It’s engagement season! The time of year when our feeds are flooded with holiday festivities and proposal stories. Maybe you’re in a relationship and have been talking with your boo about engagement rings? Maybe you’re dating a kickass woman who loves to shop sustainably and have no idea how to pick a ring? Or…like most of us. You just really like looking at rings and want to add some new ones to your saved collections on Instagram.
Either way, we wanted to share some ethical engagement ring ideas for the people who want even their big purchases to still leave a lasting and positive impact in the world. Shopping ethically and sustainably doesn’t have to be limited to groceries and clothes! Engagement rings (and wedding dresses *wink*) can be an intentional purchase and you don’t have to sacrifice quality or customization for it either.
But first, terms! There are lots of words out there and different types of things to consider when you want to purchase an ethical engagement ring. We made a little glossary and included some links if you want to learn more.
- Lab-Grown Diamonds – High tech labs emulate the natural diamond growth process.
- Diamond alternatives – Moissanite, Morganite, and Sapphire are used these days to look and shine like a diamond. Brides are also forgoing the diamond look altogether and opting for gemstones as the main stone for their rings.
- Fair Trade – Producers are getting paid a fair price and are in decent working conditions.
- Conflict-Free Diamonds – The mining and buying of these diamonds are ethical. When you’re buying a conflict-free diamond your money doesn’t contribute to criminal activity in other parts of the world.
- Ethically-Sourced/Mined Metals – Similar to Fair Trade but particularly with metals, they are still being mined but are receiving a good wage and decent working conditions.
- Recycled Metals – The metals used in your ring have been sourced from other jewelry and melted down.
- Vintage/Antique – These are used rings made in previous eras that have withstood time due to their quality and care by previous owners. Antique usually means over 100 years old and vintage means at least 20-30 years old.
- Vintage-Inspired – Still a newly created ring (usually custom) but made with vintage styles in mind.
- Kimberely Process – This is a vetting process and commitment of countries, organizations and the Diamond industry to ensure the eradication of conflict diamonds around the world.
How to shop for an ethical engagement ring?
We’ve gotten to work with amazing small business owners who create stunning pieces while ensuring they’re getting their diamonds are conflict-free and use recycled metals. When purchasing from a local, independent business, you know that your purchase is directly impacting an individual who has been spending years hustling and working on their craft.
Check out Valerie Madison from Seattle. Valerie is a kickass woman of color (black/latina) who started the company in 2014. She has a whole page dedicated to their sustainability practices and we love how their rings.
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A few of our favorite rings from this year, only two are left. Find them at our #Boston retailer @OreJewelry. Tap for details, but tell us which is your favorite and want to see more of in 2020?⠀ ⠀ #valeriemadisonjewelry #alternativeengagementrings #uniqueengagementrings #designerengagementrings #lovestoreisingold #sparkle #2020engagement #storeore #bostonjewelry #shopsmall #womanownedbusiness #sparkle
A used engagement ring sounds weird at first but there are jewelers all over the country dedicated to finding beautiful pieces that have outlasted decades. It’s like the satisfaction of thrifting but you can still find high-quality, gorgeous pieces that feel you.
We love Mae Jean Vintage in Pennsylvania. They’re women-owned and operated and specialize in timeless vintage and antique rings. We could scroll their Instagram feed for days.
Trumpet & Horn is another vintage jeweler but they focus on eco-friendly vintage and vintage-inspired engagement rings. Even their newly crafted rings are made with recycled metals and antique accent stones. You can read more about their commitment to ethical engagement rings here.
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🚨 TWO CARAT PEAR ALERT 🚨 St. Germain and Seabreeze both feature stunning diamonds with coveted (in OUR world!) open culets! These super old stones are big and beautiful, and were given the chance to shine in repurposed settings in the Mid Century and Modern eras respectively. Between the two, which is YOUR favorite?! • • • • • #pearshape #vintageengagementring #diamond #engagementring #uniqueengagementring #vintage #trumpettribe
There are jewelers out there who don’t just have sustainable and ethical practices but are giving back to communities that have been taken advantage of through the industry for a long time. These are some kick-ass companies that we admire and we hope you feel inspired by them too.
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Thoughtful designs for your special moments.💓 Congratulations @vicchangg @kevphinnn! Link in bio to shop this style | Luxe Ballad Diamond Ring #BrilliantEarth #diamond #engagementring #ovaldiamond #ovaldiamondring #ovalengagementring #wedding #weddingring #sparkle #engagement #proposal #engagementphotos #weddingseason #bride #bridetobe #engaged #diamondjewelry #uniqueengagementring #diamondring #diamonds #rings #ido #shesaidyes
Brilliant Earth made waves in the wedding industry and has contributed to a culture of more socially conscious couples. They have pages of education on their practices and the industry. They partner with different organizations for an environmental impact and they donate 5% of net profits to mining communities and the communities they operate in to create “brighter futures” for the people living there.
Another great place to shop is Mia Donna & Company. They claim to be “the world’s most ethical engagement rings.” A powerful Instagram bio comes with a commitment to back that up. At least 10% of their net profits are donated back to improving the environment and communities of people who have been impacted by the conflict-mining industry. They plant a tree for every order through One Tree Planted. Their founder has an incredible heart behind what she does. Read more about them and check out their stunning rings!
We hope this helps you all feel educated about the industry and empowered to be able to make an impactful choice in your engagement ring! Buying an ethical ring doesn’t mean you have to lose quality or that your ring doesn’t feel you. Whatever you decide for your piece we hope that you feel yourself and are proud to be able to tell the story behind it.
Is there a jeweler that you love to support or are inspired by? Leave a comment below and we’d love to learn more!
Thanks for reading my friends.