Environmentally friendly, green, sustainable. All are words or phrases that aren’t generally associated with engagement rings.
Now, though, there is a very real push to come up with alternatives to the usual way of doing things.
Any ring that has come back to market without requiring a new diamond or band is the simplest form of recycling. Vintage and heirloom rings from specialists such as Estate Diamond Jewelry in New York can be some of the finest engagement rings available. As well as their exquisite beauty, they have a history of their own just waiting for someone to continue the memories. Many such engagement rings are absolutely unique, often with even no two diamonds being exactly the same cut.
When making engagement rings with recycled materials, this can mean many things. Simply resetting an old diamond or setting a new diamond atop a new band, for example. This reduces the amount of mining without reducing the number of diamonds available in the market. But there are other ways of having a recycled ring.
Many rings which are sold either back to jewelers or to other dealers are re-used, at least in part. But an increasing number of individual elements of the ring truly do go through the recycling process. The gemstones are either re-cut or simply set into different jewelry. The precious metals will reappear as brand new pieces altogether after their melting down.
By melting down gold or other metals, it means no mining has been necessary to make the ring. This also helps to reduce the exploitation of workers in the mines, as the demand for gold and other metals lessens.
Precious metals and gemstones almost always involve mining. Unfortunately, mining isn’t always a well-paid or well-regulated industry. So, instead, there is a growing movement of designers and makers who look elsewhere for their base materials.
One of the most popular of these alternative materials is wood. The solution is not to pay for a single ounce of wood that you use. Take a stroll through any forest or park, and there will be wood all around you that is available for free. All you have to do is carry it home. This is what wooden ring designers do. It’s free, apart from a little time investment, and has absolutely zero impact on the environment. Any inlays or other embellishments are also usually sourced from “throwaway” materials. Although about as far from being “traditional” as it gets, wooden engagement rings are just beautiful, and a certain talking point.
Stone is another readily available resource just lying around and waiting to become part of an engagement ring. It takes a little more work to produce the ring but, if you find a stone you like, you will soon find an artisan to work it for you.
Ethical Diamonds And Metals
The word ethical is often as a catch-all for a recognized attempt at preserving resources or encouraging the fair treatment of workers. With engagement rings, the term has long indicated that the ring does not use conflict diamonds.
The Kimberley Process regulates who can and can’t sell diamonds on the open market. This is to avoid them funding civil wars for either government or alleged rebels. Sadly, the process has proved difficult to enforce. However, most jewelers will insist on knowing the full provenance of all diamonds they buy, in a bid to reduce the number of conflict diamonds.
And so it is with the metals. Mining is hard work and usually pays very little. Most conscientious ring makers will try to source only from ethically-run mines. Because of the complexity often involved in bringing any natural resource to market, it is a very difficult exercise. That many jewelers and ring makers choose to do so is a testament to how things have changed in recent years.
Not environmentally friendly in the “green” sense, but a valid attempt to improve things in the diamond industry.
Your Eco-Friendly Wedding
There are now lots of providers for every part of your eco-wedding. If you think that some part of what you want surely won’t be available, think again. With the help of the internet, anything is possible. Websites like Our Organic Wedding have plenty of tips and guidance on where to start. Be brave, be bold, be different!