With the shadows of Valentine’s Day still upon us, some of us may be thinking that it’s time to put a ring on it. 

The process of choosing the appropriate engagement ring is definitely a difficult decision; combining aesthetics and personal preference and can be even more difficult in the face of ethical and environmental concerns. 

The diamond mining business has long been haunted by its cruel past; the Global Witness reported that the industry has helped to fund civil wars and violence in countries where the diamonds originate from in order to exploit cheap labor. The global diamond industry suffocates the workers through lack of fair wages and safe practices. 

The current diamond processing and precious metal sourcing practices also harm the environment: a US Geological Survey reports the average stone in an engagement ring is the product of the removal of 200 to 400 million times its volume of earth — a huge detriment to the species that rely on that earth for survival. 

But as our society becomes more aware of these problems, the rise of eco-friendly and ethical sources of diamonds and diamond alternatives has entered the arena of engagement rings. Below, we’ve compiled below five engagement ring extraordinaires: beautiful, ethical and eco-friendly. 

This floating ring literally looks like its floating while bringing together two separate “bands” of life — what a meaningful and beautiful ring from Do Amore. As their brand name suggests, they want to do more to ensure the diamonds on your engagement ring are ethically sourced and mined. They’ve partnered with Diamond Sightholders, to make sure their three pillars are maintained: to not buy diamonds from areas that support conflict, to not endanger the welfare of individuals, and to follow the international best practice environmental framework. 

The Anani ring from Ken & Dana Design has a wave-like band that features a texture that mimics a Sequoia tree. If your special other enjoys nature or national parks, this ring is for you guys! The company uses recycled metals in all of their jewelry, which helps to lower the global demand for mining new gold, alongside the environmental and social costs of doing so. Their diamonds are all crafted in New York City, working within a local environment to ensure everyone in their supply chain earns a generous living wage. 

The flower-like fiorella diamond ring features a bright diamond blooming from smaller set diamond petals in a rose-gold band. This memorable ring is from Brilliant Earth, a certified member of the Responsible Jewelry Council (an ethical standard within the jewelry industry). Brilliant Earth has a wide collection of ethically-sourced, sustainable and beautiful jewelry and work with organizations like the Rainforest Alliance and projects across the world by donating 5% of their profits to improve human rights and environmental practices in the industry. 

A two-tone band for all my fellow indecisive friends: pick this Burnside Two Tone Engagement ring that features a regular ring and a beautiful, cord-like band around it that wraps around the diamond. Working together with charity foundation The Greener Diamond, MiaDonna also donates at least 10% of its profits to projects in sub-Saharan Africa, such as sponsoring agricultural farms in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as relief projects and support for Ebola survivors. For every order, a tree is planted to help offset carbon emissions generated during shipping. 

Want a little color? Check out the lab-created sapphire, pear-shaped stone in a vintage gold band. The band itself is eye-catching with its intricate design, but still highlights the sapphire itself. The Helena Engagement Ring is from family-owned, Wisconsin-located EcoDiamond. These diamonds avoid any diamond and gemstone mining at all, and are created in a responsibly-managed lab environment. Not to mention, they are less expensive too, allowing you to take your money for other meaningful experiences. 

We want to know: what’s your favorite ring? Comment below!

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