Accessories Fashion

Ethical Summer Jewelry Trends For 2020

They’re natural, beautiful and cool. Get ready to rock these ethical summer jewelry trends!

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Great news! The hottest ethical jewelry trends for this summer reflect overall trends: they’re focused on sustainability.

In fact, natural materials like shell, stone, glass, straw and wood are trumping mined gems and metals now more than ever before

Of course, jewelry trends aren’t as changeable as fashion trends – we can have jewelry for decades that always looks chic. I mean, ‘diamonds are forever’, right?

But sometimes, you want a bit of fun. Some costume jewelry that updates an outfit you’ve had for years. (Yes, that’s the other benefit of jewelry – why buy a whole new outfit when a touch of adornment to an old one will do?)

This summer, full body jewelry is trending. It was seen in the collections at Gabriela Hearst and Cult Gaia, for example. Prada and Simone Rocha demonstrated that gems aren’t needed to make jewelry shine: the former showed wooden brooches at Miu Miu, while the latter created necklaces from raffia.

Chunky bangles is another trend, as is layered or stacked jewelry.

But no matter where you look, the point is this: designers are elevating raw, natural materials into beautiful accessories for the season.

Image credit below and main image here.

Sustainable Summer Jewelry Trends 2020

ethical summer jewelry trends

1. Shelled Anklets

This is one of those ethical summer jewelry trends that just won’t fade away! These anklets were made super popular by the brand Ecogypsy after a swarm of Victoria’s Secret models discovered them in Bali, where they are ethically made, and started snapping pics of themselves wearing them.

After that, sales exploded, and today, they’re one of the most coveted beach accessories in Bali and beyond.

2. Chunky Wood Bangles

Wood provides a wonderful, natural material for summer jewelry trends this year, and doesn’t ever irritate the skin.

To get your bangle trend sweet, make sure you’re either layering them one on top of the other, or make a huge statement with a single, solid, chunky bracelet. This one by Oscar de la Renta is a great example.

ethical summer jewelry trends

3. Stacked Organic Bracelets

There are so many organic materials that can be incorporated into sustainable summer jewelry trends! Wood, as mentioned above, natural stone, recycled gold, glass beads, and shells.

The way to get this look is to mix the textures and sizes of your bracelets, as you can see in the pic below. If you love these stretch shell bracelets, you can get them here. Image by Wanderlust.


4. Light Raffia Earrings

The elegant, natural fibre that comes from these sustainable leaves has been popularised in fashion accessories such as handbags. But now, you can see how gorgeous raffia looks in jewelry too!

The Royal Raffia Earrings from the Noonday Collection provide a great example of what I’m talking about. They give a posh nonchalance to any woman wearing them.

This is one of my favorite ethical summer jewelry trends, because these earrings are super light on the lobes, too!

5. Belly Chains

This female ornament has quite a long history (it can be traced back around 4000 years in India), and today we all associate it to the seductive belly dancing in the Middle East.

However, belly chains haven’t often trended  in the Western world – until now, that is! Worn with shorts and crop tops or bikinis, they really enhance a woman’s feminine curves.

Though you can find them made from multiple materials, we recommend all natural ones, like these handmade waist beads crafted in Africa, below.

Image credit here.

ethical summer jewelry trends

6. Macramé Earrings

Once a hip staple in the 1970’s, macramé is back, big time! Not only for ethical summer jewelry trends, but in homewear, too (think: plant holders and wall hangings).

The charm of macramé lies in its simplicity. It’s made by knotting strings, usually made from cotton – of course, we prefer ours to be organic cotton! This summer the ladies will be spoiled for choice when it comes to macramé earrings. Take a look here to see what’s on offer!

7. Large Wood Hoop Earrings

Once again, we’re seeing wood. But the key to the sustainable summer jewelry trend here is to go for oversized hoops, like these ones from Cult Gaia.

Another thing to look out for is the kind of wood. Bamboo, pine, eucalyptus or other fast growing woods are fine; teak, rosewood, and other endangered woods are big no-no’s for sustainable fashionistas!

ethical summer jewelry trends

8. Tiny Lab-grown Diamonds

Diamonds are so lovely in summer! They shine brilliantly in the sun, and are so durable, no amount of sand or chlorine can destroy them. However, they’re usually far from ethical – we all know about blood diamonds, right?

The best choice for ethical diamonds are those grown in labs. That way, you know for sure no mines were opened, scarring the Earth, and no humans were exploited for their creation.

This summer, once again, the trend is for tiny, stackable pieces – and diamonds are no exception!

Wear several delicate diamond rings, one on each finger, or stack a few on one digit instead for a truly beautiful adornment. One excellent sustainable diamond brand we love is AKIND, which is making waves with its gorgeous collections, seen below.

ethical summer jewelry trends

9. Raw, Natural Stones

The French term parure indicates a set of matching jewels, with necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings that all share the same design and stones. Usually it was more of a bourgeois fashion, referring to matching pearls and diamonds. But this summer, it’s a trend that is embracing women of all ages.

The idea is to wear jewelry consisting of the same raw stones. They needn’t be precious gems; the more natural the hues and rougher the textures, the better!

A good example is seen in the new collection by the renowned ethical jewelry designer Pippa Small, which you can see below.

10. Fine, Reclaimed Gold Chains

Gold evokes the festival season, but sourcing it isn’t always ethical. Luckily, you don’t need to give up on wearing this precious metal – just make sure your accessories come from reclaimed gold!

Loads of brands are now using recycled metals – including gold – in their collections. Akind, above, does, and so does KBH Jewels. Both brands are bang-on-trend with the size of their jewelry. It should be fine, feminine and stackable.

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
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