Given fashion’s ongoing waste problem, in recent years, sustainability has risen to the top of every smart shopper’s list. And with monumental steps being made every day to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of clothes and bags (we’re looking at you, secondhand sites), a key component of our daily outfit has somehow been seemingly overlooked: jewelry.
Thankfully, there is a considerably large market available to those seeking sustainable earrings, rings, bracelets, you name it for just about every occasion. With many companies creating ethically sourced or lab-grown diamonds, rare gemstones, recycled gold, etc., you too can buy beautiful, brand-new jewelry that doesn’t make you feel the least bit guilty.
If you think it can’t get any better, think again! All of these jewelry stores were founded by women, for women (or men—we don’t discriminate!) and continue to have them at the helm as CEO. And because there’s really never a bad time to support women, do good for the planet, and come out the other side drowning in diamonds, go ahead and shop our favorite brands below.
Founded by Shilpa Yarlagadda when she was a sophomore at a little-known school called Harvard, Shiffon started with the intention to be a company with the ability to fund fellow women-led businesses, and it became just that, but also much more. It’s not hard to understand how such a green company was able to skyrocket to success when you see the jewelry, ethical diamonds and all.
While Shiffon also sells beautifully understated hoop earrings, as well as an upcoming tennis collection in collaboration with a fellow female-led company, Break the Love, the true star of the show is the Duet Pinky Ring. Among others such as Malala Yousafzai, Michelle Obama, and Serena Williams, the ring has been most famously and frequently worn by none other than Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Markle often sports the yellow gold and diamond combination, but Shiffon also offers the band in sterling silver, rose gold, and white gold in varying karats, and the embellishment in diamond, black diamond, and white sapphire.
Yarlagadda, named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in 2020, has some advice for the budding female entrepreneur, “Just get started,” she says. “Perfection truly can be the enemy of good. We can overthink every single thing that the process requires that it stalls us, yet we learn so much as we are building, and nothing I have built has ever been perfect. In the same way that we are improving ourselves every single day, startups are all about version one, two, and three.”
Handcrafted by goldsmiths in Los Angeles and designed by the eponymous founder, Logan Hollowell’s magical designs take shape as necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, and cuffs, as well as custom pieces. Her jewelry prides itself on being made from 14k and 18k recycled gold and ethically sourced gemstones. The most popular design, she says, is by far its Constellation Collection, of which the necklaces are the star (no pun intended). Available in both classic and zodiac constellations, the necklaces have been worn by Markle, as well as supermodels Candice Swanepoel and Elsa Hosk. Fun fact: fellow model Josephine Skriver also gave each of her bridesmaids a necklace from the collection as a gift. The custom and specificity of Logan Hollowell pieces render it a stand-out brand for those gift shopping, or simply looking for a uniquely individual piece to add to their collection.
Featuring lab-grown gemstones and a direct-to-consumer system, Dorsey has been a staple in the ethical jewelry world since its humble beginnings in 2019. In fact, CEO Meg Strachan started it as a vintage jewelry reseller before venturing into the world of original pieces.
The aforementioned staples are all classically inspired, such as the popular and often sold-out Riviere Collection, reminiscent of the timeless tennis bracelet style, but at a far lower price point and in many different colorways. The company has reached the silver screen as well, with the Art Deco-style Leela earrings being worn by none other than Taylor Swift in her debut and Oscar-eligible short film All Too Well (Taylor’s Version). Other celebrities that have worn Dorsey include Lily James, Alexandra Daddario, and Emily Ratajkowski, to name just a few. It’s no wonder Dorsey designs are often sold out—their ethical practices coupled with varieties reminiscent of another time are enough to give any jewelry customer heart-eyes.
Adornmonde differs greatly from the understated nature of previously mentioned brands, though that’s not to say it is any less stunning. Helmed by Niki Allworth, Adornmode prides itself on fun colorways and mixed metals that offer a decidedly youthful aesthetic for its customers, no matter what age.
In particular, the two-tone Dalas necklace—one of Adornmonde’s most popular designs—brings the delicacy of gold and the slight edge of silver together to create a versatile chain that has the uncanny ability to embellish any outfit. The Fidel hoops are another notable creation, available in both gold and silver, and again are the perfect addition to any look. The chunky, crystal-embellished Blamey ring in gold, though it also comes in silver, is a favorite of our cover star Adele, and it’s not hard to see why! The brand also counts Laura Harrier and Shay Mitchell as fans.
Stone and Strand
Stone and Strand, founded by Nadine Kahan and designed by Melissa Lum in New York City, prides itself on using real gold and ethical gemstones to create original designs perfect for yourself and any lucky jewelry wearer in your life.
With pieces featuring diamonds available for under $500, it’s easy to believe they would be adored by celebrities, influencers, and consumers alike. Jamie Chung counts herself as a brand supporter, wearing a stack of Stone and Strand necklaces on multiple occasions, most notably featuring the Bubble Tea Initial Necklace. Another customer favorite? The Pave Diamond Initial Charm Necklace. On the collection side, Stone and Strand’s zodiac, piercing, and pearl collections are also top-sellers on the brand’s site. Did we mention it’s also Tinx-approved? Your move, rich moms.
Toulmin Jahncke is a digital editorial intern at ELLE.com. She is currently studying literature and playwriting at Bennington College. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, baking, vintage shopping, and rewatching episodes of Fleabag. After bingeing The Queen’s Gambit, she started learning Russian, because, why not?