Sustainable Jewelry: The Rising Trend of Environment-Oriented Consumers
Present-day consumers have increasingly realized and become eager about environmental issues. Westerners and younger generations, in particular, choose to buy environmental-friendly products. Consequently, almost every industry including gem and jewelry industry have to adopt environmental-friendly approach in manufacturing process such as recycling leftover materials, selling second-hand products, reusing materials without transformation, or sharing or renting out jewelry to reduce environmental impacts.
Growing Markets for Green Products
Nowadays, consumers have given precedence to environmental-friendly products. They are willing to pay more for them. According to a study of Global Web Index on online consumers around the world, it was found that 60% of the Internet users in the US and UK, especially millennials, are happy to pay for environmental-oriented goods. Almost half of the consumers want brands to engage in going green. However, costs are highly considered for these products. Consequently, brands have tried to push environmentally conscious luxury products for high purchasing power consumers. Furthermore, Nielsen has predicted that value of sustainable and green products in 2020 will be around USD 142 billion, before reaching USD 150 billion in 2021, a 5.6% increase year-on-year.
In addition, according to the latest report of Transparency Market Research, it was indicated that consumers have become active and supported products stating their environmental-friendly quality. Particularly, during the pandemic, consumers pay more attention to sustainable living and life-quality enhancement. It has been anticipated that from 2021 to 2029 market of green product labels will obtain an average annual growth rate of 7.9%. The anticipation reflects that demand for green products will expand. Major markets locate in North America and Europe. Meanwhile, demand in Asia Pacific markets is likely to grow, especially in China and India where there is growing number of younger populations who increasingly concern about environmental problems.
earrings made from tin can lids of NoireInk
Recycled & Reused Jewelry
The eco-friendly trend has compelled jewelry designers to refocus their efforts on environmentally responsible material selection and manufacture. By recycling a variety of materials, such as repurposing old jewelry or melting valuable metal scraps such as gold, silver, or platinum into new jewelry gold extraction from electrical gadgets such as mobile phones, computers and electric circuit boards to be reused in electronic and jewelry industry; and using leftover of materials such as tiles, color stone scrap, and consumables such as paper and plastic bottles to produce unique and distinctive jewelry pieces.
As stated in World Gold Council’s report, recycled gold accounted for a 28% of the global gold volume of 4,633 tons in 2020. 90% of the recycled gold was from discarded jewelry and electronic waste. Experts in the industry predicted that precious metal smelting will be increasingly adopted as more small- and large-scale entrepreneurs have been set to produce products with less impacts to the environment.
The United States is a market where consumers place a high value on environmental issues. Many entrepreneurs began to penetrate the market and generate more sales. For example, Hoover & Strong, an American jewelry maker with a presence in over 20 states, was one of the first to produce recycled jewelry for the green jewelry industry. All of the company’s products are made of recycled gold, platinum, and silver. Moreover, fair trade diamonds and colored stones are used in its jewelry pieces.
Recently, Pandora, the world’s largest silver jewelry producer, announced that the company will use recycled gold and silver in its entire production by 2025. Pandora determined that recycled gold emitted just 0.16 percent of the carbon emitted by mining gold. Meanwhile, luxury brands like Bvlgari and Cartier will increase their use of recycled metals as well.
Basic Teeory, a recycling jewelry company based in Thailand, uses waste materials such as recycled paper, glass, pebbles, and even sand to create jewelry settings and combines them with threaded paper to create fasionable jewelry pieces. P9 Bangkok, producing contemporary Thai jewelry, used imperfect or defective materials from factories such as broken ceramic to produce auspicious floral jewelry piece.
Jewelry made from recycled paper of Basic Teeory
Rings made from broken ceramic of P9 Bangkok
Buying second-hand jewelry reduces emissions of carbon dioxide since producing every single item of jewelry requires precious metals that are based on sophisticated procurement and fuel burning processes. Meanwhile, diamonds and colored stones are excavated from mines, which usually affect environment. Buying second-hand jewelry cuts down necessity in carrying out such process. Consequently, natural resources are used sustainably and responsibly to the environment.
As millennials and urbanites have recognized sustainability quality of luxury products, they are increasingly likely to purchase pre-owned high-end jewelry. Moreover, pandemic-led economic difficulties shifted consumer demand into lower-priced luxury products. Furthermore, competences of widely available online platforms for second-hand luxury items offer products with a quality assurance certificate. Online platform such as eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist are considered as the world’s leading second-hand jewelry selling websites. Vendors on the websites can fetch 30-60% of the original prices.
second-hand jewelry on Craigslist
According to a study of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), watch and jewelry currently dominate the world’s market of preowned luxury items with a value of around EUR 21 billion. It has been forecasted that the average annual growth rate of 2020 to 2025 will reach 8%, higher than that of the overall luxury industry. The key markets of second-hand luxury jewelry are the US, Europe and China.
Nowadays, premium manufacturers have added used products for their clients as their alternative product line. In addition to the sale of new jewelry, Cartier has exhibited preowned items as a symbol of the heirlooms to underline the company's lengthy history. Harrods, a prominent UK company, provides second-hand items from notable brands such as Bvlgari, Cartier and CHANEL in addition to new jewelry merchandise.
As for Thailand, used jewelry have also gained popularity. Consumers usually buy them from various sources: pawn shops, retail jewelry shops; flea markets; e-commerce platforms such as Shopee.com, thai.biggo.com; and other online social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
Jewelry for Rent
The term "sharing economy" refers to an economic paradigm in which customers rent and borrow instead of owning. As younger generations want speed and quick adjustments, they seldom invest in fixed assets, which include minor goods, such as jewelry, purses and furnishings and not only huge assets, like houses or automobiles. Furthermore, they have greater access to the Internet and information on online social media sites. These are elements that have contributed to the sharing economy's rapid rise in recent years. It is expected that by 2025, rental businesses in the form of the sharing economy would account for more than half of global economic value. At present, market value of jewelry rental business is at approximately USD 258 billion, with gross margin of 90%.
Many gem and jewelry entrepreneurs have turned to sharing economy model. For instance, Flont, a US jewelry rental company offers jewelry of luxury brands (Bvlgari, Tiffany & Co., and Cartier, etc.). Since its launch in October 2016, the company has gained 100% growth rate in its revenue. The figure reflects demand for the service among jewelry enthusiasts.
jewelry pieces available for rental service on https://flont.com/
Furthermore, Glitzbox, the UK’s first online jewelry rental service provider, offers silver jewelry, gold jewelry, and gem-studded jewelry with a monthly fee of GBP 50. In India, there are hundreds of business operators who offer jewelry rental service via online platforms such as Indiamart, Rent2cash, OLX, Quikr, Rentsher, and JustDial.
In Thailand, jewelry rental services are also available (primarily for wedding ceremonies) at jewelry retail shops with a physical store, for example, CAELI JEWELRY, which offers diamond jewelry and provides diamonds and diamond jewelry as bride price for a wedding ceremony. Other similar businesses can be found on www.kaidee.com and other social media platform such as Facebook and Instagram.
jewelry for rent from CAELI JEWELRY
jewelry for rent from Jewel de Bride
Millennials are also interested in biodegradable packaging, which helps to decrease environmental consequences. As a result, they favor jewelry with environmentally responsible packaging. According to Fortune Business Insights, the worldwide market value of green packaging in 2021 would be about USD 267.83 billion. The market value will rise at a 5.3 percent yearly rate from 2021 to 2028.
With the potential rise in consumer environmental consciousness, it is unquestionably important for gem and jewelry entrepreneurs to prioritize operating businesses that are more responsible to society and the environment. This is in step with worldwide market developments, which are moving toward more sustainable consumption and lifestyle. The change will increase competitiveness and serve as a cornerstone to long-term success in the global jewelry industry.