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By Clarence Mulcahy
Many newly engaged couples look forward not only to the glamour and romance of their impending Big Day, but also to starting a family in the near future. And for those who do plan to have children, there is often a concern about what state the planet will be in when those kids are grown–so there is no better time for couples to start ensuring they safeguard their children’s future as much as possible by consuming less, and consuming greener.
Fortunately for those in the market for wedding and engagement rings, there are more and more jewellers who incorporate eco-friendliness into their business to ensure they are not contributing to unethical and polluting practices in the mining of their stones, gems, and other precious materials, mainly by upcycling existing ones. The best part is, you won’t have to win the lottery in order to afford one of these eco friendly engagement rings: although they’re greener, they’re often not as expensive as most mainstream ‘dirty’ jewellery, so you can save money whilst saving the planet.
Founded by two Stanford graduates, Brilliant Earth produces refined and eco-friendly jewellery items. Their ethical practices ensure that all of their materials come from mines that follow strict labour, trade, and environmental standards. They also only accept diamonds from areas that possess a fair trade diamond certification. All of their gold and platinum is recycled in order to further reduce the need for mining these materials, and part of their proceeds are donated to help diminish the unfair labor issues in other mining countries.
So which is the best ring from this brand? The one you create! Brilliant Earth has a simple three step process, allowing customers to choose the setting, diamond and cut of the ring they’ll be wearing for a lifetime.
If you are looking for a one of a kind, eco-friendly, engagement ring, look no further than Monique Pean. Known for using unique materials, including fossilised dinosaur bones and ancient shark teeth, she has a signature avant-garde style unlike any other. She uses recycled gold and platinum and all of her diamonds, gems and even fossils are guaranteed to be conflict and devastation free. As an added bonus, proceeds from her sales go to bringing those in developing countries clean drinking water and basic sanitation.
Our pic from her engagement ring line would be the mineraux oval rose cut diamond, crafted from recycled oxidised platinum. This stunning ring is set with an antique white oval rose-cut diamond surrounded by a halo of pave diamonds, as seen below.
Featuring a more classic style, Andrea Bonelli is also a jeweller dedicated to eco-friendly practices. She uses mostly recycled materials and does her best to work with outsourced stone cutters and diamond suppliers that follow ethical mining standards. Many of her engagement rings feature simple bands and designs which add to a rustic look. She does have stores that feature her designs in California and the UK; however, if you are in any other location your best bet is to shop her online gallery.
A delicate moissanite ring cast in eco friendly 14k gold is our pick of the Bonelli bunch.
4. John Hardy
The Bali based brand takes forest management and water conservation seriously, and the cultivation of bamboo in particular helps them maintains both goals For starters, the company offsets its carbon output by planting bamboo all over Bali. Moreover, for each piece of John Hardy’s Bamboo Collection sold, the amount of bamboo that will be planted by the company as a consequence of the purchase is written inside the ring, bracelet or pendant, to remind the wearer of how their purchase will benefit the Earth. And the benefits are substantial: total of over 600,000 stalks were planted at last count.
Aside from their forest management and water saving activities, the company supports many eco-charities, ranging from the Hong Kong Shark Foundation to the WWF and Redress, and also provides job training for Balinese orphans. What better way to kick off a marriage than by knowing the purchase of the symbol your union has contributed to such good?
The brand’s diamond pave ring, below, comes embedded on a charming gold bamboo foundation, referring back to Hardy’s Balinese base.
5. Ana Katarina
If you enjoy wearing art as jewellery, an engagement ring made by Ana Katarina will not disappoint. Her designs are far from traditional and use upcycled materials. Just bring in any jewellery that has been sitting around unworn in the family jewel box for ages, and she will redesign it for you to create a modern classic. All of her work is ethically sustainable – even if she has to find new parts to what she creates for you, she will source it from clean and ethical suppliers.
Her Evo ring, below, was inspired by the beauty of the sea urchin and its totemic symbolism of
intuition and evolution. An inverted blue sapphire is set in a 18k white gold band inscribed with LOVE on the inside, and the entire ring was made using reclaimed, recycled and fair-trade gems and metals in Ana Katarina’s own atelier.
Whether you haven’t got a huge budget or just want to avoid a diamond engagement ring, this Green America Certified business has a ring for you! All of their jewellery is handcrafted and their selections range from artisan style, to vintage, to classic engagement rings. Their attention to detail in all of their handmade pieces will ensure your happiness with the finished product. Prices here are very affordable, and their shipping and return policies are also very flexible, making them a worry-free option if you decide to go the eco-friendly ring route.
Turtle Love’s hand-carved Tree of Life ring, below, can be cast in your choice of metal and responsibly sourced stone – pick from Amethyst, Garnet, Peridot or White Topaz.
Today, I Do Now I Don’t has grown from a simple website into a major luxury e-tail site, expanding its goods from only engagement rings to now include estate jewellery and watches. The site has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN and more, and Opperman promises it will always remain a “green retailer” – a critical component for its customers.
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