Key jewellery pieces made from ethical gold

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Irresponsible gold mining contributes to severe human and environmental degradation. However, a growing number of conscientious jewellers and luxury brands are playing their part by sourcing gold from responsible mines. Even the 2015 Noble Peace Prize was fashioned from Fairmined gold. And the results - from the stunning pieces in Chopard's green collections, to the engagement and wedding rings from United States-based Brilliant Earth, online store Amalena, and British jeweller Stephen Webster's Bridal Collection - are all the more precious for it. Read more about the adverse effects of gold mining, and potential solutions within the jewellery industry here.

The Deco Engagement Ring, from British celebrity jewellery Stephen Webster, is set in 18-carat Fairtrade rose gold with a one-carat diamond and 0.65 carats of pavé diamonds. Webster, who travelled to Peru to witness first-hand the positive difference Fairtrade mining was making, exclusively uses ethically mined and sourced gold in his Bridal Collection.

The Gold-Struck Two-Finger Ring, from Stephen Webster, set in 18-carat yellow gold with green agate, green tourmalines, emeralds and white diamonds. This forms part of Webster's core collection, which can be specially ordered in Fairtrade gold. Webster, who hopes for "Fairtrade to be 100 per cent of the gold we sell some day".

Lady Stardust Couture Earrings, from Stephen Webster, with rubellites and white diamonds, is set in 18-carat rose gold, and can be specially ordered in Fairtrade gold.

A pendant from Chopard's Green Carpet Collection, made with ethically mined white gold and ethically sourced diamonds. In 2013, Chopard initiated The Journey to Sustainable Luxury project. This led to the Green Carpet Haute Joaillerie collection, featuring Fairmined gold and ethically sourced diamonds; and Palme Verte, a jewellery line in ethical gold, which was inspired by the design of the Palme d'Or trophy. The Fairmined-certified jewellery and watch luxury house has partnered with the South American NGO Alliance for Responsible Mining.

L. U. C XPS watch from Chopard. The case-back, middle case and bezel of the new timepiece are entirely made of Fairmined gold, a certification guaranteeing that the gold has been responsibly mined and the miners have received fair payment and an overall premium. The L. U. C XPS Fairmined is made in accordance with the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) ethical benchmarking. The 250-piece collection is a continuation of The Journey to Sustainable Luxury project.

Jewellery watch from Chopard's Green Carpet Collection. The timepiece features a design that encompasses the perfect harmony of the palm tree's natural curves, and especially its finely veined folioles. Crafted in 18-carat Fairmined gold, the piece is set with subtly graded marquise-cut diamonds sourced from the IGC group, a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC).

The Cadenza Eternity diamond ring from Brilliant Earth features pairs of glittering pavé - and ethically sourced - diamonds nestled in marquise-shaped frames, set in 18-carat recycled white gold. Milgrain detail adds to the chic vintage feel. The United States-based Brilliant Earth uses 100 per cent recycled gold. Kathryn Money, vice president, strategy & merchandising, says: "Brilliant Earth's reclaimed precious metals come from numerous post-consumer sources, including existing jewellery, industrial-use metals and electronics components. We also have an exclusive Fairmined Gold Collection, which uses Fairmined gold from small-scale mining cooperatives in Peru that have Fairmined certification from a third-party inspector."

The Comfort Fit Wedding ring for men, in 18-carat yellow gold, from Brilliant Earth has a rounded inside edge making it comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Kathryn Money, vice president, strategy & merchandising, says: "The recycled gold we use is identical in quality to newly mined gold. As a customer, you can feel good knowing that you are getting exactly the same quality product, but with a much lower environmental and human cost. If you buy Fairmined or Fair Trade gold, you know you are supporting workers and mining communities directly and spurring economic development in the communities affected by mining."

The pacifico necklace from online store Amalena is constructed with 18 carat eco-gold. Founder and director Johanna M Mejía says: "Eco-gold is a scarce precious metal as most miners have to use mercury during the concentration process. The combination of machinery during the extraction process with traditional gravimetric technics in the gold concentration, allows our miners to have a high rate of recovery. We also promote the use of natural products, like the agave plant instead of toxic mercury or cyanide. It should be noted that the majority of responsible small-scale miners don't have the possibility of applying free mercury techniques. It will depend on specific geological features of the mine or if the gold is coming from an alluvial source. However, we work exclusively with ethical and eco-friendly gold."

Saspy earrings from online store Amalena. The finely detailed lattice and spiral design is inspired by a river in the region from which the company sources its eco-friendly gold. According to founder and director Johanna M. Mejía, ethical gold, eco-gold and recycled gold need to be more widely adopted by organisations and jewellery buyers alike. "We have enough gold in the central bank reserves. We have enough gold to be recycled to create stunning pieces of jewellery that empower us as women, or that become a symbol of love. I don't support large-scale mining because its impact in the environment is too complex. I support responsible mining because it is a great tool to promote sustainable development in vulnerable and isolated communities. 'Ethics' should be the norm in jewellery as it should be any economic activity that has an impact on the people and the environment," she says.