Gemandi has the potential to be a sustainable business, but it is not quite there yet. It needs to be transparent about its sourcing. The company website provides a few details, such as that its crystals were created in a lab, and what metals it uses for the base, but it forces the consumer to figure out the rest through extensive industry research. My one recommendation to Gemandi is to be honest about all stages of the production and manufacturing process.
Gemandi’s jewelry is made from hypoallergenic metals, this set is made from brass. Brass is a blend of copper and zinc, and copper mining is associated with habitat destruction, by means of acid mine drainage and acid rain, and long-term exposure can cause copper poisoning. Although this set uses small amounts of gold, it is still worth considering the environmental impacts of gold. Gold mining is destructive to people and the planet, removing large swaths of forest, producing large quantities of toxic substances, polluting freshwater sources, and compromising the health and safety of miners. Not to mention that mining uses heavy machinery powered by fossil fuels. If Gemandi uses recycled metals, it could be sustainable because it avoids mining altogether, and thus uses less energy and raw materials. Unfortunately, Gemandi does not indicate where it sources its raw materials from. The same is true for glass: creating glass requires disturbing natural habitat and applying lots of energy to heat sand to its very high melting point, but using recycled glass can reduce its ecological footprint. The other material used for its crystals, cubic zirconia, has minimal environmental impact because it is lab-grown, using fewer fossil fuels.
All of Gemandi’s crystals are created in a lab where they are hand-cut and set by their jewelers. To create cubic zirconia, the main material used in the crystal, one must “heat up a powder until it melts” and then “cool it until it becomes a solid”, requiring a decent amount of energy. The process of creating cubic zirconia as crystals is much more sustainable than using diamonds. There are numerous techniques that could be used to craft the jewelry, none of which require energy-intensive machinery. Each piece of jewelry is 14k gold plated (dipped in a very thin layer of gold) 3 times, polished, and sealed. That is the value of a company of this size - it is capable of producing products entirely by hand. Unfortunately, Gemandi does not disclose where or who it sources its metals from, so the consumer has no way of knowing the company’s true environmental or societal impact. Typically, gold and copper may have severe health consequences for those mining them. And the mining operations destroy the surrounding environment. For these reasons, Gemandi cannot be trusted until it discloses this information.
Gemandi is an online jewelry store based in Los Angeles, where all of its jewelry is designed and shipped from. Since Gemandi is based in the U.S., I would assume that it adheres to fair labor practices. However, without any information provided, one can never be certain. A red flag for me is that the company does not disclose where it sources all of its raw materials from. It mentions that the crystals are created in a lab, but that does not account for the copper nor gold. This detail is important to the company’s overall rating because the mining industry is often associated with poor working conditions and even human rights abuses. I think its products are reasonably priced - (each ring, bracelet, and earrings ranging from $50 to $70) for their quality.