In a sea of direct-to-consumer jewelry brands, there are plenty of affordable options for finding a stylish, thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift. But before you go clicking around for the most affordable gold vermeil gift you can find, consider that materials such as gemstones, gold, and other precious metals can have a heavy toll on both the human workers who retrieve them and the environment.
That’s why we did the hard work of finding you dependable jewelers that are stylish and timeless and unique but also conscious of maintaining transparent environmental and employment practices. Here are some of our favorite ethical, eco-friendly brands with clever solutions—from lab-grown diamonds to interchangeable, buildable earrings—designed to be treasured forever. Because buying less always means more.
This Kerry Washington-invested fine and demi-fine jewelry startup is flush with beautiful everyday gold and gem pieces. AUrate prioritizes its ethical values: It uses 100% recycled gold—a conservation effort not to mine new metals—and ethically sourced gems abiding by the Kimberley Process, an international coalition that monitors the restriction of conflict diamonds. We love their elegant vintage-inspired rings, which start at $280 for gold vermeil and are ready to ship.
Founder Jess Hannah wants to make your hands look great: Her namesake J. Hannah nail polish brand first made the chic-indie wish list in 2017, and now she sells a range of bold, ethical jewelry that’s just as covetable. Pieces range from graphic masculine renditions of signet and class rings to chunky chain bracelets inspired by gold, rounded sculptures from the 70s. And if things are really heating up, Hannah’s bridal line, Ceremony, instills the same responsibly sourced practices in modern diamond rings and bands made from recycled materials.
Declared modern heirlooms, Kinn’s solid gold jewelry suite is designed to be timeless. Every L.A.-made item is classic with a luxe twist, for instance, the Colette Tapered Necklace, a solitaire necklace with a slightly slanted emerald-cut diamond, and the Kennedy Herringbone Chain II, a slightly rounded rendition of the typically flat, woven gold necklace. Kinn’s designs are made with gold certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council and stones that meet Kimberly Process standards.
Sustainable science-made stones from the Pacific West are the focus of Diamond Foundry’s D2C brand, Vrai. While their zero-carbon-footprint, lab-grown diamond engagement rings are tough to beat, their traceable fine jewelry collection features playful designs that are set in solid gold and sparkle just the same. We love the clever Mixed Cuff Ring, which pairs negative space and two retro-cuts for a truly unique spin on the everyday diamond, and the ever-so-dainty Bezel Bracelet.
Cuyana’s first modular jewelry collection rolled out last fall with a curated collection of interchangeable and buildable earrings. Each gold-plated, recycled-brass earring and embellishment can be mixed-and-matched for modern, multi-hole creations; or wear them alone, they’re perfect that way too. Like their handbags and apparel, Cuyana’s intent is for you to buy it once, and buy it right. And who doesn’t want that no-fail, sticking value in a gift?
These sculptural pieces are made from recycled metals and are perfect for that someone who wants a subtle conversation starter. Artist and founder Hernán Herdez‘s designs are handcrafted by New York-based silversmiths and feature softly swooping curves and colorful stones. We like the funky, unforgettable Fiesta Ring, a grooved band with three sapphires set in 18k plated brass.
Fast Company may receive revenue for some links to products on our site.