It's amazing how jewellery can change an outfit in an instant, even if it’s your basic white tee and black jeans.
Add some chunky silver pieces with black or grey stones and you are instantly rock chick. Big statement necklaces and you are bold and playful. Sleek gold pieces and you are the master of minimalist style.
By accessorising your outfits with different jewellery for the desired vibe and occasion, it’s easy to add both interest and longevity to your (slow fashion) wardrobe, which is why I love jewellery.
While our main focus at VILDNIS is clothing and changing the norms in the fashion industry, I am always interested in exploring ways that can make the world a better place in general. In recent years, I have become increasingly aware that the jewellery industry too has wide ranging issues such as exploitation of workers and unsustainable mining practises, and it has motivated me to make some radical changes to my jewellery shopping habits.
Until a few years ago, my own jewellery collection was a mix of treasured pieces and on-trend jewellery from high street fashion brands. These days I favour independent ethical jewellery brands over high street brands when making new purchases.
Chances are that if you are reading this, you are also interested in making more sustainable choices in your life. With the number of ethical and eco friendly jewellery brands being on the rise, this is an area where you can also have a positive impact without having to compromise on your style.
By way of inspiration, I have picked 8 cool ethical jewellery brands that resonate with my personal style – and the carefree, edgy style of VILDNIS.
RAW Copenhagen is a minimalist Scandi brand with a carefree boho vibe. It is founded by Danish Karina who has a background in Human Rights and feels strongly about improving the lives of vulnerable people as well as the environment.
Consequentially, RAW Copenhagen sources all its gemstones ethically and donates 10% of its annual profits to charity. This year, the chosen charity is Women for Women, a UK based charity that helps female survivors of war.
All RAW Copenhagen pieces are handmade in the UK using either eco silvers (recycled) or silver sourced on fair trade principles from artisan silversmiths.
Check out the Bellevue Wrap made from recycled sterling silver and ethically sourced hematite gemstones; a versatile piece that can be used as both a necklace and a wrap bracelet; increasing your styling options.
Kind jewellery was founded by environmentally conscious Tansy Haak after a ‘wild wandering adventure’ through Europe. Each jewellery piece is inspired by the beauty in the natural world that surrounds us, much like VILDNIS.
All the pieces are made in London using responsibly sourced material, and for every order a tree is planted through One Tree Planted.
If you are looking for ethical wedding rings or want to upcycle an old jewellery piece of yours, this is also the place to go.
My personal favourite is the Stella Polaris necklace in 100% recycled Ct. gold. Depicting the North Star and inspired by the St Christopher pendants, it offers protection to all wanderlusting souls.
Mayveda is a London-based vintage jewellery brand run by a mother and daughter team.
It started as a result of a box of jewellery, passed down through 5 generations, and is founded on a deep passion for unique and delicate treasures that last for hundreds of years and can be handed down to the next generation or recycled as vintage jewellery. Items with a story.
As every piece is unique and each is equally stylish, it is difficult to promote just one of them. I love the vintage gold lockets and the thoughts of the secrets they keep.
‘A one-woman-show who wants to spark change in the world through sustainable artisan jewellery of heirloom quality’, that’s how the Finnish founder Marie Gade describes her brand M of Copenhagen.
The sleek, minimalistic and edgy pieces are all designed with a zero-waste philosophy in mind and hand made to order using recycled precious metals.
For every order, M of Copenhagen donates five trees to One Tree Planted.
My favourite is the Adelphi Thor Ring Set made from a 100% recycled 925 sterling silver. Wear the two rings stacked for a rock’n’roll vibe, or separately for a sleeker look.
Mayari's jewellery collection may offer little choice but it has plentiful in boho vibes, uniqueness and fun.
Ethically crafted by a small team of artisans from Jaipur, India, it is on a mission ‘to change the world’s acceptance and perception of fast fashion’. Each piece is made from 100% recycled materials and the gemstones are responsibly sourced.
Giving back is a big part of the brand’s DNA and not only does it donate five percent of the profit on every order to the British Heart Foundation, it also donates one tree to One Tree Planted.
Check out the Wyld One Earrings with dangling leaves inspired by nature and the movement of leaves in the wind. Made from 18ct gold over brass, it’s easy on the eyes and the conscience.
Sofia’s Connection’s line of sustainable jewellery designs for the free spirit is founded by Sofia, who describes herself as a global citizen and elegant hippie.
Sleek, new bohemian and chic are words that springs to mind when looking at her collection. Everything is handmade from recycled materials and has a beautiful story behind it.
I have always been drawn to the raw texture of hammered pieces and the Hammered Silver Cuff in recycled sterling silver with a bark like texture is no exception.
Little by Little is the brainchild of two altruistic friends, Georgina and Annabel, who have come together to create a collection of elegant, intricate jewellery pieces in gold and silver.
All pieces are designed in the UK and made in a jewellery factory in Peru who gives people without no prior experience in jewellery making a chance to learn the art of jewellery production. All silver is locally sourced and some of it is recycled. Any virgin metal is sourced through companies with environmental certifications to ensure that it is responsibly mined.
With every purchase, Little by Little is donating to their charitable partner Luminary Bakery, a London based charity that provides opportunities for women to build a future for themselves.
My personal favourite is the Seville Segment Pendant, one of the more carefree designs in the collection, based on the segments of an orange and the plates of a sundial, and signalling balance and harmony. Made from 24ct yellow gold on 925 sterling silver, it’s an instant eye catcher.
Finally, if you want to splash out on a pièce de résistance to bring you long lasting happiness (or at least that is what it would bring me), the exciting and playful pieces from Catherine Zoraida are a guaranteed success. Many of the creations take inspiration from nature and all are handcrafted in England using Fairtrade materials.
My favourite at the moment is the Silver Blade of Grass ring (pictured) with its incredible texture and shape. However, top of my list of things I am saving up for is the Gold Thistle Ring. A big statement piece, it is not for the fainthearted and will definitely make you stand out from the crowd in all its uniqueness.
There are many more eco-friendly and ethical jewellery brands on the market, suiting many different kinds of style, and I can honestly say that it’s worth looking for them – both for yourself but also if you are looking for sustainable gifts.
Knowing that an item is made with care for people and the planet genuinely makes the joy of wearing or gifting it even bigger.
Although it sounds like a cliché, we all really CAN change the world, one piece of jewellery or one item of clothes at a time!
Main caption: VILDNIS' white Farafra T-shirt in 100% organic cotton styled with ethical necklaces and bracelets from Raw Copenhagen.
PS: None of the brands mentioned in this article have in any way sponsored VILDNIS or otherwise entered into a commercial relationship with us. I have picked them purely because I love their aesthetics and ethos.