Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair / News & Update
News & Update
Thai jewelry trend goes sustainable with environment in mind
Photo: Good After Nine
A new concept of sustainability is emerging as manufacturers of all types of products consider their total environmental impact — from organically growing raw materials to the consumer’s disposal of their product. Sustainability is becoming a cradle-to-grave process and a powerful growth engine.
Modern jewelry consumers are also on the bandwagon, turning their vision towards sustainable products with more serious concern over environmental issues. Jewelry makers also have embraced the manufacturing process in more environmentally-friendly approaches such as in recycling and reusing materials, as well as using cutting-edge technologies to culture gemstones or diamonds in laboratories.
The High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) system emulates the extreme pressure and heat of the Earth’s mantle to grow a diamond or gemstone seed in a chamber. Another technology is the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), where the seed is put in a chamber filled with carbon-rich gas and heated so that the gasified carbon sticks to the seed atom by atom. Both techniques greatly minimize negative environmental impacts caused by mining.
According to a market analysis conducted by Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (GIT), more than half of online jewelry buyers are more than happy to pay for environment-oriented products, while modern jewelry brands are tiptoeing into the path of going green. Jewelry brands in recent years have been attempting to market luxury products with the term ‘environmentally-friendly’ in their label, destined for affluent consumers.
Consumers themselves have reportedly been supportive of environmentally-friendly jewelry in recent years. During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Thai and foreign consumers paid more attention to the ways of sustainable living and ways to enhance the quality of life. The GIT analysis also projected that ‘sustainable’ jewelry would become more attractive in Europe and North America with the estimated growth of export volume of approximately 8% within the span of 2021-2029.
The Asian markets, especially in China and India, are also anticipated to expand following the growing number of younger generations — Gen Z and Millennials — who are reported with high levels of engagement with the issue of environmental problems and climate change.
Credit: APAWAN STUDIO BY APAWAN
This movement has shifted the market sentiment towards eco-friendly jewelry designs that involve the use of environmentally-responsible materials and the employment of recycle and reuse techniques to produce jewelry collections. Gold has now been extracted or salvaged from thrown-away electronic devices such as integrated circuit boards, computers, and mobile phones, so that they could be used again in the jewelry industry.
Lab-grown diamonds and gemstones are diamonds and gemstones in every way and an affordable luxury for everyone. It’s a much more environmentally friendly option than natural diamonds. These alternatives to mined gems are very ethical and sustainable. With them, there are fewer environmental problems derived from carbon emissions, land destruction, and even ethical challenges that are common with mined minerals. Man-made diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, are chemically, physically and optically identical to their natural counterparts. Hence, they are real gems. The only difference is that they are not mined from miles beneath the earth, and therefore, they are considered ethical and eco-friendly.
Some brands have gone the length by adopting a more extreme practice of reusing scraps such as colored stones or wall tiles as components in producing extraordinarily nifty jewelry products.
With the growing consciousness in terms of environmental problems, it is undeniably crucial for gems and jewelry designers, manufacturers, and retailers to map out their new way of business operations that are more inclined towards sustainability. The embrace and adoption of this trending fashion will not only boost competitiveness but it will also be considered a beginning of the new era of the gem and jewelry industry.