Many people across nations put on fashion jewelry without taking into account cultural appropriation. Some assume that cultural appropriation is limited to attire, and this is not true.
We created this post to help you learn more about cultural appropriation in relation to jewelry. By the end of this post, you will learn how to avoid cultural appropriation in fashion jewelry. Read on!
Cultural appropriation in jewelry
Every group in society, whether racial or ethnic, has certain traditions, customs, and practices. Cultural appropriation in jewelry means taking jewelry that belongs to a certain culture and making it your own without acknowledging its source or borrowing permission.
Though fashion jewelry is used to express individuality, it is sometimes used to represent a particular culture. It is wrong to take fashion jewelry that is quite significant to a specific group and strip it of its meaning. When people do not respect such elements, it creates an identity vacuum.
For a long time, talks of cultural appropriation of fashion jewelry have been common, especially on social media platforms. Though some people ignore the harm that cultural appropriation causes, people from those cultures feel wronged by how others handle their fashion jewelry.
One good example of cultural appropriation in fashion jewelry is putting on plastic evil eye bracelets without understanding or appreciating their meaning.
Some people confuse cultural appropriation in jewelry with cultural appreciation. These two are not the same since cultural appreciation is all about understanding the elements of a specific culture as you borrow its jewelry.
Unlike cultural appropriation, which is disrespectful, cultural appreciation is accepted. Before you embrace any fashion jewelry belonging to a certain group, you should think of a way to avoid cultural appropriation.
Some acts of cultural appropriation are usually not intentional since some people are unaware of the kind of statement they make by putting on certain fashion jewelry. It is crucial to educate yourself on cultural appropriation to avoid disrespecting any group.
How to avoid cultural appropriation in fashion jewelry
Do some research on retailers
Before buying fashion jewelry, you should take your time to learn more about the retailers. The problem with some retailers is that they do not pay much attention to the source of their products and only focus on making profits.
Consider choosing jewelry pieces from a retailer that is transparent about the source of their products.
Pick such pieces from a retailer that embraces inclusive fashion jewelry to avoid cultural appropriation.
Retailers that are keen on cultural appropriation sell fashion jewelry that focuses on cultural diversity without being offensive to a certain group.
Know when you may be crossing the line
We mentioned that some people appropriate cultures even without knowing it when putting on fashion jewelry. Since cultural appropriation is common, some trends that you have been part of may have arisen from appropriating certain cultural elements.
If you were part of this without knowing, it is important to admit you made a mistake and promise yourself to do better. You can do this by appreciating cultural elements the next time you put on fashion jewelry.
Ask yourself important questions
Rather than putting on fashion jewelry just because it looks good, it is important that you ask yourself certain questions to avoid cultural appropriation.
For instance, you can ask yourself whether you are putting on a certain jewelry item to educate yourself more about a particular culture.
Also, ask yourself whether putting on certain jewelry pieces is likely to disrespect or offend a certain culture. Assess whether putting the fashion jewelry amplifies or supports the voices of the people from that particular culture.
If it prevents the voices of people from that culture from being heard, then the best thing is to not wear the fashion jewelry.
Learn more about the culture that inspired a certain fashion jewelry
Before wearing specific jewelry pieces, you should learn more about their history. This can prevent you from contributing to cultural misappropriation since you will not use fashionable jewelry in a way that offends or disrespects a particular group.
You should also take your time to educate yourself on the design of the fashion jewelry you want to wear. Paying attention to this can help you appreciate the fashion jewelry item instead of appropriating it as a fashion trend.
If, for instance, you want to put on fashion jewelry pieces that belong to a certain group that is not your own, you can avoid cultural appropriation by asking for permission.
Suppose you want to attend a certain wedding wearing fashion jewelry belonging to a specific group to blend in; getting permission beforehand can prevent you from offending anyone at the wedding.
Avoid certain jewelry items
Some cultures do not appreciate it when people outside their groups wear certain fashion jewelry that has a significant meaning.
You can avoid cultural appropriation by not wearing jewelry items that mimic holy symbols, figures, or texts.
Acknowledge the creator
Find out who made the specific fashion jewelry item you want to wear and why they did it in the first place. A
s you wear the piece, it is important to acknowledge the creator. Giving them credit can help you avoid cultural appropriation.
Refrain from stereotyping
As you wear fashion jewelry that is associated with a specific group, you should avoid stereotyping. It is important to find out whether people from different cultures use specific jewelry items freely without being discriminated against.
If a certain piece of fashion jewelry contributes to a form of stereotype, you should avoid wearing it since doing this would contribute to cultural appropriation.
Fashion jewelry gives you a chance to express individuality.
However, you should avoid appropriating any culture as you put on jewelry.
The line between expressing oneself and disrespecting a certain culture is thin.
If you have contributed to cultural appropriation in fashion jewelry before without knowing it, pay attention to the points we have discussed above to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.