Hello, all. As I think I've mentioned before, my tactic toward planning my wedding in a fun and totally relaxed way is to focus on each item one by one. Because I'm still on the hunt for the perfect dress, I will admit that I am somewhat breaking my own rules by starting to look at rings—but, oh well. Finding an eco-friendly wedding ring seems to be among the top things you can do to make your wedding more sustainable, so I have begun looking into the options. Diamond mining has caused a number of negative social issues and violence. Though it seems that the international diamond-mining industry has improved these social situations, a number of environmental problems still surround the practice. Gold mining is heavily polluting, as well.
Fortunately, diamonds "are forever" and gold doesn't lose its shine with time, so it's incredibly easy to find recycled versions. We do not need to support these industries' production of more and more pollution and social problems when plenty of gold and diamonds are already in circulation on the global market. Additionally, a number of companies offer fair trade diamonds or those created in labs, so many less harmful options are available. (See resource listings below.)
I am lucky to have one element already in the bag in terms of eco-friendliness: My fiance's mother had an absolutely beautiful diamond that has been in her family for four generations. Had I not had the good fortune of having a wonderful gift like this passed on to me, I certainly would have considered other jewels that are less harmfully produced but still gorgeous and long-lasting. However, it is absolutely not necessary to compromise if you want a traditional ring—simply being aware and doing a little research will allow you to find a traditional, classic ring in any style that is easier on the environment.
I am planning to have my diamond set in a band of recycled gold. I am hoping to find a local artisan to do this work...I may consider buying gold jewelry from a pawn or thrift store, then having the artist melt it down and rework it. This combines my interest in reusing and in supporting local artisans. I also highly value choosing items for my wedding that are unique and not the run-of-the-mill items found at the local mall. However, as I mentioned, you can find an eco-friendly version of nearly every type of ring, from the most traditional to the most unique.
If you are committed to having a diamond, consider an eco-friendly one. No matter what type of ring you want, you can find a sustainable choice. Here are some great resources to get you started:
Fair Trade Diamonds and Gemstones: