Eco Friendly Wedding Rings

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Enjoy the slideshow from Mark Romine

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend – that is definitively a true statement!  Bremer’s Jewelry was so helpful in helping me to understand that you would be hard pressed to find a conflict diamond or gem in a reputable jewelry store.  Bremer’s Jewelry signs agreements with every vendor to ensure there are no “conflict” gems.    We are all concerned with the welfare of human beings, so it is important to know what you are buying and where it comes from.    There are a total of 23 countries around the world that mine diamonds, raw diamonds.  This statistic come from the Kimberley Process.  What is the Kimberly Process?

The Kimberley Process (KP) is a combined government, trade and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds. The trade in these illicit stones fuelled decades of horrific conflicts in countries such as Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) creates extensive requirements for its members, to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent conflict diamonds from entering legitimate trade.  KP members account for approximately 99.8% of the global production of rough diamonds.

Did you realize the greatest number of diamonds is mined in Russia, then Canada!  Canada EH!  Reputable jewelers in the United States adhere to Kimberly Process.  The Kimberley Process imposes requirements on all members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’.  Each participating state must also meet ‘minimum requirements’ and put in place national legislation and institutions; export, import and internal controls; and also commit to transparency and the exchange of statistical data. The goal is create a system where participants can only legally trade with other participants.

Here is some great information I found while researching:

Wedding rings are traditional. Even the staunchest non-traditionalists have wedding rings. For some they are a status symbol, but for an environmentalist, eco-friendly wedding rings can show commitment to sustainability, protection of the environment, fair trade and conservation of the earth’s resources. The ring you choose for yourself and your fiance says a lot about you. Women are getting raped, kids are getting their hands hacked off, and people are getting killed all over the diamond trade in war-torn African nations like Sierra Leone, Angola and Congo. Without getting into too much depth about the moral issues and gritty details of it all, watch Blood Diamond and you’ll get the glimpse of why it’s important to buy your rings responsibly.

For both women and men’s rings, you’ll want to look for conflict-free diamonds and gems, and recycled metals. And while diamonds are a girl’s best friend, not every girl wants a diamond, and there are many gemstones out there that are just as beautiful and not as tainted. Cultured diamonds and gemstones are the most ecologically friendly gems, since they are not mined out of the earth, but grown in a lab. They are also significantly less expensive than geologically-grown gems, which has definite appeal in today’s economy.

Rings made by independent jewelers can be found at Etsy.com, where there are many amazing artisans making eco-friendly rings – using recycled metals, conflict free diamonds, even polished wood. Some other fantastic artisans using recycled metal and conflict free gems include Dawes DesignSarah Pelis, and Kirsten Muenster (for beautiful rings sans gems).

Besides buying a ring that is already made, find a local jeweler whose style you like and have them custom make one.  It’s possible they already source recycled metal and conflict free gems.  If not, suggest they source from Hoover & Strong, which carries the Harmony Line of recycled metal and conflict free gems. Hoover & Strong is a very well-known name in the jewelry business and any reputable jeweler in the States should know them. Most jewelers can also melt down your own jewelry to make new pieces. For those who live in the New York area, go to New York Wedding Ring Workshop, and make your own.

If you are so lucky to receive a piece of jewelry that was handed down to you – use it. If the style is not right, you can always have it reworked into something that is more you. Having a piece your family’s heirloom is special, not to mention cheaper than buying something brand new. Antique jewelry bought at an estate sale or antique shop is another environmentally responsible option. There are many reputable online antique jewelers as well as shops all over the country bursting with antique jewelry. To make sure you’re getting the best in quality, do your research, speak with jewelers, and ask lots of questions.

The most well-known jewelers offering up conflict free gems and recycled metal are greenKarat (more unique settings), Brilliant Earth (more traditional settings) and Ingle & Rhode in the UK. All three can custom design your rings or reuse your old jewelry to create something new. Another great resource for ready-to-wear jewelry is at Elizabeta Jewelry, which carries rings from 8 different eco-conscious jewelers – all conflict free and made with recycled metals.
Read more: GREEN WEDDING GUIDE: Eco Wedding Rings | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

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