange old clothing for vouchers. For example, at H&M, you can take a bag of old clothing and get a £5 voucher in return, then the clothes will be recycled! 

 

Take Anything Broken To Local Seamstress

Last but not least, if you have any clothing that is broken or ripped, then you can take the scraps to a local seamstress. Some charity shops also accept them so it is worth asking. Scraps of clothing and textiles can be used to create amazing things, either if they are recycled or they can be used to create new items. So, even if you think something is not able to be sold or donated, the item is not necessarily at the end of its journey! 

Three Ways Your Fashion Brand Can Be More Sustainable

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2022 is the year when every business needs to be focusing on being sustainable. If you own a fashion brand, you have probably been thinking about new and innovative ways to help your brand become eco-friendly. Luckily for you, we have compiled a list of things that you can do to become more sustainable.

Make The Most of Sustainable Materials

Sustainable materials are one of the easiest ways to ensure that your brand makes the right moves to being eco-friendly. However, this particular method is more expensive than using cheap materials, something that many fast fashion brands will do. 

Sustainable materials are from renewable resources and they won’t damage the environment once they are disposed of. Furthermore, there are many sustainable materials out there that can be used. These are recycled and upcycled materials which are from second-hand clothing. Bio-based materials include cotton which hasn't been grown with any chemicals. Finally, using materials which are biodegradable and won’t harm the environment. 

 

Limit Down Water Consumption

Water consumption is exceedingly high within the fashion industry which is why you limit how much water you use. Although this may be difficult for a fashion brand to limit their water consumption, it would be advised that you use fewer materials which need a lot of water. Again, if you make the switch to using sustainable materials such as organic cotton and other materials which are sustainable. For example, use more sustainable materials when designing full tracksuits and other items of clothing. 

 

Make Your Packaging Eco-Friendly 

Something that a lot of fashion brands are doing is ensuring that they are using eco-friendly packaging. Additionally, a lot of businesses will go over the top with packaging such as Amazon. However, if you are using eco-friendly packaging, you are putting yourself above the rest. It is a simple method yet effective way of ensuring that your brand is being more sustainable. 

 

Avoid Using Harmful Chemicals

Another great way to ensure your brand is being more environmentally friendly is to avoid using harmful chemicals. If you wish for your brand to be more sustainable, get into contact with suppliers that identify the chemicals that they use. Not only will this benefit your fashion brand but it can benefit the people that are wearing the product as well as the environment. 

 

To Conclude

As you can see, there are many ways to ensure that your fashion brand is more sustainable. However, this is not a short process, it is going to need a lot of negotiating with multiple suppliers so be patient. Do the basics early such as using recyclable packing for your products and people will start to see you becoming a more sustainable brand. 

A Guide on How to Dress for Special Occasions

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Over the past few years, dress codes have been a long and distant memory as we ditched formal wear in favour of loungewear and comfy clothing during the pandemic. But now, as we find ourselves in the new normal, special occasions such as weddings, parties and graduations find themselves being added to our calendars more frequently.

 

Dress codes are important, as they help to signify the smartness of an event and give guests an idea of what is expected of them. But, unless you’re heading to a races event or attending an extravagant lunch, most special occasions come without a formal dress code. If you’re not quite sure what to wear for special occasions, let’s take a look at some top tips on how to dress for special occasions. 

 

Weddings

Unless the couple has asked for a specific theme or dress code, then it’s best to assume that the dress code is smart, formal wear. As an unwritten rule, women should avoid the colour white in respect of the bride, but other than that, anything formal is appropriate. 

 

If you’re attending both the ceremony and evening parts of a wedding, then you want to ensure that your outfit can go from day to night, whether you add a pashmina or shawl for the cooler evenings, or remove statement jewellery pieces once the wedding breakfast is over, there are many different ways you can change your look during the day. 

 

For men, a smart, dark suit can never go wrong, especially when paired with a crisp white shirt and formal shoes. Add some personality with your pocket square or tie choice. 

 

A Graduation Ceremony

If you’ve recently finished university or higher education, then your graduation ceremony is likely scheduled into your calendar. When it comes to your graduation, you should prepare for a long day ahead, so you need to ensure that you’re comfortable, as well as smartly dressed. 

 

When it comes to what to wear, remember that you’ll be wearing a cap and gown for your main graduation ceremony, but you still have photographs with family and friends, as well as the celebration event following the ceremony, so you want to ensure that you look and feel amazing - it is a special day, after all! 

 

For spring and summer graduation ceremonies, express your personality with a dress in a spring or summer colour/pattern. For winter or autumn graduations, dark block colours are most in keeping with the seasons. With dresses, you find the middle ground between over and under dressed and can add to it as you see fit and if you’re planning on celebrating into the evening, then you can always change into a night out dress! If you’re wearing a suit, then a smart dark jacket and pants combo, with a shirt colour of your choice, is a fail-safe option. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes - you’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing! 

 

Dinner or Cocktail Party

When it comes to dinner or cocktail parties, then elegance is key. You don’t want to wear something that is too revealing, or makes you feel underdressed. The smarter the better is the rule for these events, but if you’re not too sure about the dress code then you can always ask the host for some guidance. Dress as though you are there to celebrate and, if the event is taking place over the festive season, then a little glitz and glamour won’t hurt! 

 

If you’re going to a work dinner or cocktail party, then you want to avoid dressing in anything that is too revealing or isn’t appropriate for a work event - think short dresses or low cut tops. If you are planning on mingling or networking with other professionals, then you want to be taken seriously and look professional.

What Is The Difference Between Fashion and Fine Jewellery?

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Understanding the difference between fashion and fine jewellery is not difficult. The difference is simple. It all depends on the materials that are used for that piece. The cost of jewellery also comes down to the materials that the jewellery consists of. 

 

It also depends on whether or not gemstones are used for that piece of jewellery. In this article, we will be discussing the difference between both fashion and fine jewellery. Including their official definitions from the experts. Whether it is for you or someone you love, you will soon be an expert in jewellery after this. 

Fashion Jewellery

Fashion jewellery is commonly known as costume jewellery. Additionally, it consists of materials that are much cheaper compared to those that are used for fine jewellery. The usual materials you will find with fashion jewellery are; brass, copper, and aluminium, which can mould easily. Furthermore, these materials will often tarnish and damage a lot easier compared to fine jewellery. 

Fashion jewellery isn’t just made of cheap and weak materials. It can also be designed out of textiles, beads or leather. Furthermore, these fashion jewellery pieces can also be coated in metals such as silver and gold. It is also common for fashion jewellery pieces to consist of false stones such as fake gemstones, cubic zirconia and Swarovski crystals. 

Some jewellery experts will suggest that there should be a category between the two. It will traditionally be jewellery that consists of gold vermeil, gold-plated or filled with gold that they believe should have a different category. If you are not sure what either of those is, here are two short definitions of both of them.

Gold Vermeil

Although gold vermeil is very similar to gold plated, there are slight differences. The only difference between gold plated and gold vermeil is that gold vermeil is required to be a certain thickness, which is a gold layer on top of silver of 2.5 microns. This will usually bump up the price of the jewellery and be more expensive compared to gold plated jewellery. 

Gold Plated 

Gold Plated jewellery is a thin layer that is laid over jewellery that is made of another metal. That material could be copper, aluminium, brass or other cheap metals. Gold plated jewellery is made by putting that metal in a chemical solution and then applying an electrical current to that piece. 

Gold-Filled Jewellery

This is similar to gold plated jewellery although the quality of the two can be quite the opposite. Gold is layered on top and the bottom of the other metal. Furthermore, gold-plated jewellery will usually wear off another metal. However, gold-filled jewellery would not, making it much better quality than gold plated. 

Many jewellery enthusiasts will often refer to this type of jewellery as being semi-fine. Additionally, this type of jewellery can also consist of gemstones, that are on the more affordable side such as morganite and opals. These will often be altered in a laboratory with heat or a chemical reaction to make the gemstone clearer, change the colour or make it look flawless. 

Jewellers will usually categorise these pieces of jewellery so they can give a more accurate description of the piece. A typical customer who may not know a lot about metals may not know the differences between fine and fashion jewellery. They may only see the price difference. That is why jewellers will describe any jewellery pieces that are gold vermeil or gold-filled as semi-fine jewellery. 

Fine Jewellery

Fine jewellery is a much higher quality of jewellery, being more durable and expensive. The traditional materials that are used for these are gold, silver, platinum and other strong materials. Another thing to mention, fine jewellery can consist of high-quality gemstones such as rubies, garnets, diamonds and many others.

The prices will generally be a lot higher compared to fashion jewellery for two reasons. It is either down to the quality of the jewellery or, it is down to the brand name of that jewellery. The reason being is so that they can raise the price of poor quality materials. 

Fine jewellery won’t tarnish like fashion jewellery and, if it is broken, it can be fixed. As mentioned before, fine jewellery can get mixed with designer jewellery. You don't need to worry about the price being ramped up too much by designer brands. More often than not, the quality of these jewellery pieces will still be durable. 

If you want to make sure that you are not spending a lot more than you should on designer jewellery, read the hallmarks. Here is a breakdown of some of the jewellery hallmarks.

Gold Jewellery

916 or 917 - 22K

583 or 585 - 14K

416 or 417 - 10K

999 - 24K 

750 - 18K

500 - 12K

375 - 9K

333 - 8K

Pure gold jewellery is the highest quality and that will be 24 karats and, is will be stamped as 999. Once you move down the scale of hallmark, the karat of gold will lower. 

Platinum Jewellery

Similar to gold, platinum is measured in purity, however, the purity is not measured in karats. It would be measured in a percentage. The hallmark numbers and purity for platinum are seen below. The numbers are the hallmark of the jewellery and the percentage is the purity of the platinum.

 

999 - 99.90%

950 - 95%

900 - 90%

850 - 85%

 

If you are looking to spend big on fine jewellery but, the price tag is a bit out of your range, we suggest you buy vintage/ antique jewellery instead. That way you are saving money on the original price tag and, you are reusing someone's luxurious jewellery piece that they no longer need. You can even spend money on vintage engagement rings if you wish to save money there. This is becoming very common for newly engaged couples. 

Summary

If you want to spend too much on a jewellery piece that is just to complement your outfit, we suggest that you buy fashion jewellery. However, if you're going to be wearing this every day, we suggest that you buy fine jewellery. Although for special occasions you may also want to spend more. That way, it will last you a long time, look good, and be of high quality. 

The Different Ways to Buy Sustainable Clothing

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Around the world, we have begun to see more companies make their operations environmentally friendly, and government legislation is also encouraging people to make significant changes in their daily routines, even if it is something as minimal as. Clothing brands and designers are also making a statement with multiple avenues used to create sustainable clothing. Ethical clothing can have multiple reasons in which it can be recognised as sustainable, and if you’re wondering how, here are some of the main origins of eco-friendly clothing.

 

Donations

This is commonly used by smaller fashion brands that don't yet have the facilities to offer a wider range of ethical practices. Brands tend to boast that they donate a percentage of their profits to their selected charity organisations that usually inspire the brand.

 

Supply Change

Big brands have the ability to completely change their supply chain structure and make it more ethical. Making their warehousing and transportation options more eco-friendly can make a dramatic change when looking at fuel and energy consumption. Ethical brands such as G-STAR Raw show their ethical choices and explain their reasoning behind it, making the brand perfect for anyone wanting to update their wardrobe.

 

Organic Materials

Growing conventional cotton and other materials is very chemical based and has negative effects on the earth’s soil, air, water and local people in the area. Growing organic cotton takes longer but in a long-term future is much better for all aspects of the environment. The chemicals used are currently are considered some of the most toxic, and this option needs to be phased out for organic options to thrive. Naturally making people aware of the benefits of organic cotton is key for designers who use it and should be your first choice when browsing for new clothes.

 

Recycling

An unconventional option but with the advancements in recycling technology means that ethical sportswear brands can use mistreated plastics and transform them into sustainable garments. Manufacturers even claim that the new materials used are actually more durable than conventional materials, which gives you little reason not to consider the modern choice that is helping to reduce plastics found in the ocean and being burnt.

 

There’s little reason not to consider a sustainable garment as your next purchase, prices can be slightly more than conventional brands, as the manufacturing process isn’t mass produced on the same scale which can cause them to seem inflated. However, the more people begin to opt-in for the sustainable choices, more the prices will decrease, and if profits are going to charities it’s always good to know that you are contributing to good causes with your general purchases.