Tips for finding green wedding rings

Looking for an eco-friendly approach to wedding rings?  Just by it’s nature, the work that goes into mining the raw materials used in wedding rings is pretty harsh on the earth. But that’s not to say there aren’t some really great options available – it just takes a little…digging.

Generally speaking, post-consumer recycled gold is always going to have less of an environmental footprint than freshly mined gold.  The problem is, loads of companies claim their wares are recycled or post-consumer or what have you, but this can be a tricky thing to verify. Still, selecting post-consumer recycled gold is generally a great way to go and there are tons of companies offering this sort of option right now — Green Karat and Brilliant Earth are two companies that do this — and both have Green America’s Green Business certification.

Designer Lindsy Aragona's antique engagement ring has a lot of sentimental value: it  features her grandmother's setting and his grandmother's diamond.

One idea we love? Go vintage. Bella Figura designer Lindsy Aragona’s engagement ring has a cool story behind it: the ring features her grandmother’s setting, and the diamond from her husband’s grandmother’s engagement ring. Consider going this route and use an heirloom piece that was passed down through your family – the added sentimental value will make the ring even more special.

Don’t have an heirloom piece in the family that can be used for your engagement ring or wedding bands? Maybe you have a stash of old broken jewelry you never wear or a hideous (but heartfelt) piece of jewelry your grandmother gave you?  Well rather than just letting it sit there, why not melt it down into something beautiful and meaningful that you’ll actually wear?  It’ll still be the same gold after all, so it’s still got the love.  Lots of jewelry companies offer this service now, and a good local jeweler certainly should be able to do this for you (which in turn supports the local economy and requires no shipping).  By taking all the mining, transportation and refining out of the equation you’re left with a ring that’s many times more eco-blingy, and besides, wouldn’t it feel good to know exactly where the metal in your ring came from?

Designer Lindsy Aragona's antique engagement ring has a lot of sentimental value: it  features her grandmother's setting and his grandmother's diamond.

Diamonds are a girls best friend and all that jazz, but we’ve all seen Blood Diamond. Maybe not so friendly after all. Diamond mining just isn’t an inherently sustainable thing for a vast array of environmental and socioeconomic reasons.  But it is definitely possible to source stones that are conflict free, you just need to do a little research first. You could also go the synthetic route and purchase lab-created diamonds — they’re conflict-free and don’t require mining, so you won’t be disrupting the planet for these gems. Brilliant Earth offers this as an option as well.

Do you do a lot of hiking? If you come across a cool stone in your travels, have it set into a ring.  Way cooler than diamonds if you ask me.  And there’s a story to tell.

Another really awesome option – take a jewelry making workshop and make your own!  If you live in a big city (or even if you don’t) chances are you’ll be able to find classes in jewelry making pretty easily.  If you take the class together, you and your other half will learn lots about the craft and by the end of it, you’ll have made your very own wedding rings!