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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Ethical Fine Jewellery Online

05 March 2023 3 min read

From food to fashion and everything in between. Shopping online is quick, convenient and the choice is, quite simply, staggering.


But, without seeing something “IRL” (in real life) how do you know it’s good quality or true to its online description? And, with more people concerned with shopping sustainably and more brands claiming to be sustainable, how do you know which sites are legitimate? Are they truly ethical? Or are they just ‘greenwashing’? 

Fine jewellery is an investment. It’s something we’re going to hold on to for years to come, maybe even pass down to our loved ones. So, as ethical consumers, it’s important to make sure that our purchases align with our values.

With all that in mind, here is our ultimate guide to buying ethical fine jewellery online.

1. Research the brand's values and practices

Before you buy, research the brand and look for information on their values and practices. This includes their commitment to sustainability, the use of ethically sourced materials, and their production processes. Brands should be transparent about their practices, making this information easy to find on their websites.

Take a look at our commitment to responsible values and practices.

2. Check the materials used

Check the materials used in the jewellery, including the metals and gemstones. We know that some materials are higher quality than others (read our guide to the differences between fine, demi-fine and fashion jewellery to find out more). But it’s not just quality we’re concerned with. 

When it comes to precious metals and gemstones used in jewellery, there’s a whole host of ethical and sustainability issues that arise - both in terms of environmental damage and human rights abuses. As consumers who care about our world and its people, buying a diamond that may have been mined using child labour, left huge scars on the land, or helped fund conflict just doesn’t sit right. 

The Kimberley Process offers some assurance, certifying which mined diamonds are ‘conflict-free’, but it isn’t without criticism. At illi, we believe the best way to ensure the gemstones in your fine jewellery are ethically sourced is to buy lab-grown. 

Read more about sustainable jewellery and the ethical issues surrounding mined gemstones and precious metals.

3. Read customer reviews

Read customer reviews to see what others have to say about the brand and its products. Look for reviews that mention the brand's ethical and sustainable practices and the quality of their pieces. Be wary though, as not all reviews are legitimate. When it comes to buying safely online, trust is key. 

This guide from independent consumer advice organisation Which? offers tips on how to spot if a review is fake.

4. Consider the packaging

Beyond the jewellery itself, consider the packaging that the item comes in. Look for brands that use sustainable and recyclable packaging materials, such as recycled paper or biodegradable plastics.

You can find out more about our packaging here.

5. Check for a return policy

Check for a return policy in case you are not satisfied with your purchase. Make sure that the brand offers a reasonable return period and makes returning items as simple and straightforward as possible.

See our return policy (including free returns).

6. Consider buying recycled or second-hand

Consider buying second-hand or recycled jewellery as an alternative to purchasing new items. This is a more sustainable option as it reduces the demand for new materials and production processes, which can damage the planet.

We use 100% recycled precious metals in our fine jewellery collections. Browse our recycled gold and silver jewellery.

At illi, we hold tight to our strong values and the importance of running a business that is environmentally and socially responsible, while creating beautiful, high-quality fine jewellery that can be treasured for a lifetime.

We hope this guide will help you make informed and responsible choices when shopping online for jewellery that you’ll love and that aligns with your values.

Shop our range of ethical fine jewellery now.