Weddings are some of the most memorable experiences a person can have. And engagement and wedding rings are lifetime mementos of the experiences and promise a wedding entails. Because rings last a lifetime, we must purchase them from the most sustainable sources(i.e., sustainable wedding rings).
Your wedding band should be a symbol of love, not of the abuse and exploitation that occurs in the mining industry.
We chose these jewelry brands according to the quality of their work and values, taking careful consideration of the following:
- Ethically-sourced diamonds
- Recycled Gold/Fair Trade Gold
- Sustainable and eco friendly practices
- Giving back to the community/Diversity
Not all the jewelers below check all the boxes, but you can rest assured that the brands were chosen specifically with the above values in mind.
Melissa Joy Manning - US
Founded back in 1997, Melissa Joy Manning is a socially responsible fine jewelry brand with studios in California and New York City.
Since the brand’s inception, they have made it their goal to redefine the meaning of ‘precious.’ Each piece is made by hand with recycled materials whenever possible.
About The Rings
Melissa Joy Manning (MJM) has quite the wedding ring collection. Whether you’re looking for the perfect engagement ring or your wedding bands themselves, their collection of sustainable engagement rings is worth taking a look at.
They have a variety of stones in different cuts—white diamond, black diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire, among many others.
If you’re a fan of sleek, clean designs, then their selection of solitaire engagement rings is bound to catch your attention.
Their pronged Reclaimed Diamond Ring is a small but brilliant grey diamond set into a sleek gold band made from recycled gold. This piece is simple enough to wear anywhere but still eye-catching due to its brilliance and light.
If you’re interested in multiple small stones, then you might like their White Diamond Eternity Band. It’s a small band with a melee of 22 diamonds set into prongs for an elegant but dazzling look.
Wedding rings have all metal and all stone options, so you and your partner can choose the right amount of sparkle you want for the big day.
If you have loose diamonds or heirloom in the family you would like to refine and make more modern, you can ask MJM to create a custom ring using your stones.
As a company in the sustainable jewelry industry, MJM is dedicated to the idea of using only the best and most ethical materials for its products.
Since their inception, they have only used 100% recycled metals (recycled 14 and 18k gold and sterling silver).
Moreover, they only used ethically sourced stones, ensuring that you are getting conflict-free engagement rings. After all, your engagement ring should bring you joy, not the suffering of others.
Most of the stones they use are made with recycled diamonds (like the engagement ring we featured above) or sourced from Canada. They also focus on sourcing stones locally to ensure that the vendors they buy from meet US labor standards and regulations.
All stones are sourced following the Kimberly process, ensuring that their engagement rings are made using conflict-free diamonds.
Ethics And Values
All MJM pieces are handmade. With their green-certified California studio, their production process is thoughtful and ethical from sourcing to finishing. You can read more about their ethos here.
They provide jobs to local artisans, and all pieces are designed and crafted to last generations. They are against the idea of disposable jewelry in fast fashion and instead advocate for sustainability through better quality materials and production.
Their processes are also rooted in a zero waste philosophy, something already evident in their choice to use recycled materials as much as they possibly can. You can learn more about zero waste principles in our quick guide for beginners.
If you want to integrate some of those principles into your wedding, here is our guide to your unique and creative zero waste wedding.
Additionally, they also give back to the community! They donated around 5% of their net profits in the last year, and they continue to do more for those they can help. Their areas of giving are hunger, the environment, children, and social justice.
Catbird - US
If you are familiar with the concept of stacking rings and delicate, dainty pieces of jewelry, Catbird probably had a lot to do with that.
This New York-based jewelry brand has been a trendsetter well-beloved by its following since their first line in 2007.
About The Rings
If there’s one word to describe the ethical engagement ring and wedding bands available at Catbird, it would be delicate. Their designs are sleek, elegant, and powerful without being overwhelming.
Their collection of engagement rings carry different stones, from classic white diamond to softer stones like opal. If you aren’t the biggest fan of slim bands, don’t worry. Their three-stone pieces are hefty and sparkly enough to carry you through your big day.
Violette the Swan is a Catbird original with a thin band and three gorgeous white diamonds. One as a centerpiece and the other two as pear-shaped complements. The center diamond is nearly colorless, casting a striking brilliance that perfectly contrasts the 1mm gold band.
Their wedding rings don’t disappoint either! The Fairy Light eternity band is the perfect match for the Violette. It features a curved band and a ring of micro pavé diamonds, exhibiting a sparkle that will put other eternity bands to shame.
It is worth noting, however, that not all rings they sell are Catbird originals. They also carry rings and other products from various jewelers.
Most of the diamonds Catbird works with are recycled or reclaimed. Their stones come from finished vintage or deadstock jewelry, giving these gems a second chance at life.
Because the diamonds are recycled, there were no additional resources taken from the Earth in their production, thus limiting the diamonds’ negative environmental and social impact.
Although it is challenging to trace the source of reclaimed diamonds, the fact that they’re recycled means they are no longer contributing to the harmful effects of unethical diamond mining.
Catbird also uses certified conflict-free diamonds that follow the Kimberly Process. All the rose-cut diamonds in their collection are conflict-free. They consider the actual source of the diamond and the working conditions in the cutting facilities where the gems are processed.
Some of Catbird’s styles are also available with lab-grown diamonds. As we’ve previously mentioned, there aren’t any differences between lab-grown and mined diamonds, so you don’t have to worry about the authenticity of your ring.
The brand is also a member of No Dirty Gold, a campaign pushing for reforming the gold industry. Not all of Catbird’s precious metals are recycled, but they source all the metals ethically and work only with the best suppliers in the industry.
Ethics and Values
All Catbird products are made in their tiny Brooklyn Studio. Of course, all employees are treated well in a well-ventilated and brightly lit location perfect for crafting only the best ethical jewelry.
Plus, their studio, office, and warehouse are in the same area, making it more eco friendly and highly valuable to us here at Puratium.
They also give back to the community and donate 1% of all sales annually—they have since donated more than $1 million.
Catbird also has an Equity Pledge, which promises to become more inclusive and diverse throughout all production levels. In their studio, e-commerce, store, and office. You can read their 2021 update here.
Clean Origin - US
Clean Origin, true to its name, is a jewelry brand that sources 100% ethical diamonds. How? By changing the origin of diamonds entirely by sourcing only lab-grown diamonds.
The brand was founded relatively recently (in 2017), yet they have already established themselves in the clean jewelry industry through their efforts to deliver only the best and most ethical products.
About The Rings
At Clean Origin, you can get preset solitaire rings and bridal sets, but you can also get one customized if you have particular needs in mind.
Their preset solitaires are available in white or yellow gold bands and are set on a prong—classic, sleek, elegant, and available in various carats and sizes.
Additionally, their premade designs aren’t limited to solitaires. They also have three-stone rings, halo rings, and regal bridal sets.
However, if those rings aren’t what you’re looking for, you can also build engagement rings and wedding bands. You can customize the whole process, from choosing the setting for the rings to selecting the diamonds in the cut and style you want.
They also have a 100-day return policy, so you’ll have a fallback if you aren’t the biggest fan of the results.
All Clean Origin rings are made with lab-created diamonds, certifying that they are entirely conflict-free. These diamonds are not simply ethically sourced but are actually and fully guaranteed to be made without any negative issues surrounding mining diamonds.
And to clarify, artificial diamonds or lab-grown diamonds are pretty much the same as mined diamonds. They are made using a laboratory version of the natural process that created diamonds mined from nature.
The brilliance, carat, and other essential elements of a mined diamond are all present in lab-grown diamonds. Plus, they’re also significantly cheaper! They do not have any significant differences other than their origin.
All the diamonds are independently certified by laboratories, including GCAL and IGI. If you want to know more about how they certify their diamonds, this page explains in detail how they go about the process.
Furthermore, the company only uses recycled metal in all of its settings. Whether it’s white, yellow, or rose gold, the responsible Jewelry Council certifies the metal.
Ethics And Values
Clean Origin prides itself on being 100% ethical, honest, quality, and fully there for you as a customer. They offer very competitive prices for their products without skipping out on the quality of their service.
All of their diamond engagement rings are hand-finished, so you can be assured that all of them are made only with the very best quality.
Kimai - Belgium
Kimaï is an Antwerp-based jewelry brand that started to clear up the confusing process that occurs in the diamond trade.
Their belief is that beauty shouldn’t cost the Earth, and they try to simplify their supply chain as much as possible.
About The Rings
Kimaï offers only a handful of ethical wedding and engagement rings. But what we love most about their collection is that they feature creative designs that will set your engagement ring apart from others.
The Serena Ring is a beautiful, asymmetrical ring with a slim curved band with a pear diamond that’ll snake up your finger for a beautiful flourish.
The 1.15mm band creates a lovely wave with pavé diamonds set along the ring. The off-center pear can be customized according to your carat preference. With a total of 45 diamonds, this unique engagement ring is bound to catch anybody’s attention.
If you’re looking for something simple for your wedding rings, the 2mm Comfort Ring is a classic wedding band that will complement any engagement ring. If you want your ethical engagement ring to be the star of the show, then this is the perfect pair.
All Kimaï products are made with lab-created diamonds only, thus guaranteeing an utterly conflict-free diamond. Their lab-grown diamonds only exchange a handful of hands before eventually ending up with them.
And as we’ve previously established, these lab-grown diamonds are very much the same as those mined in a diamond foundry. Except that diamonds produced in a lab require less energy and are less taxing toward the environment.
For a more in-depth discussion about the brand’s diamonds, you can read all about them here.
To only use the highest quality conscious materials, Kimaï only use precious recycled metals. More specifically, recycled gold.
They work with local goldsmiths in Antwerp who melt down old pieces and give them a new chance at life.
Ethics and Values
All Kimaï products are made in Antwerp, where they work with trusted artisans to produce only the best, most stunning pieces.
Since all their jewelry is made locally, they can pay better attention to producing fair trade products and a deep, ethical commitment.
They also make sure to apply sustainability in their packaging. All their jewelry comes packaged in a reusable, recycled cardboard box. Plus, all shipments are made with a neutral carbon footprint.
Brilliant Earth - US
At its heart, Brilliant Earth is all about responsible sourcing, community development, and environmental protection.
Based in San Fransisco, their ultimate goal is to create incomparably beautiful jewelry at an unparalleled ethical standard on all levels.
About the Rings
Brilliant Earth has a sizable collection of ethically sourced engagement rings and some lovely wedding rings perfect for any individual.
Their gender-neutral collection contains a set of wedding and engagement rings that are suitable for everyone. Premade designer collections are often made for women or have a strict gender binary, so it’s refreshing to see a jewelry brand become more inclusive.
The Astra Diamond Ring is the perfect ring if you’re looking for something straightforward, but that still has its quirks. It has a 1.4mm band with randomly scattered diamonds along the ring—an elegant and spontaneous feature.
If you and your partner aren’t looking for diamonds and want something more subdued, then the Matte Hammered Wedding Band is indeed up your alley. Its rounded inner edge gives it the comfort required for everyday wear.
You can also wear it as a complement to your engagement ring.
One unique feature that Brilliant Earth offers that other jewelers do not have is they go above and beyond the industry standard.
Conflict diamonds, as they are currently referred to in the industry, fund deadly civil wars. Conflict-free diamonds, as verified by the Kimberley Process, are guaranteed free of those types of conflict.
However, it still does not cover the unethical mining practices that go on in diamond mining communities. For instance, it does not ensure that the diamonds were sourced fair trade. In an industry where workers are frequently denied fair wages, it’s crucial to start addressing this issue as well.
Their “Beyond Conflict Free” Diamonds cover human rights abuses, environmental degradation, safe labor practices, and community development. Thus, ensuring that they only use genuinely ethically sourced diamonds.
They also often use recycled metals (gold, silver, and platinum). They source their recycled gold and other recycled metals from various post-consumer materials.
Ethics and Values
Brilliant Earth’s dedication to excellent ethical practices is evident in how they source their gemstones and diamonds. They even use blockchain technology to ensure customers know exactly where the diamond is sourced.
Beyond just conflict-free, the brand strives to source diamonds fair trade. If you are interested in learning more, read about their attempt at fair trade diamond sourcing here.
More than that, though, they are also committed to sustainability beyond just the materials themselves. Their rings are packaged in a wooden box made from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood.
Brilliant Earth is also a certified carbon-neutral company, which means they offset their carbon emissions through investments in green initiatives. You can also read more about how to reduce your carbon footprint here.
You can also learn more about their responsibility efforts here.
Noémie - US
Noémie is a fine jewelry company with a deep focus on the belief that the journey is as important as the destination, promoting the value that jewelry shouldn’t just be for special occasions. They believe that jewelry is personal, designed for you to last a lifetime, and more.
About The Rings
Noémie has a relatively more minor collection of ethical engagement rings and wedding rings compared to other brands we’ve featured. But you can easily find a stunning ring perfect for you on your big day.
Their 3-row White Diamond Band is a powerful ring suitable for those who want something relatively simple but doesn’t hold back on the brilliance. Made with 3/4 carat micro pavé diamonds, this wedding ring is all shine and attention.
You can get the ring in yellow, white, rose, and even black gold.
If micro diamonds aren’t what you want, take a look at their 5-carat Eternity Band—containing a handful of round diamonds set in an eternity band. Bright, extravagant, yet elegant at the same time.
If you don’t find any of their premade designs or are a fan of more unique engagement rings, you can let them know your preferences. They are more than willing to customize the perfect ring for you.
Noémie only uses 18k gold in all of their jewelry. Thus ensuring the best balance between quality and durability, perfect for jewelry that can withstand heavy wear.
Some of their gold is reclaimed, although they do not specifically indicate if they only work with reclaimed gold.
As always, they only work with conflict-free diamonds, only sourcing from suppliers that follow the Kimberly Process and all UN regulations. No matter which one of their ethical engagement rings you purchase, you can rest assured that they are made using ethical components.
Ethics And Values
What sets Noémie apart from other brands is that they’re a vertically integrated jewelry company. This is what allows them to price their fine jewelry as reasonably as possible.
Part of the reason why fine jewelry is so expensive is the lengthy supply chain. The gems must go through multiple hands and intermediaries, each placing their markup on the product. But in a vertically integrated supply chain, much of that markup is avoided.
Noémie produces their attractive and affordable options in their production houses in Los Angeles and Bangkok, featuring artisans worldwide.
The Importance of Ethical Engagement Rings
Diamonds are sparkly, brilliant, and expensive stones that many prefer in their wedding or engagement rings. They are a symbol of wealth, status, and to an extent, love.
But diamonds are not all they seem. For the longest time (before the Kimberley Process), conflict diamonds or blood diamonds were used to fund armed conflict against the government . These shiny gems that so many of us love were tools used to finance blood.
Today, the KP and its members are responsible for curbing around 99.8% of this illegal practice.
When you see the term conflict-free in product listings, this indicates that the diamonds weren’t used to fund any bloody war.
But should we stop there? Absolutely not.
There are still many loopholes that the KP does not cover. It doesn’t guarantee against human rights violations in mines, doesn’t guarantee fair pay, nor does it assure that adequate health and safety provisions are in place.
Diamond miners in South Africa make as little as $1 per day . And this doesn’t even take into consideration the kind of environment they work in. Sometimes diamond miners aren’t paid for their labor and only get paid if they find a diamond .
And although diamonds are valuable resources that catch such hefty prices, that value rarely translates to the ones mining them from the Earth.
To avoid supporting these disastrous practices, we must purchase our jewelry from brands that actively fight against them. Jewelers with a mind for ethically sourced gemstones and care about more than just financial growth.
In an industry where so much of the supply chain is shrouded in smoke and mirrors, it can be a significant challenge to purchase truly ethical diamonds and other gems.
Difficult, but not impossible.
Beyond the sparkle and glamour of your diamond ring is a much deeper and complex industry than most of us take it for.
When you buy a ring for life, do it in consideration of not just its value but the lives behind it as well.