Choosing a wedding ring can be overwhelming in an era of endless Pinterest boards and Instagram ads. There are so many options, but when it comes to sustainability, not all wedding jewelry is created equal. Buying green wedding rings doesn’t have to be hard! This blog post gives you insight into what to look for in an eco-friendly wedding ring as well as where to buy one that’s perfect for you.
Diamonds and Gemstones for Green Wedding Rings
Natural Diamonds vs Lab Grown Diamonds
The first thing to consider in figuring out whether wedding rings are eco-friendly is what kinds of stones they use. Diamonds are a classic choice for a wedding band. The two main types of diamonds used in jewelry are lab grown and natural diamonds.
Natural diamonds are mined. Some jewelers will use natural diamonds salvaged from older pieces. They’re essentially recycled. If you love the idea of a natural diamond, this would be a good way to go. Gold and other metals can be similarly recycled to reduce the environmental impact of your ring.
Lab grown diamonds are created in a lab using technology. They have variations just like natural diamonds do, and they tend to be significantly less expensive. Many green wedding rings use lab grown diamonds because they’re pretty much indistinguishable from natural diamonds and don’t involve exploitative mining practices.
What to Look for in Your Diamond
Regardless of whether you choose a natural diamond or lab grown diamond, you’ll hear people talking about color, shape, cut, clarity, and carat. Here’s a rundown of what each term means:
Color: We often think of diamonds as clear, but they come in a wide range of colors from white to salt and pepper. For a moody touch to your green wedding ring, try a black diamond.
Shape: Diamonds are typically in one of twelve shapes - round, princess, emerald, cushion, asscher, pear, oval, heart, radiant, marquise, baguette, and trillion. Some cuts are more expensive than others and might be worth looking for secondhand.
Cut: The cut refers to the way the shape is cut to make the diamond more or less reflective. It essentially impacts how sparkly your ring is.
Clarity: Jewelers use a magnifying glass to determine the purity of a diamond. They’re graded on a range from Flawless to Imperfect. Your average person isn’t going to see the slight imperfections that jewelers catch onto.
Carat: Carat refers to the actual weight of a diamond.
Maybe a diamond ring feels a little too conventional for you. There are lots of beautiful alternatives available. Remember diamonds are popular wedding rings partly because they’re durable. They can take the bumps and bruises that come with everyday wear. If you choose an alternative stone, make sure it’s hard enough to withstand that. Emerald, aquamarine, topaz, and alexandrite come in beautiful colors and rank high on the Mohs scale (the scale jewelers use to rank the durability of stones). Stones like opal and pearl are pretty but very soft and not great for everyday wear.
Thankfully, many brands sell green wedding rings online now. Check out these options!
Company: Brilliant Earth
Sustainability measures: Conflict-free diamonds, recycled diamonds and metals, lab-created diamonds
Company: Made Trade
Sustainability measures: Made in PDX, ethically-sourced gemstones, pay living wages at each stage of the supply chain, handmade, recyclable packaging
Company: Bayou with Love
Sustainability measures: Uses recycled materials and sustainable production
Company: Aether Diamonds
Sustainability measures: Diamonds created from carbon captured from the air
Sustainability measures: 100% recycled gold and lab grown diamonds, completely gender neutral collection
Company: Clean Origin
Sustainability measures: 100% lab grown diamond jewelry designed by you
Sustainability measures: Carbon neutral
Sustainability measures: Recycled materials and alternative gemstones
Company: Valley Rose
Sustainability measures: Sustainably rated diamonds and climate neutrality
Company: Mia Donna
Sustainability measures: Grows diamonds to fund community and has a net positive diamond
Sustainability measures: Uses recycled metals and conflict-free diamonds, and uses fair working environments
Sustainability measures: uses recycled products and maintains high social standards
Company: Barrio Neal
Sustainability measures: Uses fairmined gold, traceable materials, and is a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights
Company: Automic Gold
Sustainability measures: 100% recycled gold and ethically sourced gemstones
The Vintage Option
All of these brands do cool things with green wedding rings, but the most sustainable thing you can do usually is to buy vintage! Take a trip to the second-hand stores in your area. You never know what you’ll find. Etsy has countless options too.
Portland Jewelers Selling Green Wedding Rings
Sometimes buying a ring in person feels less overwhelming and more supportive, especially if you get the right salesperson helping you. Check out these Portland jewelers selling green wedding rings:
Sustainable Jewelers in Seattle
Seattle has stores selling green wedding rings too! If you’re in the Seattle area, head to these jewelry stores:
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