When most people think about choosing an engagement ring, they’re focused on getting the biggest and most attractive diamond ring possible. But did you know that there’s a lot of conflict involved with the acquisition of diamonds, both from a human rights and an environmental perspective? This is why ethical engagement rings have become popular over the last few years, and why more and more couples are thinking about purchasing ethical rings rather than traditional engagement rings.
Before you shop for your ideal engagement ring that you’ll be proud to show off by browsing through websites, continue reading to learn more about what an ethical engagement ring is. In this way, you can determine if that would be the right route for you to take when you finally make a jewelry purchase.
What Are Conflict Diamonds?
When discussing ethical engagement rings, you need to understand what conflict diamonds are because, again, most people want an engagement ring that will showcase a gorgeous diamond, which is the most popular stone for this type of ring.
Put simply, a conflict diamond is a gem that has been utilized by a rebel group in order to fund wars that have ended up killing and/or displacing millions of people throughout Africa. It’s estimated that 65% of the diamonds that are found throughout the world are actually conflict diamonds, so they’re quite difficult to avoid, and you need to be a smart shopper, as well as one who’s aware of these issues, in order to prevent the purchase of one.
Regulations to Prevent the Purchase of Conflict Diamonds
If you don’t want to contribute in any way towards war, destruction, and human rights violations, you can avoid purchasing conflict diamonds by learning about the tracking regulations that have been implemented.
In 2003, the Kimberly Process was created in order to determine which diamonds on the market are actually conflict diamonds. However, this process has come under scrutiny because the definition of the word “conflict” that’s used in the process is actually outdated, so it’s actually an unreliable source for determining which gems are conflict diamonds.
The Environmental Effects of Mining for Diamonds
Mining for gems is extremely destructive to the environment, and it’s no different when it comes to the mining of diamonds. In fact, in addition to human rights issues, there are also many environmental issues that are created by the mining of diamonds, so it’s yet another reason why so many couples are shopping more carefully than ever when they’re searching for the perfect engagement ring.
In addition to the destruction caused by the direct mining of diamonds, Earthworks, a mining watchdog group, has estimated that the average 18-karat wedding ring results in about 20 tons of waste rock and ore that are left behind. The mining process results in the use of a lot of energy, and the gathering of precious metals, including gold, could even result in toxic draining that destroys the environment and wildlife, and can also impact people.
A Few Ways to Avoid Unethical Diamonds
Thankfully, if you want to be an ethical consumer and you want to purchase an ethical engagement ring to ensure your conscience is clear, you have several great options to choose from. You can, for example, look for recycled gold jewelry, stones that are created in a lab rather than mined from the Earth, and gemstones that are obtained through verified channels that promote worker safety, local communities, and environmental health.
You can even purchase second-hand diamond engagement rings rather than brand new ones. You can easily find these both in stores and online, and this can open up a lot of opportunities to get a classic looking ring that’s timeless rather than trendy. This is especially a great idea for couples who are looking for vintage or antique jewelry.
If you do opt for a lab created gemstone, such as a lab created diamond, you can rest assured that these will leave a much smaller carbon footprint compared to what mining would do to the environment. And these also don’t involve any abuses against innocent people and their land. You can opt for the most popular diamond alternatives, which are just as beautiful and look just like the real thing. They include Asha, Cubic Zirconia, and Moissanite.