I’ve got a roundup of 14 fair trade, ethically sourced, and socially responsible engagement rings for y’all today. You know I love weddings (who doesn’t love celebrating love??), and with my recent commitment to fair trade fashion, I thought it very appropriate to do some research on ethical wedding jewelry. Many of these jewelers make other jewelry that is not necessarily wedding-specific, so it may also be useful if you’re searching for a special gift for a friend/family member.
Most folks have heard about “blood diamonds,” which are diamonds that are mined in a war zone and sold to fund war activities. Following the release of several blockbuster movies highlighting the controversy of blood diamonds in the early 2000s, public outcry caused many jewelers to begin offering “conflict-free” diamonds that are not mined or sold under such conditions. This is different than fair trade. A diamond might be conflict-free but still produced by someone who is not being paid minimum wage or by a company that has not been fair trade-certified, therefore making it a non-fair trade item. While “conflict-free” and “fair trade” are different classifications, they are both generally good things, so I will highlight jewelers engaging in both of these sourcing/manufacturing practices.
Aili Jewelry: Made in NYC using conflict-free diamonds and recycled metals from sustainable certified companies.
Bario Neal: Uses Fairmined certified gold, ethically sourced stones, and and reclaimed precious metals.
Blue Nile: I was actually a little surprised to learn that this jewelry giant exclusively offers conflict-free diamonds and has guidelines in place for responsible metal sourcing. Good to know!
Brilliant Earth: Offers “Beyond Conflict-Free” diamonds and uses recycled metals in all of their jewelry. Also has a collection of Fairmined certified gold jewelry as well as fair trade gold jewelry. They also give back to the community by providing education about social and environmental issues affecting the jewelry industry and donating 5% of their profits to communities that have suffered as a result of the jewelry industry.
Colombia Gem House: This business rates each of their gems on a 5-level scale based on fair trade and ethical sourcing criteria. Want a strictly fair trade gem? Just look for the “Level 1” indicator in the gem’s description. I absolutely love the transparency!
Elephant Gems: Sells loose gemstones. Works directly with gemstone sources to ensure ethical labor practices and minimal environmental impact.
James Allen: Offers certified conflict-free diamonds!
Leber Jeweler Inc.: Their Earthwise Jewelry collection features conflict-free diamonds and fair trade colored gemstones in addition to recycled precious metals.
Melissa Joy Manning: All diamonds are certified conflict-free and many of their other stones and raw materials are sourced domestically. The company also utilizes recycled sterling silver and gold.
Stone & Strand: Makes their own diamonds right here in the USA!
Trumpet & Horn: This company sells vintage engagement rings that were sourced prior to the period of conflict mining, meaning they are conflict-free. Going vintage rather than buying a brand new ring is also eco-friendly!
Are y’all loving any of these jewels? I really like the concept behind Colombia Gem House’s rating system, but am head over heels over Catbird’s designs!