Whatever the reason for gifting, green gifts are the way to go. Learning to make our shopping a bit more sustainable can reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, minerals and other resources. Not only that, greener shopping can inspire you to find handmade, sustainable gifts from the heart.
No big box stores here: handmade is where it’s at!
Buying handmade clothing, decor and jewelry is an easy place to start when you’re looking to create a greener consumption pattern. Not only are there so many beautiful handmade items available, each item has so much to offer the giver and the receiver.
Our friends at *Uncommon Goods, a great online shop and certified B Corporation, have some great reasons to choose handmade jewelry, and some of them are not what you’d expect!
Here are some thoughts from their blog about the benefits of handmade jewelry:
1. No machines: hand-made jewelry is made with hands, meaning each piece is truly unique. No machines also means less electricity, so the jewelry is more sustainable!
2. The Time: each hand crafted item of jewelry requires a significant investment of time by the maker, imbuing the piece with a significance that just cannot be matched. Time is truly a precious resource, and knowing that an item was crafted just for you has so much more meaning, both to the giver and the receiver.
3. Knowing the process: designers have a love for the product that you can’t find from mass produced items. You can almost feel the energy of a handmade piece!
4. Handmade is higher quality: We’ve all had the experience of purchasing cheap jewelry and experiencing skin reactions, discoloration or other negative effects. Handmade jewelry is so often made from higher quality metals, and with an individual person at the production end– not a huge factory– you can be sure you’re getting something that works for you.
5. Sustainable and ethical: Uncommon Goods writes that, “Jewelry Makers are often dedicated to sustainability and ethically sourced materials. By nature, being ethical can be much more costly than taking the easy route and purchasing from the refiner or dealer with low prices and shady sourcing. Smaller scale production is almost always higher quality.”
6. Smaller scale production = higher quality! Most jewelry makers take enormous pride in their work, and ensure that each piece is perfect. And you can pretty much guarantee that if there is a defect or problem, your designer is going to want to fix it for you!
7. Support small business: Even if the product is not made totally close to you, know that handmade jewelry it made closer to home than most other stuff. Handmade jewelry is likely made by an entrepreneur with small business values in mind. Supporting that supports small business everywhere!
8. Culturally appropriate:Many small scale makers and designers live in far-flung locations, but online platforms give them a chance to share the beauty of the styles and techniques of their homeland with others, fostering a deeper connection to individuals across cultural, linguistic and political boundaries.
9. Great green gifts: A unique piece of jewelry is ultimate green gift for women and men. As mentioned above, most small-scale jewelry makers take great pride in their work and source ethically to ensure the highest quality (and lowest impact) materials for their items.
10. True beauty: Some say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when gifts are made with love, support small scale business, focus on the triple bottom line, and create sustainable alternatives to big box options, that is truly beautiful.
Whether you’re gifting for a friends, a girlfriend, hosting a green gift exchange, or maybe just buying something special for yourself, choosing handmade is the best way to keep the gift unique, beautiful and decidedly more sustainable.See also: