Hi ladies, I'm back again. I'm still having trouble deciding on a ring due mostly to the ethical issues. I have read all the posts I could find about diamond alternatives and have decided I should go with either moissanite or lab created or maybe a pearl. But how do you avoid the problem of dirty gold? I am very disturbed by some of the arcticles I've read about it. I can't seem to find threads about it here. I could order a loose moissanite and have it set in recycled gold, but then there would be no kind of warranty for that. Does anyone have experience with this type of approach? Or with sites like greenkarat or such that that use recycled gold? Or are there other minerals better to use, ethically, than gold or do they all have the same problems? Is there anyone who has done research on this already that could lend some pointers?
Just responding to say I wish I could help you because I had the same issue. I got frustrated with searching for non-dirty gold because all of the jewelers we went to locally, whether a chain or a small local shop, didn't know much about it. And when I asked the local ones about melting down my grandma's old wedding ring to combine with some new gold so it would be at least part recycled gold, their opinion was that the old gold would retain impurities that would compromise the visual integrity of the ring, basically. So I ended up with a ring that was at least guaranteed to have a non-conflict diamond, but didn't get anywhere with the gold.
Greenkarat was recommended to me, too, but I have no personal experience with them. You could also go to the website Coopamerica.org and search their National Green Pages for jewelers. CoopAmerica gives their stamp of approval only to companies that are fair trade and environmentally friendly (Greenkarat among them, I believe. I think that's how I found them.). Another option would be to buy an antique ring, or buy an antique setting and pick the stone of your choice to go with it, so at least your money wouldn't be going to new gold.
Good luck with your search and I hope you find something you're happy with!
Hi Srramlal! I'm usually a lurker around here, but you've brought me out of hiding. If/when I get my ring, I would also like it to be eco-friendly and ethically traded. In the mean time I can drool vicariously over pretty, pretty rings over here. :) One website I would recommend is www.brilliantearth.com. According to their site they use recycled metals and ethically-sourced diamonds/sapphires/pearls; they have a REALLY extensive "Education" ( http://www.brilliantearth.com/dirty-gold-facts/ ) section detailing all the issues you've mentioned (one thing I find really cool is that they donate 5% of all their diamond profits to communities in Africa hurt by the conflict-diamond trade; 5% of diamond sales is a LOT of money!).
You might also try turtlelovecommittee.com--they get their stuff from independent artisans who have eco-friendly practices. They seem to have a lot of gorgeous non-diamond engagement/wedding jewelery.
This one's my favorite! It's green...literally! LOL, sorry, will stop vicarious drooling now. :)
Another alternative would be to find an antique/vintage ring/setting that you like and get it re-appraised. Or do any of your friends or family know someone in the jewelery business? I'm not an expert but I'd imagine a good jeweler who you can trust would know something about where their materials are coming from, and how to get the kind of thing you want with warranty protection.
Good luck with your search and my hat is tipped to you for being an eco-conscious, ethical bride to be. :)
First I want to thank you. I just found this site, and your post inspired me to become a member of the Brides community. I love connecting with others who are working for a better today and tomorrow. :)
I, too, am very concerned about the impact my ring and wedding will have on our world. I love eBay, so looking for a "recycled" (used) ring on the auction site was great fun (and occupied many hours when I should have been studying for finals last month). When searching the jewelery category (and even specifically engagement/wedding rings, if you prefer), I narrowed my search to items classified as "used." There was so much variety - a lot of uncommon, common, custom, and vintage styles! (Ideally you could find a ring in your size, but if you're like me and
have an uncommon ring size, MOST styles can be resized by your jeweler. Just be sure to get a ring with a return policy to allow for this - and have the ring immediately appraised to be sure it is what you thought it was when you bought it.)
By sticking to a used ring, I am purchasing an item whose externalities (environmental degradation, social concerns, retail mark-up, etc.) have already been absorped by the previous owner. In fact, instead of directly contributing to these problems, my purchase of a recycled ring is even saving the inputs (electricity, water, etc) that would be used if the ring were sold for scrap, melted, and made into a new item.
Another plus: as a frugal girl, I (and my FI) loved that I found the perfect used platinum setting (with 0.5 carats in trademark-cut diamond sidestones) and saved more than 80% over retail price.
In the end I got my dream setting - something my FI and I would never have been able to afford, AND I was true to my personal values about sustainability! (Now I just have to find a center stone for my ring, but I'm still deciding between "recycled" diamond or lab-created diamond alternative (no mining or social concerns...other than our society's brainwashing (by DeBeers) that only diamonds symbolize true love).
Some people also feel weird about wearing someone else's ring. (If this applies to you, you may care to stick to rings that are being sold for financial reasons. Especially in this economy, there are unfortunately a lot of rings being sold just to make ends meet - in which case you're actually funding a good cause, too!)
Hope this helps. Best wishes!