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The Detriments of Diamonds and 5 Alternatives

Updated: Jul 31



Many of us dream of the perfect wedding, and that includes the ring you are going to dawn for--ideally--the rest of your life. While diamonds have become THE gemstone for engagements and weddings, the practices used to cultivate them are considerably bad for the environment. Luckily, we are in an age where resources can be accessed like never before and there is a higher demand and interest in more sustainable options!


A Little Bit of History…

Diamonds weren’t considered status quo until about a century ago. Two men created a marketing campaign in the 1930s when diamond sales were low that literally changed the industry forever. “Diamonds are Forever” is considered the most successful campaign slogan in America’s history because it birthed cultural and social meaning into society. The ads spoke of the rarity of diamonds, and the association between the gemstone and wealth, status and true love.


The Environmental & Socioeconomic Impacts of Diamond Mining...

While mining practices are getting better every day, they still have detrimental impacts on people and the planet. Diamond mining has little regulation--even today--which has led to environmental havoc in many cases such as soil erosion, deforestation, health hazards and forcing local populations to relocate. The industry does create thousands of jobs, but is it worth knowing that they are mined via child labor and unethical working conditions?



Sustainable Alternatives & Where to Find Them…


Lab Grown Gemstones

If you care about the environment and social justice, but don’t want to sacrifice your dream of having a diamond ring, lab grown gemstones are an affordable and sustainable alternative. They are the only diamonds that are 100% conflict-free, and they never contribute to the destructive mining industry.

Cronin Jewelers--A Boulder, Colorado jeweler offering handcrafted rings made with lab grown gems and recycled metals as well as vintage rings.

MiaDonna--Woman owned business offering conflict-free, carbon neutral, lab grown gems with recycled metals. Their website provides great information on conflict diamonds here.


Wood Rings

A beautiful alternative to the traditional ring. The following companies feature sustainable wood rings that are made from reclaimed wood, saving them from the landfill and giving a second life to the tree it was made from instead of chopping down more.

Naturaleza Organic Jewelry & Wood Rings--Custom, sustainable woods and 100% recycled metals.

Touch Wood Rings--Handcrafted rings made from sustainable wood.


Second Hand

Head to your local antique store or pawn shop to find unique jewelry with a story that you can carry on into your own. Buying second hand is always sustainable as it saves on resources and materials while reducing waste and the rings’ carbon footprint. Here are some online shops that are taking the extra mile in their sustainability practices.

Ebay and Etsy offer vintage and antique jewelry at affordable prices.

Trumpet & Horn--Selection of antique rings that are naturally beautiful, eco-friendly and conflict free as well as antique-inspired rings that are created with recycled metals and antique stones, repurposed from broken vintage jewelry.


Ethically Sourced

Bario Neal--Ethical and conflict-free stones with fully traceable supply chains, from mine to market.

Brilliant Earth--Rings made from responsible sources that go beyond conflict-free and recycled metals. You can feel good about purchasing a ring that has a zero carbon footprint commitment, but be aware that some of their diamonds are sourced from Diavik and Ekati Canadian mines.


Tattoo Rings

The newer trend of tattooing wedding rings is a great option for some. Rings can break, get lost, and some people can’t wear their ring at work for safety reasons. This alternative allows you to completely replace a wedding ring, or can be visible when you take your ring off. They tend to fade more quickly than other tattoos as we use our hands for everything, but no habitats or human populations are affected by this unique option.



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