This is decidedly not a post about urban farming, chickens, food or any of my other typical topics.
It is, however, a post that has strong ties to sustainability and basic human respect.
Diamonds. They’re a girl’s best friend, right? Or at least that is what has been engrained into our culture for almost a hundred years. De Beer’s slogan a diamond is forever is often cited as one of the most effective add campaigns, ever. The fact that the diamond is the De Facto gem of choice to proclaim one’s love is not an accident. It was a carefully orchestrated manipulation of the markets paired with a well-planned advertisement campaign that made diamonds so culturally powerful. Heck, even I want to sing along with Marilyn in Gentleman Prefer Blondes!
Diamonds, however, are immersed in a history of violence and turmoil. Just search the term conflict diamond and you’ll find more information on the topic than you may have ever wanted to know.
The funny thing though is that diamonds are not the rarest gem. Not even close. Sapphires are believed to be as much as four times rarer than diamonds. Ruby’s and emeralds are even rarer, as well as lesser-known gems such as Moissanite.
So if you are hoping to proclaim your love (or receive such a proclamation) in a more sustainable and conscious way, consider these 5 alternatives to a diamond engagement ring:
- Family Heirlooms
If you are lucky enough to have a prized family heirloom available, don’t overlook it because it’s dated or doesn’t match your taste. Consider having the stone(s) mounted in a new setting better suited to your preference. This not only can save quite a bit of money, but has a deeper meaning than a store bought ring.
- Estate Sales
So maybe your not one of the lucky few that can benefit from a family heirloom. Consider an estate sale. While it may take a little more effort to find something that interests you, with persistence you may be able to find the perfect ring or at least a good stone that, like an heirloom, can be re-mounted. If you are from the Seattle-Tacoma area try here: http://www.estatesales.net/WA/Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue.
- Consider alternate stones
Diamonds may be the standard, but other alternatives for engagement rings include sapphires, rubies and other gems. Sapphires can be found in various colors, including “white sapphires” that have a similar look to a traditional engagement ring. As long as your partner is ok with this option, it can be a creative and depending on your gem choice, wallet friendly alternative.
- Knot rings or claddagh rings
If having a gem is not a top priority, consider a knot or claddagh ring to symbolize your love. Both rings lack gemstone, but deliver a meaningful message. There are some very beautiful knot rings that I would love to have as just a regular ring!
If you must have a diamond ring, consider purchasing a recycled ring. There are many awesome artists that sell diamonds on etsy. In addition to diamonds, I have found some great recycled gold and ethically sourced gem rings on easy as well. Prices vary greatly, but again, you can find a beautiful ring on almost any budget.
Whatever your style or budget, there’s a wonderful variety of ethical, conflict free ring choices available!