They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend and when it comes to engagement rings many would agree that diamonds are a must, but at what cost?
The global diamond trade has a dark side, blood diamonds also referred to as conflict diamonds are associated with several harsh realities; the industry funds civil wars and ongoing violence, exploitation and suffering of workers as well as environmental degradation. These conflict diamonds are being mined in violent and unethical situations and in some cases military and police officials have been linked to the mining companies harvesting these conflict diamonds.
In 1998 Global Witness released a report that exposed the use of conflict diamonds funding the civil war in Angola, Africa. This raised awareness and opened up important conversations about the negative activities occurring in the global diamond industry with many conflict diamonds still being sold unknowingly to the public.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we have put together a go-to list of jewellery designers creating socially responsible engagement rings that are free of conflict diamonds. Here there are in no particular order…
Natalie Marie Jewellery
Based in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, this namesake label of jewellery designer Natalie Marie Fitch has a strong brand ethos of providing pieces that are produced in a sustainable and ethical way from the raw materials to completion in her Avalon studio. The diamonds used in her pieces are GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certified and guaranteed to be sourced and cut in line with UN regulations. Her semi precious stones are imported from a US family-run business with strict ethical and sustainability guidelines. The designer sources materials from a local supplier producing solely recycled material and when using real gold in her pieces 100% Australian gold is used. Any scraps from the studio is also recycled and reused. With engagement rings, wedding bands for both men and women and the option of creating a bespoke piece, Natalie Marie Fitch is a jewellery designer worth exploring.
Do Amore use ethically sourced semi precious stones and diamonds along with recycled materials and sustainable packaging. To ensure their diamonds are conflict-free they partner with diamond suppliers that have strict requirements to follow the international best practice environment framework, boycotting regions that use the diamond trade to support civil war and violent rebellions along with any mines that endanger workers welfare. Do Amore currently partner with charity organisation charitywater.org to provide communities in need of clean water funds and support to maintain a water project including training on sanitation and health practices. A purchase from Do Amore will directly support building a water project for a community in need. This initiative is so transparent that you can search your order number and get more information on exactly where and how the ring you purchased is making a positive impact.
Vrai & Oro Wedding
With all the problems in the diamond industry one jewellery label is taking it one step further in their innovation to ensure the jewellery you buy is guaranteed conflict-free. Jewellery business Vrai & Oro launched in 2014 with quality, simplicity and transparency as the foundations of their brand. They also work to expose the traditional practices in manufacturing jewellery.
“While we stand behind diamonds and their meaning, we don’t stand behind the practices of the industry.” – Vrai & Oro
Working with a company called Diamond Foundry, Vrai & Oro sustainably grow real diamonds in California by recreating the natural environment that diamonds form in to produce sustainable and ethical alternatives. You know when you buy a stunning Vrai & Oro engagement ring that no blood or tears were shed to create it.
Brilliant Earth source diamonds from suppliers with strict standards that can be traced back to the origin of the diamond, following international trade, labor and environmental standards. The brand uses recycled precious metals in their elegant pieces and the alternate option of recycled or lab created diamonds.
Brilliant Earth go further than producing jewellery free of blood diamonds; they partner with advocacy groups raising awareness about the diamond trade along with exploitation in the gold mining industry, environmental impacts and mining and labour issues donating five percent of profits to communities negatively affected by impacts of the industry.
If you know any more ethical jewellery brands or have any eco-conscious wedding ideas, share with our lovers in the comments.
Make sure to check out the ‘Mindfully Wed’ Conscious Wedding Expo here if you’re keen to find wedding vendors that align with your humanitarian and environmental values.