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 2021
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. Colorful Stacked Bracelets
Remember when you were a kid, and you’d wear those candy bead bracelets…and get your wrists all sticky? Well this is one of our ethical summer jewelry trends that reflects that: minus the mess!
Roxanne Assoulin’s ‘Sport’ bracelets are strung with a combination of gold-tone and enamel beads in pretty pastel tones that complement each other so well. The elasticated bands make them easy to slip on and off, so you can experiment with multiple styling options. They’re cheap, they’re cheerful, and they’re sweet as candy!
3. 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! And why not match your earrings to your handbag, with an ethical straw bag?
4. Belly Chains
This female ornament has quite a long history (it can be traced back around 4000 years in India). Today, most people associate it with the seductive belly dancers of 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.
5. Positivity Bracelets
It’s been a tough few years for many. We all need a little positivity in our lives, right? And that’s exactly what these crystal and bead bracelets bring to the wearer.
TBalance Crystals focuses on the natural beauty of stones and the healing energies they’re thought to transmit. This set of three bracelets has been handmade in the UK and strung with carnelian, sodalite and clear quartz. The enamel beads read ‘Explore’, ‘Focus’ and ‘Energy’ – wear them together or separately based on what you feel you need.
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, we’re going to 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 in ethical summer jewelry trends. But the key to the sustainable look here is to go for oversized hoops, like these ones from Cult Gaia. They make a huge statement! Perfect for accenting summer dresses, or even bathing suits.
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!
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.
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.