Top Tips for Buying an Ethical Engagement Ring
Now you’re engaged it’s time to find the perfect ring. However, you may have heard that while gemstones look beautiful, they don’t always come from a beautiful place. When you buy gemstones, including diamonds and rubies, you risk buying a product that has come from a conflict zone. Gemstones may also be harvested in a way that’s harmful to the environment. Read on to learn how to ensure that your engagement ring uses ethical stones.
What is a Conflict Diamond or Conflict Gemstone?
A conflict diamond – you may have heard the term “blood diamond” – is a rough diamond used by rebel movements in areas of conflict. These rebel groups use diamonds to finance movements against legitimate governments. The problem was much more widespread during the 1990s. Thanks to the United Nations ‘Kimberley Process Certification Scheme’, it has been largely curbed.
How to Make Sure Your Diamond is Conflict Free
Although your risk of buying a conflict diamond is now low, you should still be careful about where you buy your engagement ring. Any reputable jeweler will be able to certify the origin of their diamonds, and some will even go the extra mile. In Houston, engagement rings at Whiteflash are not only made with conflict free diamonds, but the company goes out of its way to show their commitment. Their ‘Dreams of Africa’ range puts all its profits towards helping families in communities affected by conflict diamonds.
What About Colored Gemstones?
Colored gemstones such as sapphires are rarer, and therefore more valuable than diamonds. The mining of colored gemstones is largely unregulated. It’s difficult to know whether you’re buying an ethical stone. There are labor concerns with gemstone mining, concerning child labor and safety conditions. In addition, colored gemstone mining supports the military regime in Myanmar (Burma). Gemstone mining communities in other countries very often live in poverty, missing out on the wealth that comes from selling the cut gems. When buying an engagement ring with a colored gemstone, ask about the origins of the stone. You can find out whether it is sourced in accordance with fair trade practices.
Environmentally Friendly Gemstones
And what about the environment? As it’s so difficult to track the process of your gemstone from the mine to your finger, learning about the mine it came from is hard. Although smaller mines might have less impact on the environment, you often can’t know for sure. One way to make sure your stone has little impact on the environment is to buy an artificial stone. This also eliminates most other ethical issues. Although you still need to mine the raw materials to create these stones, the environmental impact isn’t as big. To avoid the issue of mining altogether, consider an antique ring.
Making sure your engagement ring is completely ethical could be a lot of work. Luckily there are ethical companies who do all the checks for you. The whole process is worth it for peace of mind and the perfect ring.