Earth Day Special Interview: Supermodel Veronica Webb Recycles Her Jewelry

by Daniel Reynolds · April 20, 2012

This Earth Day, Veronica Webb wants you to recycle...your jewelry! This supermodel turned environmental role model is campaigning with CIRCA -- the largest global buyer of diamonds, jewelry, and watches from the public -- to expose the dangers of the mining industry, and the power shoppers have to save the planet.

"I've always been environmentally conscious," said Ms. Webb "I've always recycled and bought organic... But I never thought of jewelry being sustainable until my kids started going to school, and started asking questions [about mining]...  I knew I had to learn more."

[Photo via]

And the cost, she discovered, was staggering. The World Resources Institute estimates that more than one quarter of all active mines infringe on protected environmental areas. And intensified mining methods, including large-scale explosions and poisonous chemicals, are putting wildlife -- and human life -- in danger.

"The processes that go on in mining are appalling," said the supermodel. "Cyanide. Explosives. Mountaintops get completely blown off. Every blade of glass is destroyed."

And the problem isn't confined to jewelry. According to the Pesticide Action Network, the cotton industry uses $2.6 billion worth of pesticides each year-- more than 10% of the world's pesticides and nearly 25% of the world's insecticides.

In response to this eco-crisis, Veronica Webb and celebrities like Salma Hayek, Natalie Portman, Cameron Diaz, and Jennifer Aniston have joined the movement of sustainable fashion, which calls attention to the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

But what can the average shopper do about it?

"Recycle fashion," said Veronica Webb.  "Buy vintage. Resell jewelry... Every diamond or precious jewel you resell is one less that has to be mined from the earth."

But isn't fashion always replacing the old with the new?  Ms. Webb disagrees:

In the world of fashion, what’s old is new again. It's all about reinterpreting. Anything that you have that is truly stylish doesn’t go out of style... There's no way you can ever negate a piece of beautiful jewelry, or a vintage dress by Dior.

[Photo: Veronica Webb for Circa's campaign]

In fashion, as well as the earth, it's all about preservation:

"Take care of your garments," advised Ms. Webb. "When one of my kids tear a hole in their jeans, I'll sew a patch instead of going out and buying a new pair."

And for those looking for new garments, be an educated shopper:

Look for tags that say they’re made from organic and recyclable materials. Organic cotton has far less dyes and processing. And after you've worn them, bring them to a green drycleaner.

And who are some of your favorite designers right now?

For clothing, Charles James, Prabal Gurung, Haider Ackermann. For jewelry, Melissa Joy Manning and Kimberly McDonald.

Any parting word of advice for our readers?

We all have jewelry we love that we no longer wear. There's nothing easier or more beautiful than to wear them, or share them with the world.

Some final environmental advice from Veronica Webb:

1. When it’s a birthday, anniversary or any occasion, I only buy recycled greeting cards or send E-cards 2. I buy vintage eyewear – resins and polymers used in frames are big offenders to the environment 3. Yes to Carrots and Level Cosmetics are organic beauty lines that I love, and they really work. 4. Shop the Farmer’s Market! I’m a big fan of organic and locally sourced food. 5. I wear sustainable couture from designers like John Patrick and I love the all-organic line of WISB by Hassan Pierre.

For more information on CIRCA, including reselling jewelry, go HERE.

[Recycled jewelry, via CIRCA]