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Sentimental And Sustainable: How To Ensure Your Valuables Last

Sentimental And Sustainable: How To Ensure Your Valuables Last

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Promoting methods to make material items last longer, rather than discarding them, is always a good thing. This is true even for valuable items, such as jewelry or other sentimental pieces that mean something to you personally. Whether it’s watches, rings or other old pieces, there are inspirational ways to breathe new life into your prized possessions, and play a part in protecting the planet. 

Consumers and businesses are going to greater efforts to extend the longevity of valued items by redesigning, upcycling, and adapting them for future owners to enjoy. This article explores the sentimental value that special objects can have, and how to protect them or shop sustainably for new ethically-sourced jewelry.

Preserving Precious Pieces

Jewelry is big business, so it is important to be mindful about unsustainable practices in the jewelry industry in order to understand why being sustainable matters. In the trade, illegal mining for gems harms local ecosystems, results in land erosion and exploits the local workers, who are paid a pittance for working there. 

Taking good care of quality pieces extends their attractiveness and lifespan significantly. Be sure to store items safely too, keeping them in soft cloth pouches to prevent scratches. With occasional maintenance and handling with care, jewelry can last a lifetime and beyond. By preserving any precious items early on, you will avoid the need to buy new items and prevent other gems, metals, diamonds or jewels from being unethically mined or sourced. 

Caring properly for your jewelry also prevents the need for frequent replacements. If you make time for precious metals to be regularly polished, it will help to keep them looking like new. You should be careful to ensure gemstone settings are secure so stones don't fall out, but if they do, you can ask your local jeweler to replace them. 

Repurposing Treasured Jewelry

Repurposing Rings

Perhaps you no longer wear a pair of treasured earrings because the backs are damaged but they have eye-catching jewels that you don’t want to waste. A broken watch, for instance, might have been a gift to mark a big birthday or another important time in your life. Choosing to have a valuable and sentimental watch repaired or refurbished by a specialist allows you to wear a prized possession again, and keep it ticking for longer.

There are multiple ways to repurpose and upcycle other jewelry you cherish. This could be anything from designing bejeweled art, creating sparkling embellishments for accessories or making new handles for drawers.

For existing pieces that need new life, remodeling or repurposing can give them renewed purpose. Take gems from outdated settings and reset them into modern looks. Melt down scraps of gold or silver and have them recast into a new design. With some creativity, you can incorporate passed-down elements into custom engagement rings or other special occasion jewelry. Seek out jewelers who can expertly restore, reconstruct and reimagine heirlooms. 

Prioritizing Eco-friendly Brands

It is not realistic to avoid wearing and buying jewelry, we just need to make considered changes to the way we purchase and use it. To become more sustainable with your jewelry, consider purchasing from brands that prioritize ethical sourcing and sustainable practices, such as using recycled metals and conflict-free gems. 

More than 42% of millennials and 39% of Generation Z prioritize making sustainable choices as consumers. In response, an increasing number of jewelers prioritize ethics and sustainable practices in their sourcing, designs, sales and operations. Some use recycled metals and conflict-free stones or try to steer clear of hazardous chemicals in processing. Others contribute proceeds to environmental causes or carbon-offsetting projects. 

Look to buy jewelry and meaningful gifts from eco-friendly brands or from companies that ethically source and manufacture their goods. You can switch up your usual buying habits and adopt sustainable buying behaviors from companies that prioritize ethical working conditions. Many items have labels that state whether they are sustainably sourced, and any websites or marketing across social media channels will benefit from highlighting their brand’s commitment to ethical sourcing and production. Likewise, look to purchase products that avoid plastic, and are made from renewable materials.

Keeping The Sentiment Alive

Repurposing Necklace

With mindful buying, care and refashioning, we can keep cherished jewelry in use while also protecting the planet. What's most important is preserving the meaningful memories and stories these sentimental items represent, not the materials themselves. 

Sentimental pieces of jewelry you own deserve to be given a new lease of life as they are such an important part of your personal history and of milestone life events. Weddings and engagements are commonly marked with jewelry. Rings are typically a simple band, and have been a traditional token of love and commitment for centuries.

When the time comes to propose or celebrate a special relationship with a special ring, consider presenting a ring that you have inherited from your family, and ask an expert jeweler if they are able to remodel, modernize, and revitalize it. This is true for any old jewelry piece that you might have gathering dust in a bedroom drawer. 

Reducing New Pointless Purchases

If you would prefer to buy something and don’t have an existing piece of jewelry to repair or remodel, shop for sustainable jewelry or buy antique, vintage or pre-owned pieces. Online resellers like Etsy and jewelry consignment shops are great resources to find unique secondhand items. Purchasing lab-created diamonds and gemstones is also more eco-friendly than mining. 

Do some research to find brands aligned with your green values, or ones that advocate for pre-loved and waste reduction. This ensures any newly purchased jewelry aligns with your social and environmental principles. Seek out responsible jewelers that use ethical sourcing, renewable energies, and environmentally-safe practices. The key is purchasing well-made items that will last, whether they're passed down for generations or resold responsibly later on. 

It is important to be mindful about sustainability when even investing in expensive items to celebrate life’s major events. Remember however that it is possible to be sustainable and sentimental if you buy from ethically-sourced brands.

While jewelry and other high-value personal items do hold special meanings, it makes sense to repair, mend and upcycle if you can. If you do decide to repurpose treasured jewelry, and give it to someone for a special event, they can continue loving it, wearing it and looking after it for years to come.


***About the Writer:

Annie Button is a freelance writer based in the UK, who has written for a variety of prestigious online and print publications. 

She specializes in lifestyle, business, branding, digital marketing, and HR.

Twitter: @anniebutton1994


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