We’ve found some stunning ethical statement earrings that are perfect for any season!
By Katy Carik
For a long time, the jewellery trend was tiny. Delicate little bracelets, nearly-not-there earrings and fine chain necklaces with subtle pendants – like your initials or something.
But all of that is changing. In fact, it’s all gone a bit Iris Apfel – chunky necklaces are loaded upon each other, the cocktail ring has made a comeback…and earrings?
Well, to be on trend this season, they should be different. Bolder. Unique.
On the runways this year, we saw a lot of huge hoops, giant beads, and sculptural-type earrings. The message was clear: now, earrings should make a statement.
But for us, one of those statements should be ‘sustainability’. So, what should you look for in ethical jewellery?
Image below: Dolce & Gabbana
What to look for in ethical earrings
There are plenty of ways jewellery – not just earrings – can be sustainable.
For example, you could look out for:
- recycled metals
- upcycled items
- non-mined materials, such as fabric
- renewable materials, such as wood
- lab-grown diamonds instead of mined
- ethical jewellery certifications, such as NO DIRTY GOLD or Fair Mined
But it’s not just about the stuff the earrings are made of that matters – it’s how they were made, too!
It’s essential that all those throughout the production line – from those who find the materials to those who design and fabricate the jewellery – are fairly treated and paid. Moreover, we personally believe that handmade jewellery is better. Why? Because it usually supports local artisan communities, and conserves their traditional jewellery making techniques.
Finally, brands should ensure the entire process of their production is transparent. After all, there’s really no excuse anymore for jewellery not to be made from ethically sourced or recycled materials, right?
Here below, we’ve found some ethical statement earrings made from planet-friendly materials that will make you really stand out!
Image below: Cult Gaia
12 Ethical Statement Earrings To Try
Brooklyn-based designer Laura Lombardi creates clean-lined, minimal jewellery that plays with proportion and scale. Each piece is handcrafted from a mix of new, recycled and reclaimed metals that Lombardi finds on her travels. Sure, there’s a lot to choose from. But we love these chunky Spira earrings, which really stand out! These ethical statement earrings were cast from gold-plated brass and polished for a high-shine finish.
Sustainability: Each piece by this designer is handcrafted from a mix of new, recycled and reclaimed metals. Additionally, Lombardi is committed to local manufacturing. Most of her pieces are made in New York, where she works with a Brooklyn-based brass mill.
2. SOKO Beads
Although these “Luo” ethical statement earrings look large and heavy, don’t worry! They won’t give you a headache or elongate your earlobes, since they’re made from lightweight fabric and faceted beads.
As an ethical brand focused on Africa, SOKO works with Kenyan artisans and indigenous techniques to create their endlessly fun jewellery designs.
Sustainability: The brand uses a variety of sustainable materials such as wood and recycled metals. But the best part? Each pair of beaded earrings helps support the Kazuri. This is a Fair Trade women’s collective in Kenya that makes the beads from local clay.
Inspired by nature, Loverness Lee is a brand working hard to protect it, too!
They make all of their jewellery by hand in London. Plus, Loverness Lee is perfect for those seeking unique, sculptural shapes using recycled materials. Fusing fashion with artwork, their jewellery often boasts intricate patterns or complex shapes that make for the perfect statement accessory.
Sustainability: Loverness Lee’s artisans use certified recycled sterling silver and lab-grown gems to make these artistic pieces.
Price: Around $217
Melissa Joy Manning’s long, crystalline ethical statement earrings feature small Herkimer diamonds that remain in their natural organic state.
Handcrafted from recycled 14-karat gold, this pair has delicate chains to create subtle movement and falls just below the jawline. Delicate and beautiful!
Sustainability: Melissa Joy makes all her amazing pieces herself from recycled metals and sustainably sourced gemstones.
Studs? So common. But studs with the added bonus of a drop pearl? So next level! This pair of unique ethical earrings was handcrafted from recycled gold, and is perfect for any occasion.
Sustainability: A celebrity favourite, Catbird is a member of No Dirty Gold. But that’s not all! They use conflict-free stones, recycled gold and offer fair wages and ethical working conditions. What’s not to love?
Hoops, sure. But make them arty! The twisted hoop shape of these Scrunch hoop earrings is a stylish take on the popular classic. Rendered in recycled 14kt gold, these ethical earrings make a statement, that’s for sure!
Sustainability: CompletedWorks only uses recycled or Fairtrade gold and recycled or reclaimed silver. Plus, fairly paid artisans make all their jewellery by hand.
Bold is beautiful has to be the mantra for these oversized Johanna Ortiz ethical statement earrings. These causal, ethical statement earrings are perfect for the beach or summer vacations. And the best part? Fair-paid Colombian artisans made these by hand from glass and recycled materials.
Sustainability: Johanna Ortiz’s luxury range of locally-made accessories use artisanal techniques. But what we love most is the fact that her earrings boast only Earth-friendly materials like recycled metals and natural fibre fabrics.
Oversized hoop earrings are a huge trend this year. But to be truly on trend, go for hoops that have an irregular, organic shape. Just like these Orbit hoops by Matilde! They feature lab-grown diamonds on 14k recycled gold.
And if you were wondering what the inspiration behind this design was – well, it was nothing short of the perpetual path of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Cosmic!
Sustainability: Matilde artisan jewellers use 100% recycled gold and ethical diamonds. In addition, they only use 100% recycled boxes and reusable pouches!
Price: Around $,1415
Why wear one earring when you can wear three?
Linjer’s Ear Stack Set features three ethical statement earrings. There’s a simple star stud, a topaz hoop set with 9 stones, and a cuff. Together, they work to adorn the ear in a beautiful, unusual fashion, adding subtle sparkle to your everyday look.
Sustainability: Linjer sells directly to their customers online, allowing them to keep their costs low so more of us can enjoy the finer things in life. As for materials, they use recycled base materials, such as 100% recycled gold and silver. In addition, the love to use lab grown diamonds.
Don’t you just love it when art inspires jewellery? British designer Ella Stern loves the work of Georgia O’Keefe, and created these Canna Earrings based on the way O’Keefe painted petals. Sitting flat on the ear, these ethical statement earrings make the perfect impact piece. Plus, you can choose from recycled gold or silver!
Sustainability: Stern is always striving to be more sustainable. That’s why she only uses recycled metals and lab-grown diamonds.
Price: Around $330
Want to make a statement that talks more than shouts? Then these drop earrings by SweetV are perfect! Indeed, this pair exudes sophisticated style, with their double-teardrops. These are hypoallergenic, and nickel and lead free.
Sustainability: Forget about lab-grown diamonds. Cubic zirconia was there first! Both are non-mined, but diamonds are made of carbon, while cubic zirconia is made of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2).
If you don’t like the idea of mined materials for jewellery, we’ve found the perfect ethical statement earrings for you! They may look a bit like shells, or even cotton floating in the breeze. But – surprise! – they’re actually ceramic!
Sustainability: This pair is made from ceramics and recycled gold. The brand that made them, COMPLETEDWORKS, only uses recycled metals processed by refiners that are dedicated to taking responsibility for adopting the best sustainable practices.
Price: Around $225
Which is your favourite pair of ethical statement earrings? Let us know in the comments, below!
Main image: Missoni AW23