Is your soon-to-be fiancé eco-chic? As you’re getting ready to pop the question and thinking forward to your green wedding, don’t overlook the importance of a green engagement ring.
Unethical treatment of workers is a big problem in diamond mining, as is conflict diamonds (also called “blood diamonds” and “war diamonds”), so it’s important to know where the diamonds in your jewelry come from. Mining metals and gold in particular is also extremely hard on the environment. Enter Brilliant Earth.
A Diamond Worth Dying For
The San Fransicso-based jeweler uses only ethically sourced Canadian and Namibian diamonds, so you can rest easy knowing that the diamonds aren’t sold to fund wars and workers aren’t mistreated. Plus, the companies they source from adhere to strict environmental standards. But Brilliant Earth doesn’t restrict their eco and ethical policies exclusively to diamonds.
Gold Jewelry That’s Green
Their rings and other jewelry are made with recycled platinum and gold, which is good news when you consider gold mining’s devastating effect on the environment.
Some mines store tailings—highly acidic toxic waste—in dammed reservoirs that can leak, and sometimes they dump these tailings right into a nearby river, lake or ocean. The cyanide used to extract gold from ore is highly toxic and kills nearby fish and wildlife. Mercury and other heavy metals are also byproducts of gold mining. Then there’s the smelting process. Despite advances in technology, smelting remains a huge air polluter, with emissions including lead, large particulates that contribute to smog, and acid rain-producing sulfur and nitrogen oxides (nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas).
Vintage Jewelry Takes the Title
Think one little ring isn’t such a big deal? According to Brilliant Earth, it takes about 20 tons of ore to produce enough gold for one wedding ring. So a recycled gold (or platinum) ring is about as environmentally friendly as it can get when it comes to new rings. (Vintage and second-hand rings are the best option, so long as the jeweler resizing the ring uses recycled metals.)
In addition to Brilliant Earth’s diamonds and metals, their emeralds, sapphires and pearls are also ethically sourced. They purchase their pearls from a pearl farm in the Sea of Cortez owned and operated by marine biologists dedicated to preserving the rare species of oyster that produces these pearls.
So walk past that chain-store jeweler and head to Brilliant Earth’s website (or make an appointment at their San Francisco location) to choose the perfect ring. Your fiancé will love it, and the environment will breathe a little easier.
By Naturally Savvy on 03.27.09