I originally published this post on my personal blog, Project:Joy., but since I’m switching most of my ethical buying stuff over to this blog, I figured I would simply adapt it and re-post it.
When my husband and I were engaged, we decided that we wanted as much of our wedding as possible to be done in an ethical way. A major part of that, and the most lasting part, is our rings. So we began researching places to find ethical wedding rings and along the way stumbled into a few other places to buy jewelry that you or I could feel good about purchasing and wearing. Here are 8 of my favorites from my engagement days. Eventually I will probably find and publish more, but this is a decent start.
1. Glasswing Jewellery
I list this jeweller (Kate) first because she was the most transparent and diligent in getting back to me, and has some stunning, simplistic designs. Based in the UK, most of her metal is recycled, and you can find many recycled or fair trade gems on her website. Some of the designs on her site even feature sea glass that she has collected herself. It was my personal experience with this artisan that if you email her with a question regarding the ethics of her material or where the material for a certain piece comes from, she will email back in a very reasonable time frame and answer your question honestly and directly.
Geared for: Everyday wear, weddings, special occasions.
$$: I found these to be on the lower end of the price spectrum as far as handmade, fair trade or recycled material jewelry goes.
2. Amanda Li Hope
Based in London, Amanda is another jeweller who impressed me with their transparency and diligence in replying to my questions. This shop features funky yet minimalistic jewelry. On her website she clearly labels which pieces are fair trade certified, but if you have additional questions like I did, she replies quickly and personally. In fact we ended up having an email conversation about the ups and downs of online shopping for wedding bands, and the frustrations that come from searching for fair trade products.
Geared for: Mainly weddings and special occasions.
$$: A bit on the expensive side, but worth it if you want good quality pieces to keep for a long time.
3. La More Design
Annie runs this Etsy shop out of New York City and creates some b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l work. Her ring castings are made from recycled gold, and she uses diamonds that come from Botswana, a country known for careful management of it’s diamond mines, and for it’s efforts to use revenues from the mining industry as fuel to help the local economy (you can read more about that by clicking here.) You can find really interesting and unique items in her shop as well as more classic designs.
Geared for: Weddings, special occasions.
$$: The prices on engagement rings are more than reasonable (easily equal to or less than you will find at most retailers). Wedding band prices are slightly more expensive than you’d find at a retailer such as Michael Hill, but in my opinion it’s worth it for the personal touch of having it specially made with ethical material.
4. Brilliant Earth
With perhaps one of the biggest selections of ethical jewelry and wedding rings I’ve seen thus far, you can find just about anything you want on the Brilliant Earth website. The people who created the company care so much about the global community and making sure every piece of jewelry they produce is free of any injustice, that I’m just going to send you to the about page to read more if you want to because there’s way too much good stuff for me to type it all here. However I will say that if you purchase from Brilliant Earth, you can feel pretty darn sure that your product is ethical in it’s origin, and that 5% of all profits are put back into helping communities that are harmed by the jewelry industry.
Geared for: Weddings, special occasions.
$$: I’d say this shop is more on the expensive side. The grand selection and attention to detail and community do come at a cost. However if you’ve got a bit of extra change to spend on your next big gift to yourself or on your wedding rings, I suggest you take a look through this site before checking out traditional retailers.
So the two reasons I’ve included Marisa’s Etsy shop are that she accepts your old jewelry and will recycle it for you into something new, and she has super pretty, simple rings that you can stack. Her shop, although small, features some really cool everyday jewelry, as well as a couple of rings suitable for engagement or weddings. Her pieces are made from recycled metals and gemstones, or lab created gemstones. She also will personalise certain pieces with your initials.
Geared for: Mainly everyday wear, with some pieces for special occasions or weddings.
$$: There’s a pretty wide range, it really depends what you want!
6. The Fair Trade Jewellery Co
A Canadian company that uses all Canadian diamonds in their rings, they have some gorgeous pieces. The metal they use is all either fair trade, fair mined or recycled. While the collections are mainly geared toward weddings and special occasions, they claim to have done some really cool custom works as well.
Geared for: weddings, special occasions.
$$: Prices are pretty reasonable, and only slightly more expensive than what you’d find in most popular retailers.
7. Global Mothers
A Vancouver company, their products come from small artisans across the world. The
items are fair trade, and many of the profits go back into the communities and community programs. The designs are so adorable and awesome, every time I peruse the site I have to stop myself from buying just about everything I see. Most of their designs are great for just your everyday ”going for coffee with the girls” outfits, but some of their pieces could be totally dressed up for a night out.
Geared for: Everyday wear.
$$: About the same as you might find in a boutique or artisan market.
8. Last, but certainly not least, Ten Thousand Villages
I’ve linked you to their American site because quite honestly, the Canadian site needs help… just skip the line and go the American route. ANYWAY, I highly recommend you take a quick look at the Ten Thousand Villages site. The company was started in 1946, and by 2013 had been named one of the ”World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Forbes Magazine. All of their materials are fair trade, and the deals made with the artisans help them to become self-sufficient and avoid debt.
On their site you can find an array of goods, and among those are really cute pieces of jewelry! Most of it is perfect for everyday wear, although some can be worn for more formal or dressed up events. If you venture to the Canadian site, take a peek at the super cute throw pillows and cushions…because I said so.
Geared for: Everyday wear, formal events.
$$: Similar to what you might find in a boutique or gift shop.