What is an ethical engagement ring?

June 21, 2023

What is an ethical engagement ring? By Valley Rose


Choosing an engagement ring is a significant decision, and in today's world, it's essential to consider the ethical and environmental aspects of fine jewelry. With increasing awareness of the need for sustainability, more people are seeking engagement rings that align with their values. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key elements of ethical engagement rings and provide you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

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Section 1: Understanding Ethical Engagement Rings

What is an Ethical Engagement Ring?

An ethical engagement ring is one that is created with a focus on minimizing harm to the environment and ensuring fair treatment of everyone involved in the supply chain. It goes beyond just the materials used and encompasses the entire production process, from mining to manufacturing.

dark side of mining ethical engagement ring alternatives

The Dark Side of Diamond Mining

The diamond industry has long been associated with unethical practices, including human rights abuses, environmental damage, and the financing of armed conflicts. The history of diamond mining is marred by stories of exploitation and suffering, with diamonds being sourced from conflict zones or areas where workers are subjected to unsafe conditions and unsustainable wages.

Conflict-Free Diamonds: A Corrupt System

While the term "conflict-free diamonds" may seem reassuring, it's important to note that the certification process for these diamonds, such as the Kimberly Process, is flawed. The Kimberly Process was established to prevent the trade of diamonds that finance armed conflicts, but it has been criticized for its lack of transparency and accountability. The certification does not guarantee ethical practices throughout the entire supply chain.

lab grown diamonds the ethical diamond option

The Rise of Lab-Grown Diamonds

Lab-grown diamonds have emerged as a sustainable and ethical alternative to mined diamonds. These diamonds are created in a laboratory using advanced technology that replicates the natural diamond-growing process. They have the same physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds but are free from the ethical concerns associated with traditional diamond mining. It's important to know they they do not come without their drawbacks and some are better than others. Lab diamonds are not zero impact and the energy used to make the diamond and the labor for cutting and polishing should also be considered.

Section 2: Elements of Ethical Engagement Rings

ethical colored gemstone choices for ethical engagement rings

Ethically Sourced Gemstones

In addition to diamonds, gemstones like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are popular choices for engagement rings. Ethical gemstones are ones sourced direct from miners that prioritize fair labor practices, safe working conditions, and low environmental impact. Look for artisanal mining organizations with assured traceability, which ensure that the gemstones are responsibly sourced.

Recycled Gemstones

Recycled diamond and gemstones are a very popular option for fine jewelry. Like every option they have their benefits and drawbacks. In general these recycled stones repurposed into new jewelry do present a great ethical option. With gemstones from heirloom and antique pieces being the best as they can be made into more modern designs to suit the tastes and styles of today. These antique gems can be very hard to find and often need repolishing to return them to their proper luster. The drawbacks to recycled second hand gems come from a lack of transparency at origin. We have no way of knowing the conditions of how they diamond was mined at originally and if the diamond is less that 50 years old there is a high chance of damage associated with it. 

fairmined gold the ethical standard

Sustainable Metals: Choosing Fairmined Gold

While diamonds and gemstones often take center stage in engagement rings, the choice of metal is equally important. Gold mining can have devastating effects on the environment and local communities. Instead of opting for recycled gold, which is not traceable and contains high amounts of newly mined gold due to loopholes, consider choosing Fairmined gold. Fairmined gold is mined with minimal environmental impact and ensures fair wages and safe working conditions for miners.

The Importance of Transparent Supply Chains

When purchasing an ethical engagement ring, it's crucial to consider the transparency of the supply chain. A transparent supply chain allows you to trace the journey of the materials and ensures that they have been ethically sourced. Look for jewelers who provide information about their suppliers and certifications that verify the ethical and sustainable practices of their materials.

Section 3: Shopping for Ethical Engagement Rings Online

Researching Ethical Jewelers

When shopping for an ethical engagement ring online, it's important to research and choose reputable jewelers who prioritize ethical and sustainable practices. Look for jewelers who offer detailed information about their sourcing, certifications, and manufacturing processes. Read customer reviews and testimonials to gauge their commitment to ethical practices.

custom ethical engagement rings

Customization and Personalization

One of the advantages of shopping for an engagement ring online is the ability to customize and personalize your ring. Many ethical jewelers offer customization options, allowing you to choose the type of stone, metal, and design that aligns with your values and personal style. Working with a jeweler who understands your preferences ensures that you create a ring that reflects not only your unique style but your values too.

Pricing and Budget Considerations

Ethical engagement rings can vary in price depending on factors such as the type of stone, metal, and craftsmanship involved. It's important to set a budget and communicate your preferences to the jeweler. Discussing your budget and priorities will help the jeweler guide you towards options that meet your needs without compromising on quality or design.

Section 4: The Future of Ethical and Sustainable Jewelry

The Role of Consumer Demand

As consumers become more conscious of the impact of their purchasing decisions, the demand for ethical and sustainable jewelry continues to grow. By choosing ethical engagement rings, consumers send a powerful message to the industry that ethical practices are essential. The increasing demand for sustainable jewelry encourages jewelers to adopt more responsible practices and drives positive change throughout the supply chain.

ethical 3 stone engagement ring

The Importance of Education and Awareness

Education and awareness play a crucial role in promoting ethical and sustainable jewelry practices. Often times sourcing materials is very nuanced and it is never black or white. In the case of gemstones the conditions vary greatly for each gem type. It is important to not make any assumptions like "only lab diamonds" or "all mined gemstones are bad" because each option has both benefits and limitations.

By understanding the issues surrounding traditional diamond mining, lab-grown diamonds and precious gemstones, consumers can make informed choices. Jewelers and industry organizations also have a responsibility to educate consumers about ethical options and provide transparent information about their products.

Collaboration and Industry Standards

Creating a more ethical and sustainable jewelry industry requires collaboration and the establishment of industry-wide standards. Jewelers, suppliers, and industry organizations need to work together to develop and implement ethical sourcing guidelines, certifications, and transparent supply chains. By setting standards and holding each other accountable, the industry can ensure that ethical practices become the norm rather than the exception.

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Choosing an ethical engagement ring is a meaningful way to celebrate your love while making a positive impact on the world. By opting for diamonds, gemstones, and metals that are ethically sourced and supporting jewelers who prioritize sustainability, you can contribute to a more responsible jewelry industry. Remember to research and choose reputable jewelers, ask questions about the origin of materials, and prioritize transparency in the supply chain. With the increasing availability of ethical options, there has never been a better time to find the perfect engagement ring that aligns with your values and tells a story of love and responsibility.

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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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