How to Shop for Ethical Wedding & Engagement Rings
Wedding and Engagement rings can be some of the most significant purchases a couple will make. Emotionally charged and a financial investment, their impact reaches well beyond our borders as their materials are mined abroad. Read on for our guide to sourcing an ethical wedding and engagement rings.
ETHICALLY PRODUCED STONES
Diamonds: Fair humanitarian mining practices and conditions are used, as well as helping to improve the livelihoods of miners in a number of mines across Canada, Russia and Africa.
Opals: There are mines in Jaipur, India where workers source close to the surface, thereby having low, environmental impact. Australia also has beautiful, fire opals and use ethical practices.
Emeralds: These are sourced from South African mines and the welfare and conditions of workers is observed.
Rubies: These are sourced from Tanzania and a variety of measures are taken to care for the workers.
Sapphires and Aquamarine: A lot is done to protect the environmental impact of mining and to care for workers in Sri Lanka, where businesses are usually family-owned and small. Child labour is illegal.
The key factor is to look for traceable and responsibly-mined precious metals like Fairtrade metals, Fair-mined metals or 100% recycled metals. Both Fairtrade or Fair-mined metals actively support the artisanal, small- scale mining sector and can be traced to their original source. In addition, workers are treated well and paid fairly.
The good news is that ethical mining for gemstones or metal, is increasing globally, giving you a much wider choice. Another option may be to consider pre-loved or vintage rings. Often very beautiful and perhaps of sentimental value, these could fill your brief exactly.
ENGAGEMENT RINGS BY AMANDA LI HOPE
We love the work of jeweller Amanda Li Hope, who creates clean, precise and compelling handcrafted fine jewellery. One of the first Fairtrade and Fairmined Gold licensees, she combines her ethical values with her background as an architect; responsibly sourced materials, proportion, meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship define each piece of her jewellery.
Amanda works with certified Fairtrade Gold, a scheme that ensures its miners are receiving a fair price for their gold as well as reducing, if not completely eliminating, the use of toxic chemicals in the extraction process. She also chooses to formulate and melt gold too, because she can source 100% recycled metals to add into the gold to create the various carats (9k, 14, 18k, 22k) and colours (yellow, rose, white, etc). As long as there is gold in the ground, people are going to mine for it - fortunately couples have the purchasing power to make a positive difference.
Commissioning an independent jeweller, like Amanda Li Hope, who not only designs but makes your piece, supports a small business but also allows you to get fully involved in the decision making process and get exactly what you want. A 'win-win' for all parties involved!