Friday, May 21, 2010

Eco-Friendly Wedding Rings

I bought my wedding band before really getting interested in green weddings.  My soon-to-be husband had given me a beautiful solitaire engagement ring, and I simply bought the matching wedding band.  Sam picked something that looked good in the same store for himself.  I thought I'd be wearing those rings until I was old and gray, but getting pregnant changed that plan - when my fingers fattened up like everything else, they didn't go back to their normal size after my son was born.  In the market once again for wedding bands, my options were to have my rings sized (pricey for platinum bands), or find something else, and something eco-friendly.  Around that time, a family ring was passed down to me, and my problem was solved in the most eco-friendly way possible - using something that has already been used and loved, and not purchasing new.

If you're not so lucky or don't like the idea of wearing a not-new ring, there are other options available. Eco-friendly wedding rings are getting easier to find and more stylish.  Here's a few ideas to consider when you're shopping around for that perfect wedding band:

-Rings that have been made from recycled gold.  In some cases you can bring in gold that you have, and have it melted down and used for your ring.

-Canada-mined diamonds.  Still ecologically destructive, but at least the workers are paid fair wages, unlike in some other countries.

-Lab-grown diamonds.  They look exactly the same as naturally formed diamonds, but with no negative environmental impact.

-Skip diamonds in favour of less precious (and more eco-friendly) gems.

-Skip gold, platinum and diamonds altogether and get a wooden wedding band.  My favourite is shown at the top of this post, and is Canada-made, from Touch Wood Rings.

-There's a lot of talk about "blood diamonds", which are diamonds sold to fund wars.  Very, very few diamonds are blood diamonds (it's estimated about 0.2% of diamonds).  If you're concerned, you can ask the jewelry store to provide a Kimberley Process Certification, which certifies that your diamond was not a blood diamond.

-Get a ring custom made by searching websites like Etsy for just the right designer.

A couple of my favourite websites for wedding bands are Green Karat, Brilliant Earth, Etsy, and Touch Wood Rings.  If you're in Winnipeg, Birks has the most comprehensive environmental policy that I've seen.

Good luck ring shopping!


Maureen McHale said...

Have you heard of DNA2Diamonds? They create eco-friendly diamonds for engagement rings, memorial jewelry, and to commemorate other life moments (birth of a child, anniversary, etc.)

They are genuine diamonds that are created in a lab -- unlike earth mined diamonds that destroy ecosystems.

What's really different is that they take a few locks of hair or a small amount of cremated ashes to add to the diamond seed...growing a unique and personal diamond.

Put the brides hair and the grooms hair together -- you have the ultimate family heirloom, conversation piece and the most beautiful colored diamond engagement ring!

Here's an article about them:

Check out their website:

Jess said...

Hi Maureen,

Thanks for your comment and insight on DNA2Diamonds. I've heard of these but chose not to include them in my post. I can't get over the creepiness of wearing hair and ashes in a ring, and while I'd definitely prefer not to wear one, for people looking for a really unique ring it's certainly an option to explore.

Other readers? Has anyone seen one of these rings in person? What do you think?



Anonymous said...

I love the idea of wooden rings, and had I been aware of them when I got married I would have definitely put them at the top of my list. It is also an excellent option for those of us suffering with nickel allergies (which is in most jewlery)

Thanks for sharing Jess!