If you have never checked out Etsy, you should definitely take a look. Its an online marketplace for handcrafted items made by talented artists and artisans. Today we feature four eco-friendly diamond engagement rings that caught our eye on Etsy. They are all made by independent jewelers who have used not only conflict free/fairly traded stones but also recycled metals. Bravo to their efforts and to their fine pieces of jewelry.
About these rings (Clockwise L-R)
- round brilliant bezel ring set in 100% recycled 14 K gold by Onestonenewyork. Jeweler is “committed to an ethical awareness in bench-made jewelry production”
- lively natural diamond 6 prong setting with 18K reclaimed gold by beyondtherockz. Jeweler uses “fairly-traded stones and reclaimed and refined materials and metals.”
- 1/2 carat diamond set in recylced palladium white gold by singleBbeautiful. “Recycled metals and conflict free/fair trade stone makes this ring as ethical as it is beautiful.”
- natural diamond set in 100% recycled 14K white gold by Onestonenewyork. Jeweler is “committed to an ethical awareness in bench-made jewelry production”
Selecting the perfect ring is already enough stress on its own. And now, with all the issues surrounding conflict diamonds and earth friendly mining, we have one more item to add to our checklist to keep our consciences clear. Here’s the short list of what you can do as a responsible consumer…
1. Your jeweler: select a jeweler with care. Find a jeweler with an independent trusted source for fair trade diamonds or go through ethical diamond mining sites: Brilliant Earth, Pride Diamonds, Leber Jeweler, Tiffany & Co., Erica Courtney
2. Your stone: Ask your jeweler about the origins of the stone and request a written warranty verifying the diamonds source and chain of custody. This will hold the jeweler responsible for their claim of labeling and selling a conflict-free diamond.
3. Consider recycled metals: Did you know that it takes at least 30 tons of rock to make one gold ring? Recycled gold is melted down and re-refined, making it the same quality as newly mined gold. Many gold mines are open pit mines and can be devastating to the environment . Learn more at GreenKarat and for a list of retailers who support responsible gold mining, visit nodirtygold.org.
Stunning yellow diamond set in recycled 18K yellow or white gold, or 90% recycled from GreenKarat.com
4. Go vintage: Consider an antique ring or an heirloom piece. Its a great way to reuse and recycle valuable jewelry and a sure way to be unique!
5. Diamond Alternatives: If you are not into diamonds, you can consider Moissanites. Made from silicon carbonite, Moissanite can also be manufactured in a lab and are completely earth-friendly and conflict-free gemstone. Its also easier on the wallet!
6. Watch Blood Diamond: Not only is it a great film, but it is quite the eye opener, bringing awareness to the dark and often violent side of the diamond industry.
Its so easy to get caught up with the beauty and excitement of a ring and forget about where it came from. In the spirit of Earth Day, we’d like to educate our readers about what we can do to be more aware of the issues surrounding conflict diamonds and gems.
In order to understand what exactly it means to wear eco-friendly jewelry, we contacted Brilliant Earth, San Francisco based jewelers committed to providing ethically and environmentally responsible fine jewelry. We love the story of how this company started – out of a marriage proposal. When the groom could not find a reliable source that could guarantee conflict free diamonds, the couple created Brilliant Earth to provide certified conflict free diamonds as an alternative to current diamond industry practices. Just fabulous!
Here are some eco-tidbits courtesy of Brilliant Earth that are worth knowing…
1. Conflict diamonds have funded devastating civil wars in Africa, ending millions of lives. These “blood diamonds”, are associated with human rights abuses, environmental damage, and terrorism.
2. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP), was established in 2003 to prevent “blood diamonds” from entering the mainstream rough diamond market. It imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’.
3. Recent events illustrate that the KP is not as reliable as we thought – they continue to certify diamonds from Zimbabwe, even though diamond mining there is causing unspeakable human suffering.
4. A 2004 Amnesty International survey found that 83% of US jewelers says their customers ‘rarely or never’ inquire about the source of diamonds.
5. A similar study in 2007 found that 56% of jewelers do not even have an auditing procedure in place to prevent the retail of conflict diamonds. Those that do rely on the faulty KP certification.
We hope to do our part to help create awareness and encourage responsible ring buying. So, in the spirit of Earth Day, all week we’ll be featuring posts on what we can do as consumers, as well as photos of eco-friendly rings.
This engagement ring dates back to the 1920s and is an heirloom piece with a rich history. We love the antique setting of the rounds and marquis diamonds, and love its story even more.
Cut: Round brilliant center stone, set to either side are 3 single cut diamonds and 2 marquis diamonds.
Carat: Center Diamond approx .93 carat
A Jewelry Story: This ring is very special to me, mainly because of the story behind it. In the early 1920′s, the ring itself was my paternal grandmother’s engagement ring. After my grandmother passed, my aunt inherited the ring, but when my father decided to propose to my mother, my aunt sent him the ring. BUT she sent it with ALL the stones removed. So, my father bought all the stones for it and gave it to my mother. 10 years later, my maternal grandmother passed away and my mother swapped the stone in her ring for my grandmother’s stone, since it was a better quality stone. Now that it belongs to me, it is truly a family heirloom, having parts from both grandmothers and my mother and being in my family for 90 years.
This unique engagement ring comes to us from a Miami bride-to-be who will be getting married beach-side in the Philippines this May. The diamonds have been handed down over the generations, and this particular ring was completely redesigned to fit the tiny, delicate hands of this beautiful bride. We love the double stone, angled setting and just found out the inspiration for the setting was modeled after a ring of the groom’s grandmother.
Cut: Round brilliant
Setting: 2 antique solitaire diamonds unusually designed at an “intertwined” angle in 18k gold prong setting
Jeweler: La Estrella del Norte, Manila Philippines
About this ring: “This engagement ring is a family heirloom that has been worn by 4 generations of women on my fiance’s side of the family.”
This stunning heirloom diamond engagement ring has maintained the same setting and band size for over three generations. Unlike her sister, this bride decided to keep the original setting of the diamond as it was so timeless and elegant. The round brilliant center diamond paired with the tapered baguettes make a dazzling combination, maintaining a definite symmetry and balance. This ring manages to uphold a certain charm and quality that is visible to any onlooker.
Heirloom rings that are untouched like this are very unique. Oftentimes, heirloom rings contain stones that have been fashioned from other pieces of jewelry, such as necklaces, earrings, brooches etc. Split rings, where the diamonds from one heirloom has been refashioned and used into multiple rings, are common as well.
Cut: Round Brilliant with Tapered Baguettes
Carat: 4.10 center + 0.50 baguettes
Setting: Four prong and end-prong set in platinum
Jeweler: Harry Winston
About this Ring: This ring was my maternal grandmother’s engagement ring, given to her by her second husband in 1965. My mom inherited the ring when her mother passed and saved it for my engagement. The ring happened to fit perfectly; I did not even have to have it sized!