When planning a wedding, one of the biggest tasks is choosing a wedding ring or wedding band. Not only do you want to find a great ring that reflects your style, but you also want one that’s comfortable to wear every day and that fits your budget.
And if you’re like many who are socially conscious, with rising concerns about human rights and the environment, you may want to take your shopping a step further and look for a wedding ring that’s ethically sourced.
In this blog, we’ll discuss different options for your center stone and engagement ring setting to help you design the ethical engagement ring and wedding ring of your dreams.
Choosing Your Center Stone
Do Ethical Diamonds Exist?
With the knowledge of blood diamonds and the destruction that diamond mining causes being more widespread, some modern shoppers are beginning to wonder if ethical diamonds really exist.
While many companies are beginning to market their diamonds as “conflict-free” or “ethically sourced”, the truth is that any diamond pulled from the earth still supports the overall diamond trade. Sure, the diamond in question might come from Canada, but did you know that every day, Canadian mines produce one million tons of waste rock and 950,000 tons of tailings every day? That’s still a lot of damage to our planet.
If crafting a sustainable engagement ring is your goal, we cannot in good conscience recommend a mined diamond for your center stone. The fact is, from lab grown diamonds and gemstones to diamond alternatives, there are so many other, more sustainable choices on today’s market.
About Lab Grown Diamonds
Sure, it might sound a bit sci-fi, but lab grown diamonds are gaining in popularity and very quickly at that. Earth mined diamonds are often sourced from countries that value profit and power over human life and rights.
By creating diamonds in a lab, you take mining out of the equation altogether. Not only is that better for the environment, but it’s also better for humanity.
There’s no question that lab grown diamonds are more ethically sourced than mined ones, which makes them an easy choice for many. Coupled with the fact that diamonds grown in a lab are physically, optically, and chemically identical to a natural diamond, you can guarantee that you have made the right choice when purchasing a lab created diamond.
What’s more, a lab grown, conflict free diamonds takes much less time to grow than the billions of years it takes mined diamonds to grow beneath the earth. Choosing a lab grown diamond is one of the best options for shoppers who are looking to purchase ethical and eco-friendly wedding rings.
Consider a Diamond Alternative
If a diamond doesn’t strike your fancy due to its price point or aesthetic reasons consider a diamond alternative instead.
For stones that look similar to a diamond but cost a mere fraction of the price, try a diamond simulant or a moissanite center stone. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a diamond simulant, that among all simulants, most closely imitates the look and wear of a diamond. But that’s not all, the Nexus Diamond™ alternative also costs up to 80% less than a comparable mined diamond making it a great option for budget-minded shoppers. Moissanite, on the other hand, shares the same colorless appearance as a diamond but offers different optical properties. Often referred to as the “disco ball effect” moissanite is known to display bright flashes of sparkle and color when exposed to the light.
On the flip side, if you’re looking for a center stone that will really stand out from the crowd why not opt for a colored gemstone? Emerald, ruby, sapphire, there are several gorgeous and durable options to choose from. Not to mention, similar to natural diamonds, colored gemstones can be grown in a lab making a man made gem the perfect bright and ethical choice for your forever adornment.
Before deciding which diamond shape is right for you or your partner, check out our lab grown diamond buying guide here.
Look for a ‘Vintage’ Wedding Ring
Some of the most ethical wedding rings or ethical engagement rings you’ll find on the market today are second-hand wedding rings. Purchasing an antique wedding ring, a vintage ring, or even having one made with a recycled diamond can help bring your dream ring to life.
You obviously can’t know how the diamond ring originated, or if it was obtained unethically, but you can redeem its history by reusing it for a new wedding ring. That way there is no additional impact on the earth and you know no children or humans were harmed in procuring it (at least this time around).
You can find second-hand rings all over these days. Pawnshops, vintage stores, even old family heirlooms can be great sources. You can also find beautiful second-hand jewelry like an antique engagement ring via estate sales, thrift stores, and online marketplaces. If you don’t like the original setting, you can simply repurpose the stones and place them in a new setting, or even buy other types of jewelry to use for the ring you envision.
Don’t Forget the Setting
If you thought that the center stone was the only important element to consider when crafting an ethical wedding ring think again. You’ll also want to take your engagement ring setting into consideration.
Made from precious metals such as rose gold, yellow gold, white gold, palladium, sterling silver, and platinum, an engagement ring setting refers to how gemstones are set into a metal band.
Sadly, the metal and gold mining industry indulges in many of the same dark practices as the diamond mining industry. But don’t fret. At 12FIFTEEN we are working to combat this issue. We’ve discovered that precious metals like gold and platinum in all its forms can easily be recycled and reused without losing its value. And with the uptick in eco-conscious shoppers, many jewelers are beginning to sell engagement rings and other fine jewelry created using recycled precious metal, platinum, recycled gold and more sustainable materials.
Luckily, for shoppers who would love to have jewelry with a much cooler glow, , there are plenty of options. Fortunately, at 12FIFTEEN, we offer a selection of rings that are made with certified recycled platinum. If you are looking for a precious metal other than platinum, sterling silver and palladium offer the same cool tone and are a more sustainable option. However, do keep in mind that there’s a difference in quality between sterling silver and palladium and while more costly, palladium is better suited for an engagement ring.