Custom Ethical & Sustainable Engagement Ring Design Guide

June 15, 2023

Custom Ethical & Sustainable Engagement Ring Design Guide

Why Choose a Custom Ethical Engagement Ring?

When shopping for an ethical engagement ring, the rush of excitement can often be short-lived and quickly replaced with the confusion and frustration of hunting down ethical yet appealing options. Settling should never be an option, but especially in terms of meaningful and longly anticipated engagement rings. For this very reason, we are proud and eager to announce our new custom and ethical engagement ring design service!

When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, you want something that not only symbolizes your love and commitment but also aligns with your values. That's where custom ethical engagement rings come in. These rings are not only beautifully crafted but also made with low-impact and ethically sourced materials. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the importance of custom ethical engagement rings and provide you with all the information you need to design your own unique piece.

Best Ethical Engagement Rings

What really makes the best ethical engagement ring? Custom ethical engagement rings are the best option because they are handmade with the exact design details you desire using responsibly sourced materials that do good for people and planet. 

The Environmental Impact of Traditional Mining

Traditional mass mining practices for precious gemstones and metals have significant environmental consequences. Large-scale mining operations and illicit artisanal mining often lead to deforestation, habitat destruction, air and water pollution, and the displacement of local communities. The extraction of diamonds, for example, requires the displacement of hundreds of tons of earth per carat. This process results in greenhouse gas emissions, water contamination, and biodiversity loss.

Furthermore, mining operations can be dangerous for workers, with high mortality rates and significant health risks due to exposure to toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury. The diamond and precious metal industries have also been linked to violent conflicts and human rights abuses in certain regions.

The Importance of Ethical Sourcing

By choosing a custom ethical engagement ring, you are making a conscious decision to support responsible practices. Ethical sourcing ensures that the materials used in the ring, such as gold, diamonds and gemstones, are obtained in a way that minimizes harm to the environment and respects the rights and well-being of workers.

Designing Your Custom Ethical Engagement Ring

Now that you understand the importance of custom ethical engagement rings, let's delve into the process of designing your own unique piece.

Step 1: Define Your Design Concept

The first step in designing your custom ethical engagement ring is to define your design concept. Consider the style, shape, and overall aesthetic you envision for your ring. Do you prefer a classic and timeless design, or are you drawn to more contemporary and unique styles? Take some time to gather inspiration from various sources such as magazines, websites, and social media platforms.

Valley Rose designer and founder Brittany Groshong offers complimentaryzoom, email or phone consultations to discuss your engagement ring project no matter where you are at in the ring shopping process. In our Initial meeting we will go over estimated budget, design ideas and recommendations for what we can achieve so that you are sure to get the engagement ring of your dreams. Email us to learn more. 

Step 2: Set Your Budget

Next, it's important to establish a budget for your custom engagement ring. Decide on a realistic spending range that aligns with your financial situation. Keep in mind that ethical and sustainable materials may come at a slightly higher price due to the additional care and responsibility involved in their sourcing. However, investing in a custom ethical engagement ring is not only a symbol of love but also a commitment to the greater good.

Step 3: Research Ethical Material Options

One of the key elements of a custom ethical engagement ring is the use of eco-friendly and ethically sourced materials. There are several options to consider:

Recycled Metals

Recycled metals, such as recycled gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, are not an ethical choice. These metals are obtained by melting down gold, and recasting it but often times it is just newly mined illicit gold due to many loopholes in the definition of recycled metals. Recycling metals holds no weight when it comes to making a positive impact. Furthermore it does not decrease the need for newly mined gold which creates a bigger issue in the long run. 

Fairmined Gold

Fairmined gold is premium ethical choice for engagement rings. It is sourced from responsible artisanal and small-scale mining operations that adhere to strict social and environmental standards. Fairmined gold ensures that miners receive fair wages, work in safe conditions, and practice responsible mining techniques.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds are an ethical alternative to mined diamonds. These diamonds are created in a laboratory using advanced technology that replicates the natural diamond-growing process. Lab-grown diamonds have the same physical and chemical properties as natural diamonds but are produced without some of the environmental and social impact of traditional mining. Not all lab diamonds are created equal and some lab grown companies prioritize sustainability and responsible production methods more than others. Our favorite is AETHER Air Lab diamonds made from sequestered carbon pollution. 

Ethical Gemstones

When it comes to gemstones, look for ethical options such as sapphires and rustic diamonds sourced direct with known provenance from small-scale artisanal mines. These mines often have low environmental impact and prioritize fair wages and safe working conditions for their workers. Alternatively, consider certified recycled gemstones or gemstones from certified Canadian sources.

Recycled Gemstones

Recycled diamonds and gemstones present a lower impact than newly mined ones but they are more of a neutral solution. It is important to know they still are untraceable and don't decrease the demand for newly mined gemstones. We do recommend however repurposing heirloom diamonds and gems before investing in any new stones.

Canadian Diamonds

Certified Canadian diamonds come from mines that have strict ethical and safety regulations for the the mining, cutting labor and environment. These diamonds are conflict-free but are not zero impact because they still require disturbing habitats. Canadian diamonds are the best option however for newly mined pure white diamonds. 

Step 4: Find a Trusted Jeweler

To bring your custom ethical engagement ring to life, it's essential to find a trusted jeweler who specializes in ethical and sustainable practices. Research jewelers in your area or online who have a reputation for sourcing ethical materials and creating high-quality custom designs. Look for certifications or affiliations with organizations that promote ethical practices in the jewelry industry.

Custom Ethical engagement ring design

Step 5: Collaborate with the Jeweler

Once you have chosen a jeweler, schedule a consultation to discuss your design ideas, budget, and timeline. During this collaborative process, the jeweler will work closely with you to bring your vision to life. They will provide expert guidance and advice on design elements, material choices, and technical considerations.

custom ethical engagement ring rendering

Step 6: Review Design Mockups

After your initial consultation, the jeweler will create design mockups or renderings of your custom engagement ring. These visual representations will give you a clear idea of how the final piece will look. Take the time to review and provide feedback on the design, making any necessary adjustments or refinements. 

custom ethical engagement ring diamond, sapphire, ruby

Step 7: Choose Your Materials

Once the design is finalized, it's time to select the specific materials for your engagement ring. Work with your jeweler to choose the type of metal, gemstones, and any additional embellishments you desire. Consider the origin, certification, and sustainability aspects of each material to ensure they align with your values.

custom ethical engagement ring virtual try on

Step 8: Production and Finalization

With the design and materials selected, the jeweler will proceed with the production of your custom engagement ring. This process involves creating a wax model, casting the metal, setting the gemstones, and meticulously finishing the piece. Throughout the production phase, the jeweler will provide updates and may share photos or videos of the progress.

custom ethical engagement ring prototype try on

Step 9: Inspection and Approval

Once the ring is complete, the jeweler will conduct a thorough inspection to ensure its quality and craftsmanship. They will share images of the finished piece for your final approval. Take the time to carefully examine the ring and make sure it meets your expectations in terms of design, materials, and overall aesthetic.

custom ethical engagement ring conflict-free diamond eco-friendly fairmined gold

custom ethical engagement ring on hand, oval cut conflict free diamond halo setting

Step 10: Delivery and Beyond

After your custom engagement ring has been approved, it will be carefully packaged and delivered to you. Celebrate this special moment and cherish your unique piece of jewelry. Remember to follow the jeweler's care instructions to keep your ring looking its best for years to come.


custom ethical engagement ring design service

Designing a custom ethical engagement ring allows you to express your love and commitment while making a positive impact on the world. By choosing ethically sourced materials, you can create a unique piece of jewelry that reflects your values and supports responsible practices in the fine jewelry industry. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to design your own custom ethical engagement ring and embark on a journey that combines love, beauty, and sustainability. 

Book your Custom Ethical Engagement Ring Consultation with us today!


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Sizing & Care

Ring Sizing Guide

Print and download this chart to find your ring size. Make sure you use exactly 8.5"x11" letter paper. You can use a string or a piece of paper and wrap around your finger or nuckle to measure the circumference and match to your size.

Brilliant Earth Ring Sizing Guide ↠


Necklace Sizing Guide

Follow this chart to see where the necklace will fall. All necklace sizes are described on the product pages. We suggest getting a piece of string and measuring necklace on your neck to ensure best fit. 


Special Care Instructions

To keep your jewels looking their best please keep these tips in mind to extend the life of your pieces. 

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