What is the most ethical engagement ring you can buy? This is an important question for many environmentally and socially conscious couples looking to get engaged today. Many are concerned about the impact that diamond mining has on people and natural resources. That’s why, in this article, we’ll define:
- What an ethical engagement ring means
- How to identify an ethical engagement ring
- What materials ethical rings are made of
- Real examples of ethical engagement rings
What is the most ethical engagement ring?
The most ethical engagement rings have been manufactured with the lowest possible impact on the environment. Additionally, no human rights have been violated during their mining, wholesale and manufacturing stages.
What does the word “ethical” mean?
The word ethical means something that “relates to moral principles”. In the context of engagement rings, this means that we should not just focus on how the making of an engagement ring benefits the customer.
We should also think about how the making of an engagement ring benefits the world, socially and environmentally speaking.
Why is an ethical engagement ring important?
We can all agree that an engagement ring should look beautiful. But is that enough for today’s ethically conscious consumer?
While more than 800,000 searches for “engagement rings” are typed into Google UK each month, more than 300,000 people actually search for “ethical engagement rings” – and this number is growing.
Therefore, it’s clear that more and more couples want an engagement ring that is not only pleasing to look at but that you can wear guilt-free, knowing it has been made without harming anyone or anything.
An ethical engagement ring benefits not only the customer but also the environment and other people
What to look for in an ethical engagement ring
1. Conflict-free diamonds
2. Sustainable lab grown diamonds
3. Clean gold
4. Second-hand rings
1. Conflict-free diamonds
When diamonds are sold to fund illegal operations by rebel, military or terrorist groups they are referred to as “conflict diamonds” or “blood diamonds”.
Their illegal sale results in innocent citizens, including children, being terrorised and killed by groups that control the local diamond trade in countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In the year 2000, South African countries with a legitimate diamond trade began a campaign against blood diamonds. In 2003 this unified move resulted in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) which is an international effort to rid the world of conflict diamonds.
The UK, the USA, all of the EU countries and about 40 other countries worldwide now apply the Kimberley Process. Reputable jewellers in these countries abide by it.
2. Lab grown diamonds
Lab grown diamonds are real diamonds. While some people mistake them for ‘fake diamonds’, they are, in fact, the genuine article.
The only difference is that they have not been mined. Instead, they have been grown in a high tech laboratory under conditions that mimic the natural diamond formation deep within the Earth’s mantel layer.
Lab grown diamonds are sustainable, or environmentally ethical, because they have not been extracted from the ground. Therefore, their production protects the environment instead of threatening it.
Additionally, lab grown diamonds will always be free of conflict because they do not come from mines. This means that they are also socially ethical.
3. Clean gold
“Dirty gold” means gold that originates from countries where little or no consideration is given to the environmental or social aspects of diamond mining.
Therefore, the term dirty gold refers to “primary sourced gold” – in other words, the points of production where the gold comes straight from the ground.
UK consumers will be happy to hear that the UK jewellery industry uses very little primary sourced gold; more than 80% of UK’s gold is recycled.
Where, very rarely, primary sourced gold is used, UK jewellery retailers that belong to the NAJ and abide by their Code of Ethics (more about this below) will only buy gold from mines with robust environmental and social regulations.
4. Second-hand rings
The fourth possibility you have for finding the most ethical engagement ring is to use a ring that you have inherited or bought second hand.
A vintage ring can look truly unique. Alternatively, if you’re not quite feeling the style of your heirloom piece, you can ask a jeweller to recycle the metal and the gems and design you a new ring from them.
A lab grown diamond in the rough
Where can you find ethical engagement rings?
If you’re buying a new diamond ring, you should make sure that you’re purchasing one with ethical materials as detailed above. To achieve this, the key is to shop at a jewellery store that is a member of the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) and abides by their Code of Ethics.
On the other hand, if you decide to go the ‘recycled ring’ route, you could hunt for a vintage ring in antique shops or buy a second-hand ring at a gold resale store or pawnbrokers.
Real examples of ethical engagement rings
#1 – A highly rated lab grown diamond engagement ring:
#2 – A best selling conflict-free diamond engagement ring:
Tips to find ethical engagement rings
- Check your jeweller abides by the NAJ Code of Ethics
- Consider mined diamonds only if they are conflict-free
- Shop for a lab grown diamond ring
- Consider buying or redesigning a second hand or antique ring
Conclusion – what is the most ethical engagement ring?
As you can see, there are a variety of options to ensure you find the most ethical engagement ring. The key takeaway is to ask yourself, and your jeweller, questions about the origin, selling and making of your ring.
The key questions are… Did anyone or anything get harmed during the making of my engagement ring? Did the making of my engagement ring benefit only me, or also the environment and other people?
If the honest answers to those questions let you rest easy at night, then you have found the most ethical engagement ring for you.
Shop ethical engagement rings
At The Diamond Store we are committed to selling only ethical conflict-free diamond engagement rings in accordance with the NAJ Code of Ethics and the Kimberley Process. Additionally, we offer a huge range of ethical lab grown diamond engagement rings. Click here to discover the perfect ethical engagement ring for you.