Tag Archives: environment

Beautifully Bizarre Jewelry


In terms of personal style, some people just have to be different.  Whether that means dying one’s hair bright green and fashioning it into a pointy, potentially dangerous mohawk or just wearing white after Labor Day, there will always be rebels.  Some jewelry designers have tapped into this collective demand for odd, in ways that starkly challenge even the very concept of “alternative.”  Here were take a gander at some truly eye-popping and question raising works of weird.

Tears for Fears

One largely lachrymose designer thought that everybody just looked to darn happy.  The solution?  Why, teardrop jewelry, naturally.  Now this isn’t to say that he (Eric Klarenbeek, who hails from Holland – the country, not the Tunnel) created little tear shaped jewels with adhesive on the back that you stick to your cheek (although, that would be WAY simpler…)  What he constructed is a non-eyesight augmenting contact that has a short length of mostly invisible wire that hangs from it.  Glittering jewels are attached to the end and dangle in a sad display of faux misty-eyed fun.  A great gift for those who feel they don’t have enough jewelry directly connected to their ocular region.


Ice, Ice…Maybe?

Ever feel like your jewelry just doesn’t melt enough.  Not like, “drip” down your body, but actually change form from ice into water.  The designer of these pieces (which are literally made out of ice) is the Germany based Katharina Ludwig; and she’s actually more of a conceptual artist than a designer.  The idea behind these clever and comely cooling devices is for them to be worn in the summer months, to combat the searing heat.  They look chic and glamorous initially, but then become more functional as they morph into self-contained air conditioners for the skin.  They come in earring, necklace and ring forms.  Just be weary if someone uses such a ring to propose to you.


Paper or Plastic?

There’s sustainable jewelry, repurposed jewelry …and then there’s just trash.  Well, plastic bags that would otherwise end up as garbage in any other situation.  Italian artist/designer Giovanni Scafuro has come out with a collection of rings that is comprised solely of plastic bags.  Aside from being colorful and bursting with funky fun, these rings have a more serious implication.  They are made from plastic bags, one of the most toxic, widespread and irksome materials out there (they’re currently still littering virtually every kilometer of the planet, and have no means of being recycled).  Made from oil, and ultimately, forever remaining non-biodegrable, plastic bags are the bane of environmentalists across the globe.  Finally finding a purpose for them, Scafuro has shown the world that there always is a solution to even the most odious problem.


Who Nose?

What better way to broadcast your love of your bestie beast than by getting an imprint of its nose in silver and wearing it all over town?  Well, that’s what Jackie Kaufman, an etsy.com superstar designer, thinks.  Any pet with substantial enough nostrils can have its nasal cavity copied on to a mold, and then transferred to a jewelry item that you can don with pride.  What if your favorite pet mammal happens to be human?  Sorry.  Canine, Feline and large rodent noses only.


Plant one on ya’

Some quirky pieces can really grow on you; others actually grow on you.  Another Dutch innovator, Laurie Poast makes tiny potted plant necklaces that are so cute they produce “Awww!”s as well as oxygen.  She hand sews seeds into baby clay pots and hangs them with twine; thus taking sustainable jewelry to a heavenly/earthy level never before dreamed of.  If you’re thinking “This seems like too much work – I don’t want to have to worry about watering these dang plants,” then don’t fret; why not pair together your plant necklace with some nice ice jewelry?  This way as the ice melts, it will water your adorable neckpiece.  Now that is some serious Scandinavian sensibility.


If you like it then you should put a jellyfish on it

This designer (Arata Fuchi) makes rings that eerily resemble living jellyfish.  …Not much else to say about that.


-Joe Leone

What Is Sustainable Jewelry?


In recent times, some of the most popularly proffered buzz words relate to the environment.  “Going green,” “eco-friendly,” and “ethically derived” are just a few of the oft uttered (and marketed) phrases that are essentially straight forward and universally understood in their meanings.  But what exactly is “sustainable jewelry,” and why is it something to strive for?  Nobody is throwing their jewelry items in the garbage (hopefully), so what’s the big deal?

The big deal is this; the way that the precious metals and gems that make up jewelry pieces are obtained can have a significant impact on the environment.  First, the methods employed in removing these ores and stones from the ground can have an extremely negative effect on surrounding soil, vegetation and ecosystems.  Often, the surface soil of a mined area is completely decimated; this topsoil is the main area where new plants can grow, so after the mining is finished, the land remains barren.  Toxic chemicals used during this ‘soil stripping’ process obviously contribute to more of the same thing.  The chemicals which are disseminated about typically do not stop their subterranean spiral at the soil; they proceed downward to whatever water flows beneath, contaminating that as well.  Well, once the soil is poisoned and eroded and nearby water is rendered malignant, that’s it, right?  Nope.  There’s even a lovely sinkhole or two to look forward to.


When thinking about this sort of environmental devastation, it can be all too easy to envision that this only occurs in remote parts of the world, where the environment is not regulated, correct?  Nope again.  The organization Ethical Metalsmiths reports that right here in the good ole US of A, one of the most virulent (and fervently active) industries is metal mining.  The unrestricted practices endemic to this business have lead to 96% of the nation’s annual arsenic emissions, and 76% of the yearly lead that is released into the atmosphere and earth as well.  The conditions in certain African, Central and South American countries are even worse as ground contaminants have reached alarmingly dangerous heights.

(more information on Diamond Mines)


Next comes the hazards inherent in jewelry manufacturing.  Vast amounts of energy are routinely consumed to create different glass materials, which are frequently colored with noxious dyes.  These harmful substances then end up in the ground and leach their way into the water supply too.  Even if a company adheres to fairly strict practices in regards to the allocation of hazardous chemicals and the proper disposal of waste, there are still the production factors to consider.  Some companies may develop their jewelry through sound means, but end up creating a huge amount of waste in the packaging, delivering and distribution of their items.


So when a brand or particular designer claims to make truly “sustainable jewelry,” they should be taking each and every one of the aforementioned environmental considerations into account.  In the actual creation of the jewelry pieces, they should be using recycled metals whenever feasible.  Such materials can be easily acquired, and dynamic designers all over the world have found innovative ways to let these up-cycled metals really stand out.  In addition to the metals used, various other vintage articles can be craftily assembled, making the jewelry not only environmentally conscious but uniquely conceived as well.  Rubber, vinyl, plastic; all make great additions to jewelry and can be literally extracted from places where they would otherwise go unused or harm their natural surroundings.  Many designers repurpose materials too; an old phone cord can be fashioned into a daring new bracelet, a chunk of chandelier crystal converted into a fascinating Art Deco inspired necklace.  The way that sustainable jewelry is put together must be considered also, in a manner that wastes as little natural energy and resources as possible.


There are many designers out there today making totally sustainable, chic and wearable pieces.  Here is a list of just some of the coolest and most environmentally responsible talents currently revolutionizing the industry (from ecosalon.com).

When all is said and done, producing anything new will always require energy and resources of some sort.  Hopefully we can collectively agree that jewelry should be made in as sustainable a manner as possible.  It’s nice to own pretty things; it’s also nice to live on a pretty planet.


-Joe Leone

Different Types of Diamond Mines


A friend catches a glance of the new, dazzling diamond pendant, elegantly dangling from your slender neck.  Their jaw droops ever so slightly.  “Where did you get that?” they inquire, a tinge of jealously seething just under the surface of their lilting, complimentary tone.  Well, it was a present, so from a jewelry store…you assume.  Then you wonder: where did it really come from?

Welcome to the illustrious world of diamond mining.

There are four major types of diamond mining:

  • open pit and underground mining
  • coastal and inland alluvial mining
  • marine mining
  • informal diamond digging

Almost half of these mines are found in Central and South Africa. Each is a very distinct dig sight with the same goal: the uncovering of valuable diamonds.


The most common diamond mine is the open pit/underground mine. This is due in large part to the kimberlite pipes, large funnel-like tubes of rock that are the main mineral deposit for diamonds. It is because of this geometric design, narrowing with depth, that pit mines gradually get smaller as they dig deeper into the earth. Open pit mines also start very flat and begin to increase their incline the further down into the earth they go. Eventually, if the mine has become too steep or unstable the mine will become an underground mine. Because a diamond carat per ton of material (the frequency) tends to decrease the further down into a kimberlite pipe it is, an assessment must be made when it is more cost effective to begin this process.  The underground mine is basically the same process only underground and with new hazards arising due to the mine structure changes. Once the mining process is complete, soil and earth that was taken out is to be replaced with as much of the initial conditions being restored as possible.

Another form of mining is coastal and inland alluvial. This type of mining is a little more delicate than open pit/underground mining. Performed on beaches and other water ways, these coastal regions require more initial work to be done before the mining process can begin. Extraction of plant life and sand and soil are performed to maintain and ecofriendly dig sight. Sea walls are built to protect the mine and the surrounding area. Because of the mass excavation, the land is generally altered, though in most situations natural forces (wind, waves, rain, etc.) will return the area to the same habitat it originally was.


If the mine isn’t seaside, but instead is underwater, the process is referred to as marine mining. Marine mining involves the use of a large sea vessel in several ways. Depending on the mine, two processes can be used, horizontal and vertical mining. In horizontal mining, a seabed crawler uses flexible hoses to being diamond-bearing gravels to the boat off of the ocean floor. With vertical mining, the kimberlite pipe is mined in relatively the same fashion, only with a drill and underwater. In both cases, care is taken to not disturb the natural habitat and any materials removed, other than diamonds, are returned as best they can.

The last process is informal diamond mining. These a generally small-scale operations done by individuals or small groups with limited equipment. It is referred to as “informal.” in part because it is typically done illegally, with no license or regard for the environment. There are no regulations or formal design to these digs. The most the unpleasant media surrounding diamond mining is often centered on informal diamond mines.

This list is a very skeletal overview of the highly technical field of diamond mining that makes your diamond worth big bucks. If you want to sell your diamond, give Diamond Lighthouse a chance to help you get the highest return.  We dig deep to excavate the best price possible for your diamond jewelry.  Our professional network of diamond buyers is willing to pay you the true, fair value for your diamonds, so you always receive the absolute highest payout.

Dive in and find out more here.


Stop Throwing Out Your Diamonds


Upcycling: it doesn’t mean trying to ride your bike uphill.

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.” – according to the esteemed folks at Wikipedia.

You’ve always known that you could recycle your cans and bottles, for a small profit even.  Your local coffee shop has receptacles for plastics, paper and compostable trash.  Your automotive store accepts used car batteries for proper disposal and eventually reuse.  So why stop there?

The probability of someone referring to a diamond as “waste material” is slim, but you get the idea.

Continue reading Stop Throwing Out Your Diamonds