The decision to purchase an engagement ring can be a little overwhelming. For those wanting to buy a ring and be conscious of the global and environmental impact, the task can be daunting. Here are five tips to making an educated ethical engagement ring purchase.
Know the Terms
Fair Trade, Eco-friendly and conflict-free are terms you will hear when deciding to make an ethical purchase. A ring receives Fair Trade certification when equitable trade practices are followed at every level of production. Eco-friendly means the ring was made with no harmful impact on the environment. Conflict-free suggests that the region sourcing the jewels is not part of any violent conflict and that those selling the jewels are not funding any wars.
Look for Diamond Alternatives
Although the movie Blood Diamond raised awareness about unethical mining practices, the practice still exists. Avoiding diamonds could put your mind to ease. One alternative that exists is Moissanite, a substance first discovered on a meteorite but has been used in jewelry as a manufactured gem. It is produced in a lab making no direct environmental impact or negative impact on people living in the production area. Ashas are also manufactured in a lab like Moissanite but are less durable. Gemstones like amethyst, ruby, and sapphire can be found easily under Fair Trade guidelines. Any gem produced in a lab will have less impact on the environment.
Understand The Kimberley Process
If diamonds are desired, understanding The Kimberly Process is important. This refers to a joint governments, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. States participating in this process must meet certain requirements and commit to transparency and the exchange of statistical data. Your retailer should be able to provide a certificate that the diamond meets this standard.
Trust the Retailer
An important tip in making an ethical purchase is going through a retailer that you trust. By doing a little research and talking with others who have made similar purchases, you can find someone that will help you through the process. Jeannette Holian, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland, suggests going through Brilliant Earth.
Holian commented, “The website Brilliant Earth was phenomenal because ALL of their stone and gold are ethically sourced – you get a certificate letting you know where it is from. They were phenomenal to work with. The company is really committed to giving back to areas hurt by diamond conflicts also so that really reached me. They go above and beyond the Kimberley process. They use fair trade principles and give back to support local economies and people. I just didn’t feel right paying tons of money for a stone that was surrounded by death and someone’s pain. My ring should remind me of love and care not pain and guilt.”
Buy Second Hand
The easiest way to ensure you purchase an engagement ring that will not have a negative impact on the environment is buying a recycled or second hand ring. The website, Ethical Bride provides great information on what to look for in buying a ring and suggests places to visit.