Ethical engagement rings?

(40 Posts)

Is there such thing as an ethical engagement ring that isn't going to cost the world? Or is there an alternative to diamonds?

I was chatting about it with DP and a house mate last night (DP is planning to do a presentation on the differing ethics between diamond mining and tanzanite mining) and I just wondered if there was a way of getting ethical engagement rings that didn't cost the earth!

colditz Wed 20-Mar-13 19:22:37

Get one that isn't a diamond? This is a massively first world problem, it's the best one I've heard for ages.

stargirl1701 Wed 20-Mar-13 19:24:04

My diamond came from Snap Lake Mine in Canada. As seen on 'Ice Road Truckers'. DH more interested with the trucker connection than ethics, mind you! grin

MrsBucketxx Wed 20-Mar-13 19:25:00

I would be looking at the antique market, recycling an old ring woukd make the most sense.

Arisbottle Wed 20-Mar-13 19:26:12

Don't get one . Probably the most ethical and affordable option.

AndMiffyWentToSleep Wed 20-Mar-13 19:28:14

Yeah you can get them - generally bespoke but not necessarily more than off the shelf ones.
These people do them:
www.credjewellery.com/

yousankmybattleship Wed 20-Mar-13 19:31:18

Oh my lord, now I've heard it all! As a quick guess I would suggest you could probably get another gemstone or not get a ring at all.

I suppose it is a first world problem! I have thought about it before, but never very deeply and it just occurred to me during the conversation, so I googled it and found that 'ethical' diamonds cost a bomb.

I haven't really thought too much about actually getting engaged, DP and I aren't at that point just yet as we can't afford to get married for a good few years yet anyway! So I'm just curious really!

My housemate's thought was the recycling an old diamond as they didn't know back then how bad things were in the diamond trade.

Engagement rings are only a recent thing historically so tbh I don't know if I'd go down that route anyway, but it's interesting to find out about the alternatives. Nothing wrong with being curious even if it is a FWP! I can think of worse ones usually involving FB wink

TheBrocoliIsStillRaw Wed 20-Mar-13 19:54:16

Sorry can't offer any advice confused but I think that's a lovely idea.

herladyship Wed 20-Mar-13 19:54:59

ethical issues like this are a 'first world' problem

because WE have created them and now people less fortunate than us are suffering

No-one deserves to be ridiculed for trying to live ethically, surely? hmm

(sorry no practical advice, except don't bother with a ring.. DH & I didn't & it hasn't hampered our 20 year relationship!)

AuntFini Wed 20-Mar-13 19:56:26

Not really a first world problem is it? Op your question is totally fair and its only right to consider whether it's ethical to get diamonds

yousankmybattleship Wed 20-Mar-13 21:03:37

How to source your diamond ring certainly is a first world problem! Nobody needs a diamond. If you have to have an engagement ring, then just choose something without a diamond. Simple.

I got mine from ingle and rhode. Highly recommend them, really personal service.

Www.ingleandrhode.com

StellaNova Wed 20-Mar-13 21:07:49

My engagement ring has a small "conflict free" diamond. It's from Stephen Einhorn on Upper St in Islington. They showed me a handful of diamonds and let me choose although they all looked the same to me!

And it's not just diamonds and other stones, it's the gold as well that should be ethically sourced. At ingle and rhode it all is.

ceramicunicorn Wed 20-Mar-13 21:10:40

Don't know if it would be your cup of tea but my sister and her dh panned for gold in Wales then had it made into rings. Although that was wedding rings not engagement rings.

Buy vintage/antique. My ring is a 1920/30s ring and cost a lot lot less than a new ring and is beautiful.

Why is it diamonds? Is there a meaning behind it or was it just a popular thing that became 'tradition'? Which is what I meant by 'alternative' originally, if there was an alternative that was as traditional? (Apologies for not being clear on it) Or was it because diamond is harder wearing than other stones and therefore more practical?

ceramic: I actually love that idea, I have been debating doing that for a few years, well before I got with DP and we were still 'just friends' blush

AKiss: I vaguely remembered something about ethically sourced precious metals, it's another thing to think about really.

I think I might just tell DP we won't bother with engagement rings, it'll make things much easier and cheaper!

sashh Thu 21-Mar-13 02:35:23

It is a first and third world problem. No one needs a diamond (other than industry, possibly) so the reason children are being exploited is because the first world wants cheap diamonds.

I'd go for recycling OP, you might not know if a child has mined the stone but you can be sure that child isn't being exploited now.

If you have some scrap gold then you could have that made into a ring, and it's not that expensive.

You could buy something from Australia, you wouldn't get to check it before you ordered online but Australian gold and gems are mined in proper conditions.

alwayslateforwork Thu 21-Mar-13 02:46:49

Another vote for Canadian diamonds.

I have a second hand ring. It gets loads of compliments, and was dirt cheap. grin I just saw it in a store and loved it. It was exactly a tenth of the price of the other rings I was looking at, and 120 years old, so unique.

I have no end of woo types telling me that they can tell it was a family heirloom. May well have been. Just not mine. grin

colditz Thu 21-Mar-13 08:09:48

I didn't say it wasn't a fair question. I said it was a first world problem.

I was implying that people in developing countries don't worry very much about the source of their diamonds, because they are too busy trying to source their dinner.

And that is true. But the ops question summed up the first world very nicely. As does my perpetual niggling worry that my dishwasher is about to go kaput.

Engagement rings aren't that recent a tradition, but diamonds are. They took off because De Beers started a campaign, simple as that.

If you look at antique rings, you'll find lots of pearl, garnet, sapphires (blue represents fidelity), Edwardian emeralds, etc. etc. So antique rings have a lot of choice.

My friend's mum has a wooden engagement ring - you can have whatever the heck you like.

Personally (and it is very personal so not judging), I think diamonds are fuck ugly. smile

GirlOutNumbered Thu 21-Mar-13 08:18:03

I had mine made. I have a sapphire instead of a diamond, the stone came from Sri Lanka. He goes there to source them himself.

Welovegrapes Thu 21-Mar-13 08:23:34

Found the first world problem comments hilarious.

Unlike many consumers op is thinking about how to buy in a way that won't harm the developing world, then gets told she is raising a first world problem!

Conflict diamonds are very much an issue for people in the developing world.

Floggingmolly Thu 21-Mar-13 08:23:54

I never got a ring at all. We've been married for 15 years now, it doesn't matter.

"Personally (and it is very personal so not judging), I think diamonds are fuck ugly" <<snorts>> grin I prefer other stones and remember the sheer horror of my sisters when I suggested just getting a nice ring that had another stone in it.

I discovered wooden rings last night after a bit of browsing, I was quite surprised to find that DP quite likes them too so that may be the wedding rings sorted wink

I like the idea of having something to commemorate an engagement, and have said for a while that when I get engaged we'd both have a ring to signify it, but I am now wondering about forgoing the rings and having a nice trip where we get to make/organise something that we can have at home to commemorate it. This is assuming that one of us proposes of course!

I like the idea of the Sapphire and fidelity combination, I may have a nosy around and see what represents what in gems and colours

Oh, glad that was useful then! When I was getting engaged I fell in love with this jeweller who made gorgeous rings with metal and wood and all sorts of slightly out-there precious stones. They cost a bomb, I was gutted. And sadly he's gone bust now (the market for expensive wooden rings not being terribly good, as you might imagine!), so I couldn't change my mind even if we could afford it now.

Hope you find something nice - I am sure you will.

yousankmybattleship Thu 21-Mar-13 18:16:52

*Unlike many consumers op is thinking about how to buy in a way that won't harm the developing world, then gets told she is raising a first world problem!

Conflict diamonds are very much an issue for people in the developing world.*

I am one of the people who thinks she's raising a first world problem because I seriously doubt that many people in developing countries fret too much about where they're going to get the diamond for their engagement ring. I suspect they are a little more preoccupied with finding food, keeping a roof about their heads and keeping their families alive.
Of course conflict diamonds have affected the developing world, but if people in the first world could get over themselves and realise that they don't need a diamond of any sort then the problem goes away.

Really yousank? I cannot do anything to help those in third world countries, I can try to do something that's ethical though whilst still thinnking about trying to keep in with traditions from my own country. There's no need to be rude.

I also agreed with you in that it was a first world problem. If I wanted an argument or debate about it I would've gone to AIBU. I was asking about something I'd not thought much about and tbh, didn't even think about alternatives to as it is the done thing to have a sodding engagement ring with a diamond even though I don't really like any style I've seen and I don't know anybody who has questioned it personally so wouldn't have thought much about it otherwise. So I apologise, next time I'll just 'get over myself' and not bother asking questions when I realise that actually, I don't agree with the 'done thing' this time round.

AnnandBarryAgain Thu 21-Mar-13 20:49:42

Oh confused pixie I could me you. I dragged poor OH all around the jewellery quarter last sat looking for an engagement ring that wasn't a feckin diamond solitaire. I need inspiration ladies.

AnnandBarryAgain Thu 21-Mar-13 20:51:34

Ethical inspiration that is. For the same reason we are looking for ethical options.

DP (a silversmith) says yes. You can get ethically sourced diamonds for a start - he says look at Ethical Metalsmiths for more info smile

AnnandBarryAgain Thu 21-Mar-13 21:01:45

one option I am looking at is a lab created diamond.

colditz Thu 21-Mar-13 21:52:25

I haven't been rude, I was amused. Like it or not, it is funny to think of someone nags ting about the source of their diamond, when a really simple solution would be to not buy a diamond. It IS funny.

colditz: I am not bothered about the first world problem comment because it is a FWP, and is a prime example of one in fact. I agree with you and find that funny now that I realise that actually, I could go without a diamond engagement ring and I don't NEED to conform. Which is how I felt up until recently about the subject.

I just don't like being made out to be a dick who needs to get over themselves over something that is a tradition in this country which is how I felt when I read yousank's latest post. Maybe I'm reading too much into the comment, if so, sorry yousank, kneejerk reaction to a comment that annoyed me.

sashh Fri 22-Mar-13 05:44:15

Like it or not, it is funny to think of someone nags ting about the source of their diamond, when a really simple solution would be to not buy a diamond. It IS funny.

No it isn't. Where do you think diamonds come from? Who do you think mines them?

Wouldn't you prefer a poor African to work in good conditions and take home enough money to feed and educate his/her family?

colditz Fri 22-Mar-13 12:06:12

Lol

colditz Fri 22-Mar-13 12:07:21

If everyone stopped buying diamonds, do you think exploitative diamond mine owners would still use child labourers to dig up diamonds?

AnnandBarryAgain Sat 23-Mar-13 18:42:24

Bought my ring today smilesmile vintage daisy diamond cluster. Love it. From 1910.

Welovegrapes Sat 23-Mar-13 18:54:23

I love the simplicity here. Yes I'm sure the poor people who earn their livelihoods in diamond mines would be cheering the suggestion that diamond demand be reduced to nil and mines closed. That would be great for them.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now