Sharon Z Jewelry: Simply Good Design (That’s Child Labor Free)

This post was sponsored by Sharon Z Jewelry and I received product for review.

Over the past few years, I’ve spoken with several jewelry designers who strive for ethics in their production process and they unanimously agree on one thing: it’s very difficult to trace raw materials. 

If you purchase a conventionally made jewelry item – say gold hoops or a diamond engagement ring – you can almost guarantee that child labor was involved somewhere in the production process. According to Human Rights Watch, thousands of children under the age of 17 help process raw gold in unregulated Ghanaian and other African mines, using toxic mercury to purify the gold. In Bolivia, an estimated 3,000 children – some as young as 6 – work in the silver mines (in 2013, in a very Newsies-reminiscent turn of events, some child workers were beginning to unionize). Globally, at least 1 million children work in mines, forced there by poverty and political unrest, and often receive a wage as low as $2 per day if they receive a wage at all.

There’s something particularly disturbing about child labor, but we need to remember that adults don’t fare any better from these exploitative industries. All are caught up in a system – made possible by local governments and deal-hungry consumers – that sees more value in hoarding their money than in human livelihood.

One way to ensure that the jewelry you’re buying is ethically and sustainable sourced is to stick with designers who prioritize recycled, lab grown, and fair mined materials. Sharon Z is one such designer…

Sharon sent me her small but badass recycled Silver Spear Earrings to review. They’re a “huggie” style that wraps around the earlobe, making a subtle but impactful statement in profile. I wore them to church a couple weeks ago and my fellow chorister turned to me and said something to the effect of “Woah! I like your earrings!” as they caught her eye. I don’t mind wearing something that has something of a stunning effect on people!

I opted for the oxidized finish so they’d be less shiny and more suitable – at least to my taste – for everyday wear. I’m very happy to add them to my arsenal of artisanal, thoughtful jewelry.

These were packaged in a simple, recycled box wrapped in natural-tone paper and sealed with pink wax. I was delighted by the hand-stamped wax seal (my husband bore the brunt of my audible delight as I opened it in the kitchen when I got home from work). It showed a lot of care without being gaudy or wasteful.

And in case you’re wondering this Pride month, Sharon Z is LGBTQ friendly.

Shop Sharon Z here. 

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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