by Benni Carol’s Eco-network supplier Veronica at Aura Muse

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that your wedding and engagement ring is not only a symbol of your eternal commitment to your partner but also something that should represent you and your values. That’s why you won’t probably settle for the first ring you see but you’ll probably keep looking for quite some time until you find the perfect ring, the one that makes you say: this is THE one! After all, you’re going to wear that ring for the rest of your life, so it’s really worth making a very ponderate decision about it.

And if you’re anything like me, you probably want to be 100% sure that every time you’ll look at that ring on your finger you can also feel confident that your choice has made no harm to our planet and to anyone involved in the making of it.

This is why I am sharing today this little guide, with a few tips and suggestions to look out for when shopping for your ethical and sustainable engagement and wedding rings.

Table of Contents:

Ethical engagement rings and wedding rings | Ethical shopping guide

But, before we dive into my guide, let’s take a step back and let’s first talk about ethical jewellery.


The truth is that when it comes to something being “ethical”, there would not be a standardised definition of it, as it means different things to different people, according to their personal perception of things.

That’s why it’s so difficult to make an ethical decision, especially if we consider that what we may feel as right can be felt as wrong from another person’s point of view.

Some people won’t even venture into this field. Some would simply argue that nothing in this world is ethical, so why even bother? Are your computer, tablet and telephone ethically made? And what about your clothes?

Ethical Wedding Rings: Always Question Your Choices

But luckily over the last few years a growing awareness towards ethically and sustainably made products has seen a constant rising. People are starting to question their choices, they are starting to shop in a more ethical and sustainable way, slow shopping is becoming the new way to go and people are happy to compromise on a few bits for the sake of making a more conscious and ethical choice. And if it’s true on one side that the way our society and market work won’t probably change in a day, it is also crucial that we understand that as consumers we have the power to change the way things work. Our own decisions shape the way the market evolves, they create trends and new offerings.

Why is it important that you look for an ethical and sustainable ring?

The traditional mining of gemstones and precious metals often destroys the environment and the communities around the mine. Cyanide, mercury, and other toxic substances are regularly released into the environment due to dirty gold mining, contaminating waters and contributing to the destruction of entire ecosystems. In diamond and gemstone mining, violencehuman right abuseschild labor and environmental devastation is still a serious problem that is often overlooked by many.

The so popular “conflict-free” term used by most jewellers and stone suppliers to market diamonds, gives the false idea that those diamonds come from ethical practices.

This classification is, however, just a marketing term instituted by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and it narrowly defines conflict diamonds as diamonds that finance rebel movements against recognized governments. It is true though that this definition means very little, if nothing at all, in terms of human rights and environmental issues.

So, do ethical diamonds really exist? What are the most ethical gemstones? And what metals are sustainable and eco-friendly?

Here are a few tips to help you navigate into this rather broad field in a more informed and conscious way.

Ethical engagement rings and wedding rings
Ethical engagement rings and wedding rings


1. Sustainable and ethical metals

Mining gold, silver and precious metals can greatly impact our planet in a negative way. Recycled gold and silver don’t really solve the problem, since the demand of these metals will always be higher than their supply. Recycling gold and silver is nevertheless a more sustainable alternative to freshly mined ones. Ethical alternatives actually exist, like fair trade and fair mined gold and silver. But also more sustainable metals like steeltitaniumbronze or copper make a truly unique and one of a kind choice. And who said your wedding ring needs to be a metal one? The possibilities are really endless nowadays, and you could even opt for a wooden ring, a meteorite ring or why not, a tattooed ring!

2. Sustainable and ethical diamonds


In 2005 De Beers Group launched the Best Practice Principles (BPPs) Assurance Programme. It is the strictest set of standards in the whole industry and it basically ensures that all diamonds coming from the De Beers mines are not only conflict-free but also environmentally and socially conscious.

That’s why one of your best bets could be a diamond coming from the DTC sightholders which are indeed companies that buy from the De Beers diamond mines.

Other sources of ethical diamonds include CanadaAustraliaBotswana. Here mining practices are strongly regulated and include safe working conditions and fair wages alongside humanitarian efforts in embettering the lives of local communities.

Ethical engagement rings and wedding rings
Ethical engagement rings and wedding rings

3. Alternatives to Diamonds

All diamonds, however, are mined so they will have some kind of impact on our planet. If you’re looking for a “greener” gemstone there are tons of alternatives to consider.

Let’s see a few examples together.

Synthetic Diamonds: like lab-grown diamonds, moissanite and cubic zirconia.

Natural Alternatives: beside synthetic diamonds, there are also natural alternatives that imitates the beautiful luster of diamonds. Herkimer diamond for example is a very popular choice among ethical engagement and wedding rings. It is not an actual diamond but a beautiful quartz first discovered in Herkimer County, NY. This gemstone is mined above the ground, on the surface, leaving very little to no impact at all to the site. Very similar to Herkimer diamonds, County Lake diamonds and Arizona Payson diamonds are beautiful, glimmering gemstones collected in the USA using only hand tools.

Coloured Gemstones: popular alternatives to diamonds are coloured gemstones such as sapphiresrubies and emeralds. The gemstone mining industry poses many concerns too when it comes to ethics and sustainability but mindful options do actually exist for any kind of gemstones.

Generally speaking, small scale, artisanal, community or family-based mining activities are a more ethical way of collecting gemstones. In Tanzania, for example, sometimes entire villages are involved in the mining activities and hence share the profit for the upliftment and well being of the community.

In addition, some countries have a strong set of rules and strict regulations that assures all mining activities are done in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

Ethical engagement rings and wedding rings
Ethical engagement rings and wedding rings

Sri Lanka for example favors small operations over large companies and automated machiner. Here miners must give a cash deposit to obtain a mining license. When the mining is completed and the land has been restored, these deposits are returned. Otherwise they’re used to rehabilitate the land.

Similarly, BrazilMalawi and Australia also adopt stringent laws in the mining industry. That’s why gemstones like Australian sapphiresMalawi rubiesSri Lankan sapphires and Brazilian emeralds are generally considered an ethical choice.

Another safe bet for sapphire is surely Montana. Montana sapphires are often collected from a river with little environmental impact. Here, anyone mining for sapphires or minerals must adhere to the strict Montana guidelines.

It is true though that as a consumer, it can be really difficult to have access to specific information about the source and traceability of a gemstone.

From my experience, as a jeweller, it takes a lot of time, patience and perseverance to build a web of reliable gemstone suppliers. You need to ask questions, sometimes you have to face rejection and silences but other times you’re lucky enough to find honest and transparent suppliers.

Veronica’s personal tip when shopping for an ethical engagement or wedding ring:

“As a consumer, is it not always that easy to understand where the diamonds or gemstones come from, so the safest thing to do would be to shop from makers and artisans who have ethical and sustainable practices in place. Remember, if you are starting to plan a wedding in a more conscious and eco-friendly way, don’t be shy and ask as many questions as you feel to your providers, this is by far one of the best ways to make sure you will be working with someone who shares your same values and ethics.”

If you want to find out more about Aura Muse’s stunning and unique ethical engagement and wedding rings, make sure to check out her website at 

If you want to know more about planning an eco-friendly and sustainable wedding, feel free to check out all our eco-friendly and sustainable planning resources here below:


We are a team of two wedding photographers covering weddings all across Italy. We specialise in sustainable intimate weddings and elopements. To enquire about our photography and learn more about our style and approach, feel free to GET IN TOUCH!

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