For a long time, wearing a family heirloom or shopping secondhand were the only options available to most people in search of sustainable engagement rings.
Lately, though, fine jewelry brands have been changing the proposal game, utilizing everything from recycled metals to ethically sourced stones to lab-created diamonds (or LCDs—not to be confused with CZs, also known as cubic zirconias). These diamonds are brilliant. I mean that both literally and in the sense that because they’re created in an environment that replicates the conditions of mined ones—just at an accelerated rate—they have less of an environmental impact and often a more affordable price tag.
“We no longer need to dig pits into the earth so large that some can be seen from space nor suck the seabed floor with giant vacuums to obtain diamonds.”
The technology is so good, in fact, that it’s started to shift mindsets (and standards) in the jewelry industry. “The Federal Trade Commission recently ruled that lab grown diamonds are real diamonds and can no longer be called ‘synthetic,’ nor can mined diamonds be referred to as ‘natural’,” says Alexander Weindling, founder and chief operating officer of the ethical jewelry brand, Clean Origin, which uses LCDs to create classic engagement rings at a fraction of the cost you’d typically pay for similar styles. “We no longer need to dig pits into the earth so large that some can be seen from space nor suck the seabed floor with giant vacuums to obtain diamonds.”
Instead, designers like Vanessa Stofenmacher, founder and creative director of Vrai & Oro, a jewelry line out of downtown Los Angeles, are growing their own using solar power. Others, like Chelsea Nicholson and Jess Hannah Revesz, co-founders of the direct-to-consumer fine jewelry line, Ceremony, rely on recycled stones to create sustainable sparklers that are big on wow factor and small on carbon footprint, which is a step in the right direction.
If you’re in the market for an ethical engagement ring, scroll down to see 10 sustainable show-stoppers.
Here’s how to tell what jewelry you should and shouldn’t work out in. Plus, a round-up of solid-gold pieces that are fine AF and under $100.
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