A few years ago I graduated and therefore I got some money from my grandparents to buy a ring. I could choose any kind, for them it was just important that I had an item to remember them by. At the time I was a beginner when it comes to buying secondhand, but my dad helped because be knew an auction site. We searched the site for a while and after a while a had found a beautiful ring: I bought it and had a secondhand piece of jewelry.
Buying new stuff has the biggest impact on our planet out of all the things we do as individual humans. And so, switching to buying nothing or less is the best option. But I can imagine that’s not always possible. I challenge myself to buy nothing new every year, but I have failed ever since, it’s not easy. But I did buy waaaay less and that’s important. Out of all the new stuff you buy electronics are the most harmful, that’s a fact. But over the years I have seen horrendous things about the raw materials used for jewelry as well.
There is such a thing as fair trade jewelry. Now, to me that says a lot. That means that non-fair trade jewelry is dirty. Very dirty. I have seen about it in Bloed, Zweet en Luxeproblemen, Rot op met je Milieu,de Amazone and I’ve read about it multiple times. The working conditions for our jewelry are horrendous. Besides that, minerals that are used for jewelry are not just lying around. They are always stored somewhere in nature. In mountains, the soil, the ground. It has to be brought to the surface. Since minerals are often mined in less developed countries there is no regulation and nature is destroyed. Images of mining are heart breaking. Watch an episode of Gold Rush and you’ll know what it looks like. Everything that’s living is destroyed for the minerals. Dynamite is often used to blow up areas to mine. Anyway, I am planning on sharing a show soon all about these practices. For now, it’s about the practical stuff.
When I bought the ring you see on the pictures, my dad recommended Catawiki. It’s an auction site where you can bid. At the time I thought that every item on there was vintage or secondhand, but when looking at the site again this week I saw that there are several vintage options in the menu. This means that I’m not 100% sure whether my ring is secondhand or not. Yet, my intentions were good. At the time I just went to a local jewelry shop to get my ring size measured and then looked online for a ring on Catawiki in that size. I would recommend doing that too when you want a new ring. This way something old gets a new life. But make sure you look at the vintage section at Catawiki! And before you buy it, think. Do you really need it? For me the answer is no most of the time. But if you then do choose to buy something, what’s more beautiful than a vintage item with a story?
I love jewelry. But even on jewelry I try to be minimalistic. There’s only so much you can wear every day. If I’d have a ton of jewelry there would be a lot in my drawer every day and that’s just a sin of resources really. All the rings I own were gifts but I already think it’s a lot. I have a hard time getting rid of gifts, but there’s only so many I can wear every day. Jewelry are often a sign of love or memory. I get that but in a way it’s weird too. I don’t need a ring from my boyfriend to know that he loves me. Same goes with necklaces, earrings and bracelets. I have one pair of silver earrings and I think I’ll get one more and that’s it. Minimal and simple, no stress to choose.
I do have a lot of fake jewelry as well, from the time I was addicted to shopping at Primark. I am phasing out these things, making use of them until they break or turn really ugly. I haven’t bought something new or secondhand in years because I still have a lot lying around. I hope after all years one day I have a minimal set of jewelry I wear almost every day. For now, this ring from Catawiki is one of them.