Ethical Jewelry: Know what you’re buying

If you are headed toward an engagement, or are engaged already but still looking for the right ring or other bridal jewelry, there are other things to think about aside from style, price, and size of the rock!  Whether your personal values have led you to follow a more environmentally and socially conscious lifestyle, or you just want to do your part in making the world a better place, consider buying an “ethical” – not just beautiful – engagement ring.

It’s amazing, points out Katherine DalPra (owner/designer for Green Diva, an online boutique of eco-friendly bridal jewelry) how uneducated and distanced we’ve become from the goods we buy.  We don’t know where our jewelry comes from, and who has been affected by it. “Behind some of our most beloved purchases… there is a dirty secret involving worker exploitation, toxic pollution and cultural destruction.”

Among the sins that you DON’T want to be supporting are violent conflict and forced labor. Miners and gemstone artisans are often underpaid and work in unsafe conditions. Metal mining is the number one toxic polluter in America, and is also the cause of Acid Mine Drainage, which is destroying our drinkable water sources.

Luckily, there are several options for sourcing ethical engagement rings from people that have made a great effort to get it right. If you’re not into wooden rings, synthetic stones, or rings constructed of your own bone, here are some trusted sources you might want to consider buying from.

CRED Jewellery

The world’s first Fair Trade jewelery retailer, CRED has pioneered the search for transparent, ethical sources of precious metals and stones, delivering the first truly ethical wedding rings in 2003.  Their engagement rings combine classic and contemporary styling with the finest ethically-sourced diamonds and Oro Verde™ Fair Trade metals to perfectly encapsulate your values and your love.

C5 Company

C5 company is a leader in sustainable fine jewelry. They offer beautiful, well-crafted, ready-to-wear pieces and custom jewelry that you can feel good about purchasing, gifting and wearing.

All of their jewelry is made with 100% recycled precious metals and ethically sourced gems and diamonds (both fair-trade mined and lab-created) to ensure that C5 company jewelry has minimal environmental and social impact.

Below: Estate diamonds reset in recycled palladium; Lab-created rubies set in recycled palladium.

Green Karat

Green Karat has a mission, to provide an ecologically and socially responsible jewelry alternative to those who seek change. If you want to become part of the solution, they want to help you.

Did you know that there is enough gold above ground (already mined) to satisfy all demands of the jewelry industry for the next 50 years? Much of it sits in bank vaults and in the form of old and unused jewelry.  Green Karat believes that buying recycled gold is one of the most ecologically and socially responsible choices a consumer can make.

Artisan Wedding Rings

These unique wedding rings and engagement ring sets are heirloom quality and made by artisans with recycled gold, silver and platinum. Artisan use the most ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones available anywhere.

Brilliant Earth

“Luxury with a Conscience” brings you uncompromisable ethics and meticulous craftsmanship. Their jewelry is created with the highest quality Canadian Conflict Free Diamond Jewelry™ made with renewed gold and platinum. They also supply Ethical origin Namibian diamonds, and 5% of all profits are donated in Africa.

To learn about fair trade, conflict-free diamonds, eco-friendly, recycled metals and responsibly-made jewelry, visit any of the websites mentioned here! For a list of more ethical jewelry suppliers, visit this page at the natural wedding company.


  1. Dena – Thanks for spreading the word about responsible jewelry buying!

  2. hi dena! i love your blog. thank you so much for sharing these tips on choosing the right ring. my fiancée and i are planning to tie the knot before the year ends. until now both of us are still searching for the wedding ring we are going to purchase. we want it to be very special for our very special day. i friend recommend me to this site jewelry where there are beautiful rings too. i might consider purchasing here or from what you have shared i might as well check it. thank you so much.