How to Create your own ethical engagement ring
When creating your own engagement ring for yourself, or your partner, there is more to consider than the cut of the diamond. We spoke to four sustainable jewellery specialists to find our how to create your own ethical engagement ring.
What makes the perfect engagement ring? It’s a piece of jewellery that is both a thoughtful and timeless present, as well as a symbolic jewel that can be totally unique to the wearer. From diamond engagement rings, to unique engagement rings, the choice is yours. One thing is certain, giving an engagement ring is one of the most personal choices one has to make. It represents a bond made to last forever. Although it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, it does have to be representative of the person wearing it. What better way to do this than to design your own. Of course when we think of a timeless, treasured item, it should also be good quality, responsibly sourced and made to last.
So how exactly do you go about creating your own ethical engagement ring? There are a lot of factors to consider, namely the responsible origin of the stone you wish to use. But have you given thought to which metal you would use, or whether the ring has been made in fair conditions? Whilst it can seem like a scary task, there are a lot of services available to help you navigate the responsibility. Never fear, we have done the research for you, and collected information from experts within the sustainable jewellery industry. Whether you have something traditional in mind, or a completely unique design, it can also be sustainable too. If however you decide to choose something already designed, we have consolidated the very best ethical engagement ring designers.
Each piece from Natalie Perry Jewellery’s range is made by hand in Natalie’s London studio. The designer uses only ethically and sustainably sourced materials, from long-standing, reputable suppliers. This includes certified Fairtrade Gold, recycled gold and recycled silver, alongside ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones, all handpicked by Natalie herself.
When it comes to creating your own ring, Natalie advises that you should speak to your jeweller about working with a sustainable metal, such as recycled gold or Fairtrade Gold. “Opting for Fairtrade Gold means you’re helping to support small-scale mining communities in Peru to earn a fair price for their gold. As well as providing extra funding for healthcare, education and environmental projects through the sale of the gold. Recycled gold is another environmentally sustainable option as the metal is already in existence, so this will have no further impact on the landscape and environment.” Another key factor is to choose to work with a local jeweller. “This means that your ring won’t have to travel hundreds, if not thousands, of miles during the production process. Being involved in the creation of the bespoke engagement ring will mean you can have regular meetings for stone sourcing and fittings. It will help the process become more personal.”
Laura Chavez, Founder of Lark & Berry – Choose Lab Grown Over Mined Diamonds
If you are inspired by the next frontier of sustainable jewellery, look to lab-grown diamonds. And the good news is that it doesn’t make the process of designing the ethical engagement ring any different than using a mined stone. Lab-grown diamonds are exactly the same as the mined ones, and the design process is the same too. The differences are however, in the environmental and social impact. For this reason, Laura Chavez, Founder of Lark & Berry Fine jewellers, only deals with lad grown stones when designing her pieces. “With cultured diamonds, there’s no land or wildlife displacement, no groundwater pollution and absolutely no chance of human conflict. With cultured diamonds, there is no more diamond mining needed!”
When considering the designs, Laura tells us that her “engagement rings are very personal. If I’m completely honest, I don’t think one should worry about the latest trend. It’s best to imagine your perfect ring and design it around the concept you love. This is a special ring you’ll be wearing your whole life, after all. At Lark & Berry, we are really passionate about aiding in customising your engagement ring to your exact specifications and tastes. Once you have chosen all of the elements, they will do a 3D CAD (Computer-aided design) and send a video of this life-like representation. So you can be 100% sure that your engagement ring will look like the ring of your dreams.”
Arabel Lebrusan is an award-winning jewellery designer and a key member of the ethical jewellery movement. With over 15 years of experience dedicated to beautiful design, she began her journey travelling the Far East, learning the ins and outs of the trade. She creates bespoke engagement rings, seeing the ring itself as significant as the proposal. That’s why the idea of designing your own engagement ring can be so intimidating: “It’s a story we’re familiar with,’ she told us. ‘You’re ready to take the plunge and commit, you love the idea of presenting your partner with a thoughtful ring different from the rest, something breathtaking and memorable. However you feel totally intimidated by the notion of designing something so meaningful.”
Her solution is her new ’Propose with a Gemstone package’, as a middle ground. First, they invite you to describe your ideal gemstone. They will source it for you, in the most ethical way possible. Arabel guarantees a stone with a traceable backstory, hand-picked especially for the special recipient. The process is also a unique way to pop the question. “The exciting process of designing the ring is an experience that the couple can share and cherish together. Remove the risk of wrong and say yes to the right, ethical gemstone.”
If a diamond engagement ring isn’t for you, then why not look at coloured gemstones? Fenton offer a unique service helping you to create a unique and modern ring, using only ethically sourced stones. By managing the entire supply chain, Fenton ensure that the stones you receive have been sourced responsibly. “We at Fenton only source from countries with high mining standards that are regularly audited such as Sri Lanka. We hope that this will push other countries such as Myanmar or Madagascar to adopt similar standards.” When it comes to selecting a coloured gemstone, they recommend that you “ask what treatments the stone has received. Some treatments can impact the longevity of the stone (e.g. glass filling.) However heat treatment is fine and widely used.”
It’s also worth considering your lifestyle. Are you very careful to store and care for your jewellery correctly, or do you prefer hard wearing pieces that you’ll never take off? Different stones have different qualities so it’s important to consider what will work for you. For instance opals are very soft and prone to scratching. Fenton offer a variety of stones available with every style. “Emeralds can be a bit brittle so someone with a very active lifestyle may prefer a sapphire or a ruby instead.”
Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing.
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