When you purchase an ethically crafted ring, you can turn one of the greatest moments of your life into a small step towards building a better world.
But why should you concern yourself about where your diamonds come from? That rock on your finger may be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen but it may have caused untold harm to the environment and humanity.
Traditional diamond mining strips the earth’s delicate landscape and creates irreversible ecological damage. Mining is also a huge source of conflict in many countries and many human rights are violated in mines.
It’s therefore our responsibility as conscious consumers, to make an effort to increase demand for ethically sourced diamonds that reduce or prevent such issues.
Keep reading to learn more about ethical diamonds and how to choose the gem that’s right for you.
- Where to Buy Ethically Sourced and Sustainable Diamonds?
- What are Ethically Sourced Diamonds?
- What are Eco Friendly & Sustainable Diamonds?
- How To Ensure You Are Buying an Ethical and Sustainable Diamond
- Best Diamond Alternatives
Where to Buy Ethically Sourced and Sustainable Diamonds?
If you’re looking for the perfect diamond jewelry that you can wear comfortably without wondering about its origin story, these are some of the best places to buy eco-friendly diamonds:
Vrai does not play when it comes to sustainable diamonds. The brand offers carbon-neutral diamonds grown in the US using hydropower to ensure they don’t harm the environment.
Above sustainability, Vrai is committed to transparency and quality, hence crafts its rings without the markups. The rings come in over 900 styles including pieces with either white or black diamonds, stacking rings, and various stone sizes.
Based in: USA. Ships worldwide.
2. Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth is highly focused on sustainability and hence features lab-grown diamonds and other sustainable gemstones. The brand’s rings come in different styles, from solitaire to vintage-inspired.
Brilliant Earth follows strict ethical practices in sourcing diamonds and will only purchase diamonds that come from mines that follow strict labor, trade, and environmental standards.
Based in: USA. Ships worldwide.
Kobelli boasts of the most extensive online collections of rings made from conflict-free diamonds at very low prices. The company ensures that all its diamonds comply with the United Nations Resolutions.
Don’t want an already made ring? Kobelli will let you design your ring to make it more personal.
Based in: Los Angeles. Ships internationally.
4. Taylor & Hart
Taylor & Hart features personalized rings made using ethically sourced diamonds. The company ensures the diamonds not only adhere to the Kimberley Process but are also conflict-free.
The company will walk you through creating your perfect piece in just four weeks.
Based in: London, UK. Ships worldwide.
The brand uses certified conflict-free diamonds only and all of its jewelry comes with a lifetime warranty, and the diamonds arrive with IGI certification cards.
Based in: Soho, USA. Ships internationally.
What are Ethically Sourced Diamonds?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding diamonds’ mining, making it easy to get confused between ethically sourced and conflict-free diamonds.
Conflict-free diamonds are diamonds that have not financed civil wars. Ethical diamonds on the other hand go further than being conflict-free. They ensure fair pay, safe working conditions, environmentally sound practices, and no human rights abuses. Let’s take a deeper look at each of the two types of diamonds.
Ethically sourced Diamonds
Ethically sourced diamonds are diamonds that are sourced ethically and fairly. The miners are paid fair wages, safe working conditions, environmentally sound practices, and their human rights are upheld.
With ethically sourced diamonds, the miners’ welfare is paramount. Mining companies also go a step further to fund healthcare, social infrastructure, and education work to offer miners economic stability.
Conflict-free diamonds are diamonds that are mined in an area that is free from any kind of terrorism or terror-related issues. The proceeds from the diamonds are also not used to finance civil war.
Conflict-free diamonds also mean that the diamonds have not been mined in a way that led to torture or enslavement of miners.
What are Eco Friendly & Sustainable Diamonds?
Eco-friendly and sustainable diamonds include ethically mined diamonds, conflict-free diamonds, lab-produced diamonds, and recycled diamonds.
To better understand sustainable diamonds, let’s take a look at what lab-produced and recycled diamonds are.
One of the best options for ethical diamonds is laboratory-created diamonds. These are real diamonds grown in high-tech laboratories—as opposed to having been extracted from the earth. The lab production process mimics the natural process through which diamonds were formed in the Earth’s mantle. Therefore, lab diamonds consist of carbon atoms in a lattice crystal structure, the same as mined diamonds.
Lab-created diamonds are just as beautiful and durable as natural diamonds. But what makes them better is that they have none of the human and environmental consequences of mining.
They are also much cheaper, allowing you to choose a larger center stone or save some money.
The biggest disadvantage of buying lab-grown diamonds is that their resale value is negligible.
Recycled diamonds are another great option for sustainable diamonds. Recycled diamonds are diamonds that have been reused, recut, or reset.
Some diamond dealers purchase old diamonds, remove them from their settings, clean them up, and re-cut them if necessary. Then, they sell the stones as recycled.
By buying recycled diamonds, you reduce the demand for mined diamonds. While the source of the diamonds may have been unethical, recycling the diamonds prevents continued future harm from unethical or improper diamond mining practices, thus making it better for the planet.
How To Ensure You Are Buying an Ethical and Sustainable Diamond
Choosing the right diamond can be a tough decision especially when you imagine that the diamond might have funded war, caused gross human abuse, or harmed the environment while being mined.
As an eco-conscious consumer here are a few considerations to help you choose the best diamond that good for you and for the planet:
- Buy from brands that are committed to the ethical sourcing of diamonds. Such brands are likely to ask all the right questions in regards to mining. They also actively push for certification changes in the diamond industry and fund organizations working to support small-scale miners around the world.
- Ask for any independent certifications for quality and transparency measures before purchasing a diamond.
- Look for brands that are committed to using renewable energy in their mining process. If they’re not using renewable energy, then they are purchasing carbon offsets.
- Look for brands that recycle water or other production materials or take steps to reduce how much of these materials are used.
- For brands that claim to sell sustainable and environmentally friendly diamonds, make sure that they bear a Sustainable Grown Diamond certification as proof.
- Don’t buy diamonds sourced from countries like Zimbabwe and Angola, where human rights abuses in and around mines have been well documented. Instead, buy diamonds from Canada, Namibia, and Botswana.
Related Article: Ethically sourced jewelry
Best Diamond Alternatives
If you’d like to go beyond diamonds, there are lots of great diamond alternatives you could consider as well. This includes synthetic diamonds as well as other, less “dirty” gemstones.
Synthetic diamonds have the same sparkle, but no dirt. It’s easy to track the origin of gemstones, unlike diamonds, because they pass through fewer hands.
Lab-made stones that can mimic mined diamonds are a great alternative to diamonds. They are considerably cheaper than mined diamonds, but still the most expensive alternatives to mined diamonds. Lab-made diamonds offer the same beauty and sparkle as any natural diamond.
Another option is to choose a recycled diamond. This could mean heirlooms or already-worn diamonds that are removed from their settings, cleaned, and re-cut if necessary. Recycled diamonds reduce the demand for newly-mined diamonds.
The most recent diamond alternatives are blockchain diamonds. These are diamonds whose source can be verified. Companies have started using blockchain—the technology behind Bitcoin—to create a chain of information that’s nearly impossible to manipulate. This makes it easy to verify diamond supply chains.
Whether you’re buying a gift, something fancy for yourself, or the engagement ring for the love of your life, buying an ethically sourced diamond is the better, more responsible choice.