Creating An Eco Friendly Engagement Ring
An eco friendly, ethical or sustainably sourced engagement ring is becoming increasingly important to brides-to-be. Of course a great way for brides to reduce their carbon footprint and have a ring to match their values is to recycle the gold or gemstones from inherited jewellery thereby negating the need for any new mining of materials. You can see plenty of examples of designs incorporating sentimental pieces or recycled materials in my bespoke galleries. However not everyone has these resources available to them, so what are the alternatives?
When K asked me to create his fiancé's dream engagement ring he not only had strong ideas about the design, but he also knew the eco credentials would be very important to her. We discussed the idea of using fair trade gold, which ensures that artisanal miners and their communities in developing countries get a fair deal for their work. Another alternative was using recycled gold, which negates the need for fresh mining of materials altogether. Lots of my jewellery is already made using recycled materials and we decided this was the right approach, using high palladium recycled 18ct white gold to give a nice bright white shade to the metal.
Our thoughts then turned to the design of the ring and the gemstones we would be using. K wanted to use diamonds and a teal sapphire, but they also needed to be ethically sourced. I always use diamonds and gemstones from trusted sources that adhere to The Kimberley Process, which ensures the diamonds are fully traceable and purchased through legitimate channels. They are also 100% conflict free. On this occasion however, as with the metal the diamonds needed to come from an eco friendly source without the need for further mining. This is where lab grown diamonds can offer a great alternative.
Lab grown diamonds are, as the name suggests, created in a laboratory controlled environment, using cutting edge technology to simulate the natural environment needed to create a natural diamond. Lab grown diamonds are chemically and visually the same as natural diamonds and are just as hard, so they're a great choice. They can also typically be a little less expensive and therefore can help to maximise a ring budget.
The final piece of the jigsaw was sourcing a stunning central stone. K wanted a beautiful teal sapphire with different shades running through it. I have wonderful contacts in Australia who produce the most striking parti sapphires, but the carbon footprint wouldn't fit with this brief. Lab grown sapphires are available and just like lab grown diamonds have the same properties of their natural counterparts. Finding one with just the right colouring and within budget did prove tricky though, so this time we opted for a recycled sapphire. This might not be something that most people have considered. You might have heard of people recycling gold, melting it down to form something entirely new, but how can this be done with gemstones? Well the gemstones are reclaimed from these melted pieces of jewellery by professional gemmologists who carefully clean the stones, weigh them, inspect and grade them, so that you know exactly what you are buying. Once again this can offer a cost effective solution for a large central stone. So once I knew exactly what stones we were using and their sizes I could finalise the design. I'm sure you'll agree that the result was just stunning.
K didn't stop there however. Being the forward thinking guy he is he decided it would be a good idea to make the wedding ring at the same time, so that we knew it would fit exactly and the stones would match. He must have been pretty confident of a yes! Well, who could say no to a ring with so much thought and attention to detail given to it? I'm pleased to say that his fiancé was delighted with the ring and they are now happily married. I'm always happy to discuss ways in which you can incorporate your values and lifestyle choices into your precious jewellery pieces, so please get in touch.