It’s no secret that the jewelry industry has historically engaged in questionable ethical and environmental practices. The convoluted supply chain, involving the mining of precious metals and gemstones in conflict zones around the world, even led to the popularization of the phrase “blood diamonds,” which refers to the raw materials that were sold to fund civil wars in Angola and Sierra Leone. Following in the footsteps of the fashion and beauty industry, sustainable jewelry is thankfully on the rise, with consumers demanding ethically sourced and environmentally responsible gems that they can feel good about wearing.
While the four C’s (cut, color, carat, and clarity) will always be important considerations while engagement ring shopping, consumers are becoming more curious about the entire spectrum of social, ethical, and environmental issues that have been traditionally associated with wedding rings. Luckily, there are quite a few eco-conscious accessory brands that are committed to promoting transparency and traceability in the jewelry industry; with more brands evaluating and evolving their sustainability efforts every day, in order to meet the growing consumer demand.
Searching for sustainable wedding jewelry can feel overwhelming, but to help you sift through the noise, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite accessory brands that are doing it right. Below are 14 companies that stand out for their stunning, heirloom-quality pieces, fair labor practices, low environmental impact, and transparent supply chains.
Brilliant Earth goes above and beyond the current industry standards by offering what they call "Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds," which are diamonds that have been selected for their ethical and environmentally responsible origins. Their suppliers demonstrate a robust chain of custody protocol, and all their stones are sourced from specific mine operators who follow internationally recognized labor, trade, and environmental standards.
The brand primarily uses recycled and re-refined gold—sourced from certified responsible refiners—and in turn, helps aid in decreasing the global demand for newly mined gold. Currently, their gold fine jewelry is made of 93% recycled gold, and their silver fine jewelry is comprised of 99.8% recycled silver. In partnership with Carbonfund.org, Brilliant Earth is also certified CarbonFree® and offsets carbon emissions by contributing to Tropical Rainforest Conservation in Brazil.
Founded in 2020, Aether Diamonds is the first jewelry company to make diamonds from atmospheric carbon. The B Corp-certified brand claims to remove 20 metric tons of CO2 from the air, for every carat of diamond sold—a key factor in offsetting the average American carbon footprint by over a year, according to their website. Additionally, Aether only uses white, rose, and yellow gold from sellers authorized by the Fairmined organization, which sets standards in mining for labor conditions and environmental practices.
Founded in 2014, VRAI is a jewelry brand that prioritizes traceability, transparency, and ethical responsibility. VRAI’s diamonds are grown with zero emissions in a carbon-neutral foundry based in America’s Pacific Northwest, which eliminates all environmental and human tolls associated with conventional diamonds. Using 100% hydropower from the Columbia River, the foundry crystallizes its greenhouse gas methane into diamonds. For every carat of VRAI diamond grown, the brand saves 143 pounds of carbon dioxide, 2,011 ounces of air pollution, and 250 tons of earth. What's more, as a direct-to-consumer jeweler, VRAI is vertically integrated and knows each diamond’s exact path—from the moment it’s grown, to its final delivery to the buyer. With no middle man, VRAI is able to completely control its impact and footprint, in order to ensure the most ethical and sustainable operations from start to finish.
Valerie Madison is a Seattle-based fine jewelry brand that's been passionate about recycling, sustainability, and protecting the environment long before it was trendy. The eponymous label founder actually has a degree in environmental science and resource management (ESRM), from the University of Washington, which she carried with her when she launched her jewelry line back in 2009. The brand uses recycled metals and diamonds from legitimate sources for its modern pieces. And when recycled diamond options aren't available, they lean on Canadian-origin stones, which are mined in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Valerie Madison prefers to use moissanite over laboratory-grown diamonds, which the brand says are highly unregulated and come with inflated prices that may not hold up over the years.
New York-based jewelry designer Shahla Karimi takes classic engagement ring styles and updates them to modern times. All rings are sustainably made with 100% recycled gold or platinum, and clients have a choice of either ethically sourced, Kimberly-certified central stone, or an above-ground diamond grown using Diamond Foundry's certified carbon-neutral process.
Los Angeles-based Kinn is a direct-to-consumer jewelry brand specializing in minimalist modern heirloom pieces. The company is committed to using solid, recycled gold as well as conflict-free, fair-trade gemstones that have never been heat-treated or dyed. Through Kinn’s #repurpose project, they will take your old and inherited pieces, and either recycle them or update the piece into something you'll wear every day. Recently, Kinn also launched Vow—a sub-brand focused on bespoke engagement and wedding rings, set with natural or lab-grown diamonds.
KATKIM focuses on design, quality, and sustainability in every piece. The Los Angeles-based brand uses conflict-free diamonds that adhere to the Kimberly Process and uses recycled gold whenever possible. The company only works with trusted and reputable suppliers who have an ethical supply chain for all stones and gold, and production is kept local to California so KATKIM can overshadow the entire process. Plus, a portion of KATKIM's annual proceeds is dedicated to Ocean Conservancy.
Founded by actress-turned-designer Nikki Reed, Bayou With Love is the first direct-to-consumer brand to use recycled gold recovered from discarded technology. The company is committed to educating consumers on sustainable gemstones and metals, and sources most of its diamonds from the World's First certified 100% carbon neutral diamond producer, Diamond Foundry. Their stones are also sustainably grown aboveground in America's beautiful Pacific West, and 100% hydro-powered by Washington State’s Columbia River. They go even further and ensure that all of the water used for production, at their Los Angeles factory, is recycled and reused. The trace metals left in the water are also refined and recycled back, and none of it is deposited into the sewer system. In partnership with Greenspark, 100 trees are planted with every engagement ring order.
A.M. Thorne is a Black-owned fine jewelry brand, created by Ashley Thorne, and specializes in pieces made with unconventional stones like opal and salt and pepper diamonds. Each piece is handmade with 14k gold and is created with thoughtful consideration for craftsmanship, consciousness, and compassionate practices.
Everything at Aurate is made with 100% recycled gold, as well as ethically sourced gemstones, diamonds, and pearls—from mines that operate under safe working conditions with fair wages and the utmost respect for the local indigenous communities. All stones are sourced in accordance with Kimberley Process ensuring that they don't originate from conflict regions, in order to stay clear of human rights violations that may be happening behind the scenes. Aurate also gives back to the community through partnerships with Mastery Charter, She Should Run, and BUILD NYC.
Founded by diamond jewelry industry veterans Nidhi Dangayach and Nityani Riziya, Verlas is a DTC diamond brand with designer-quality pieces at affordable prices. Most of Verlas’ engagement ring styles are available at an under-$1,000 price point, making sustainable luxury jewelry more accessible for more people. The brand uses ethically-sourced, top-tier diamonds and gemstones from world-class mines, set in the finest 95% platinum and 14-karat and 18-karat gold. Their manufacturing processes are audited by Bureau Veritas, and they take care in implementing the highest standards of international labor laws in their Verlas Studios which are all certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council. Verlas was awarded the Butterfly Mark from Positive Luxury, a leading company that champions sustainable and ethical processes in the luxury industry.
Anna Sheffield engagement rings range from classic to contemporary in style. The brand is committed to the highest degree of sustainable, ethical, and responsible creation. All sourcing and production is done in accordance with these principles, including the use of recycled metals and conflict-free stones, as well as rare and exceptional reclaimed and antique diamonds. All modern diamonds used in ceremonial rings are compliant with the Kimberley Process via their source, and GIA-certified diamonds are provided upon request.
Stone and Strand only make pieces from ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones. The brand strives to use recycled gold as much as possible, and any scrap metal from product development is fully resued. The company also purchases carbon credits to ensure all of its shipments are carbon-neutral, and they plan to become completely carbon neutral by 2030. What's more, they design two collections per year to support important causes, from breast cancer awareness to female-focused education.
Los Angeles-based Starling Jewelry takes its commitment to sustainability seriously and is one of only a few companies to obtain an SCS certification for their use of 100% recycled yellow gold content and post-consumer diamonds and gemstones. The brand currently uses 100% recycled yellow gold and 70% recycled rose gold and white gold (the pure gold is 100% recycled, the additive materials that make the gold 14k, and rose or white-colored are not 100% recycled—yet!). The brand also uses recycled white diamonds in as many pieces as possible depending on availability—roughly 50-60%.