What To Consider, Where To Shop, & What To Wear When You Want A Perfect (And Perfectly Ethical) Engagement Ring
Despite its shining exterior, the wedding jewelry industry has never been a very pretty business. Thanks to consumers’ growing awareness of the environmental and humanitarian impacts of mining/refining practices (and Millenials’ ascendance as the most influential segment of jewelry buyers), sustainable and eco-friendly jewelry is gaining greater market share every day. This trend has the potential to reshape economies and communities previously traumatized by predatory practices and, due to its global reach, really has the potential to do a world of good.
That’s why, these days, if you like it you should put an (ethical) engagement ring on it! The future of wedding jewelry is definitely socially and environmentally conscious, with more couples than ever considering ethical engagement rings and eco-friendly jewelry for their weddings. What’s more, sustainable jewelry design — including the use of lab-grown diamonds, fairmined gold, and traceable and recycled gemstones — is one of the driving forces currently reshaping the jewelry industry. As a result, alternative engagement rings, boho engagement rings, and other unique engagement rings are more desirable than ever before.
An ethical engagement ring is a must-have for socially- and globally-conscious brides-to-be. Fortunately, there is a broad range of stunning options that are every bit as intentional and unique as she is (and you are). Many independent jewelers and small jewelry companies now use ethically-sourced or recycled gold, as well as ethical and environmental gemstones and setting practices. Many brands even give back through community and environmental projects, so your purchase can be both a step in the right direction for your relationship as well as one for the future of the planet.
Related post: How to Shop for Ethical Fine Jewelry: The Ultimate Guide
Why Buy (& Wear) An Ethical Engagement Ring?
Because ethical jewelry is made of sustainable and eco-friendly materials, pieces are often created in small- or micro-batches, handmade, or completely custom and one-of-a-kind. For example, every unique engagement ring available here at Valley Rose Studio is handmade-to-order using 100% ethical, sustainable, and conflict-free materials. Our promise to design only eco-friendly jewelry empowers us to create objects of lasting value that cause minimal environmental impact. Likewise, every jeweler and boutique on this list demonstrates their commitment to creating sustainable jewelry in every piece they make.
Consequently, ethical jewelry (and ethical engagement rings in particular) tends to be jewelry you look and feel amazing about wearing. A popular kind of alternative engagement ring, ethical jewelry is the perfect way to be on-trend (handmade, multi-stone, pear-shaped, and antique-styled pieces are so in right now). What's more, it also respects the planet and all the people involved in mining /refining the materials, as well as honoring your globally-conscious spirit. Wearing an ethical engagement ring is a little gesture that makes a big statement and a bigger difference. Keep reading to find out more about the best ethical engagement rings available right now!
The Most Ethical Engagement Rings
1. Grai by TER
Our friend Jayne, of TER, strives for quality over quantity and sources conflict free diamonds for her bridal line. She’s a fellow gem gambler, so to speak, and cultivates a unique “rebel set” style. As a result, Grai is a distinctly alternative engagement ring. This salt and pepper diamond ring is 100% modern, elegant, and conflict-free. Aligning with several up-and-coming trends (including the use of yellow gold for the wedding band, multiple stones, and colored stones), this ring is perfect for the socially- and globally-conscious bride-to-be who wants to prove that you don’t have to sacrifice ethics to be stylish (or vice versa).
By using only UN Kimberley Process certified rough diamonds and recycled gold, TER ensures that the mining and refining process associated with their wedding jewelry are responsible. Additionally, because they start with imperfect rough stones, they’re able to use the byproducts and usually-discarded remnants of the diamond industry, meaning that they contribute even less to less than eco-friendly mining.
2. Macle Rough Diamond Ring by Variance Objects
Unlike most wedding jewelry, this unique engagement ring features a rough diamond specially cut to maximize the natural beauty of the stone. We love the raw mix metal look of Variance’s entire wedding jewelry collection because it highlights the natural beauty of the materials. What’s more, all the gems are hand cut by Nicole’s team so they certainly meet our own high ethical labor standards.
As a boho engagement ring, this specific piece departs from the traditional focus on high-shine, brilliant design by incorporating a mix of precious metals for the setting that’s designed to darken and gain polish with wear. The gold in this mixture is recycled, and all included diamonds are sourced from conflict-free suppliers or recycled. That means whoever buys this ready-to-wear piece can feel confident that their alternative engagement ring comes to them as a blank slate. Moreover, customers can also feel satisfied that Variance Objects’ wedding jewelry — just like their customers’ relationships — will become more beautiful as time goes by.
3. Satellite Diamond Slice Ring by Gardens of the Sun
This striking boho engagement ring promises to be both a one-of-a-kind and guilt-free purchase. Designer Meri’s background in environmental protection ensures all the materials used at Gardens of the Sun are environmentally sound and this specific ring is no different. All its composite parts and materials are 100% ethically sourced, including gemstones purchased at above-market prices from artisanal indigenous women miners.
What’s more, Gardens of the Sun gives back to its suppliers by supporting humanitarian and ecological projects in their communities, including working to reforest ecological sites traumatized by mining. They work exclusively with traceable diamonds and without the use of mercury in the refining process. Like all of the wedding jewelry featured on their site, this Satellite Diamond Slice Ring adheres to high ethical standards, honors the people and places the materials come from, and evokes the very landscapes the materials honor. Consequently, it’s as beautiful and unusual as it is sustainable, making it the perfect eco-friendly jewelry choice for anyone who wants an alternative engagement ring.
4. Infinite Love Engagement Ring by Sirciam
Featuring an ethically sourced diamond set in neutral rose gold, this ethical engagement ring combines new priorities with classic styling. Given the use of rose gold as its setting and the inclusion of small inlaid stones in the band, this piece is a quietly alternative engagement ring, or a unique, minimalist boho engagement ring, as it makes a subtle departure from strictly traditional wedding jewelry design.
This unique engagement ring, like all of Sirciam’s wedding jewelry, uses Kimberley Process certified diamonds, guaranteeing that they are conflict-free and that the suppliers mining them take active steps to prevent the flow of blood diamonds into the market. This process contributes to individual customers’ confidence in their wedding jewelry purchases as well as improved conditions throughout the diamond industry.
5. Helena Solitaire Set by Young In The Mountains
This stunning alternative engagement ring set features two stacking rings — aligning with one of the most significant (and growing) trends in wedding jewelry today. The first ring is a classic solitaire engagement ring and the other a vividly colored, art-deco inspired boho wedding band. Both pieces feature recycled gold and conflict-free diamonds.
Young In The Mountains also sources all of their inlay materials (in this case, the chrysocolla) in the raw from the American southwest, where they (and their customers) can feel confident that the miners and mining practices are safe and responsible. These American-mined inlay materials are stars of the unique engagement ring bridal stacks. Consequently, this engagement ring makes one of the loudest fashion statements of any ethical engagement ring on our list, and it makes one of the most emphatic ethical statements as well.
6. 1.15ct Round Salt And Pepper Diamond Evergreen Solitaire In 14k Yellow Gold by Anueva Jewelry
Featuring an ethically-sourced, treatment-free diamond, this unique engagement ring is equal parts unusual and classic. Moreover, it’s also equal parts new-priorities and old fashions. Like all of Anueva’s wedding jewelry, this piece features a recycled or repurposed vintage stone. This means that the salt and pepper diamond was naturally grown, then mined, processed, and previously set in jewelry. Rustic diamonds like this are an inherently ethical choice as they are lower in demand. At Anueva, the diamond gained new life as part of a new setting created with eco-friendly jewelry making processes.
This ethical engagement ring really leans into the current trend towards antique- and vintage-inspired wedding jewelry design, making it an alternative engagement ring with distinctly classic style. We love the textured band and modern setting that make this an alternative engagement ring perfect for nature girls. It also capitalizes on the fact that repurposing stones is one of the most sustainable sourcing practices available to contemporary jewelers.
7. Supreme Star Radiance Ring by Communion by Joy
Beaming with good vibes, Communion by Joy’s founder Joy Smith’s divine sculptures are perfect for spiritual boho brides. Handcrafted and made-to-order, this unique engagement ring is made from ethically-sourced materials, using an environmentally-friendly wax carving process to create the boho-inspired designs. Also available in an uncommon rose-gold setting and featuring non-traditional gemstones, customers can order this ethical engagement ring as a classic diamond solitaire or an alternative engagement ring featuring an opal or pink sapphire.
Joy, the creative mind behind every unique engagement ring design, maintains careful knowledge of the origins of the stones in her wedding jewelry. That way, her customers can feel confident that any unique engagement ring they purchase from the Communion line carries zero ethical or spiritual baggage. This suits Communion’s buyers as much as it suits the line’s characteristic light, airy, organically inspired designs.
8. One of a Kind Kite-Shaped Step-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring by Alexis Russell
This unique engagement ring is ethically and fashionably on-point. Like all of the wedding jewelry Alexis Russell creates, this one-of-a-kind piece features modern lines and unique diamond cuts that make her designs forever classics. All of her rings also incorporate ethically-sourced, natural diamonds cut and set to enhance the rare beauty of the stone. Modern and unusual without being overly wild, the kite-shape and champagne color of the diamond, as well as the yellow gold setting, epitomize some of the biggest upcoming trends in wedding jewelry design.
What’s more, with additional stacking wedding band options available to complement the geometric design, this piece (and the entire set) is perfect for anyone who wants a slightly alternative engagement ring and wedding jewelry to complement their socially-conscious lifestyle. Moreover, customers wanting similar stones with different styling can easily commission a custom ethical engagement ring.
9. Deco Hex Diamond Ring / yellow gold by Sarah Swell
This unique engagement ring by Sarah Swell features both a conflict-free diamond and a recycled gold setting. The design of this piece lends itself well to minimalist and boho-inspired styles, as its gray rose-cut diamond and satin yellow gold band are a non-intrusive departure from traditional high-shine, clear, round-cut wedding jewelry styling. What’s more, the rose-cut shape of the diamond, while subtle, is trend-setting. That’s because this antique shape/cut is making a comeback as a key part of vintage-inspired boho engagement ring design. This ring is perfect for anyone who rocks a minimalist, classic kind of look while still being intentional and passionate about their ethical expectations for their wedding jewelry.
10. Vela Conflict-Free Diamond Engagement Ring by Valley Rose Studio
As far as eco-friendly jewelry goes, it’s hard to beat the ethical standards here at Valley Rose Studio. Featuring industry-leading conflict-free, sustainable, and ethically-sourced white diamonds and 100% fairmined gold, this ethical engagement ring manages to incorporate elements of minimalist, traditional, and decidedly alternative engagement ring designs. Its stylistic components include a rustic-modern setting and satin finish, so its aesthetic is something chic/luxe meets nature.
Appealing to both classic and contemporary trends, this ring is customizable, with recycled rose gold upon request. Customers are empowered to tweak the components of this unique engagement ring’s design to fit their minimalist, traditional, or boho engagement ring style desires. Additionally, all wedding jewelry purchases from Valley Rose Studio fund reforestation efforts (planting one tree per purchase), ensuring that everything in the catalog is categorically, unarguably eco-friendly jewelry through both passive and proactive means.
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Given all these current issues it can be very confusing (and stressful) to sort through and shop for a responsibly & ethically sourced engagement ring or wedding band. There is a lot of terminology out there but I’m here to let you know which materials to look for that will actually make a difference in ensuring your forever symbol of love is truly “conflict-free” “ethical” and “eco-friendly”.
Print and download this handy 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.
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.