If you're trying to make more conscious decisions about the items you spend your money on, then you may want to look into ethical diamonds for an engagement ring. Many diamonds that are on sale now have been mined in unsafe conditions or in conflict zones—and the diamond industry has been notoriously known to exploit their workers, and use non-environmentally friendly practices to source their products.
Ethical diamonds are raw diamonds that are obtained using fair mining practices in terms of wages and conditions, safe treatment of miners, and sustainable practices; and to fall within the ethical category, diamonds should be in compliance with strict labor and environmental regulations. Meaning, that the harvest of these stones should not involve child labor or forced labor, and the profits from sales should not fund violence.
Unfortunately, finding genuine ethical diamonds isn't always easy, though, there are a lot more options today than there ever have been. When searching for the perfect ring, do your research to look into the background of a stone and avoid purchasing anything from known conflict zones. Lab-created diamonds are a good alternative since they are created in a lab and not mined. Recycled diamonds are also a good way to go, as they avoid the issues that can come with newly mined stones.
So, if you're on the hunt for an honorable engagement ring, the below jewelers are a great place to start. These brands offer ethical diamonds that you can feel good about wearing every day—and it doesn't hurt that they're beautiful, to boot.
Aether is committed to ethical diamonds in a way that seems almost magical: they are literally creating diamonds out of air. Aether uses greenhouse-gas, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to create lab-grown diamonds that don't include any of the petrochemicals many other lab-grown stones have. The process requires only half the energy used for mining diamonds and saves 127 gallons of freshwater, as well as billions of gallons annually from acidic run-offs caused by mines. On top of that, since it pulls carbon dioxide out of the air, the process helps clean the atmosphere. These are truly the world's first positive impact diamonds, and the company is committed to becoming independently carbon-negative by 2023.
This woman-owned business came about after the founder discovered the origin of her own diamond, which prompted her to actively seek out and create a socially responsible gemstone. Miadonna's diamonds are lab-grown and made in the USA, and settings are made with recycled gold or platinum for extra sustainability points. The brand also focuses on giving back in other ways: A minimum of 10% of annual profits are used to help rebuild and repair the damage caused by the mining industry, and for every order, they plant one tree through "One Tree Planted" in order to help offset carbon emissions generated during the shipping process.
Holden makes custom rings that are completely unique and a fraction of the price compared to their designer counterparts. The brand strictly focuses on sustainability (using recycled metals and ethical, lab-grown diamonds), and all of the jewelry is handcrafted in their family-owned workshops in New York City. Since their rings are made-to-order, they don't have a large inventory of pieces in stock, which also contributes to less waste in the environment. Their shipping boxes are made of at least 50% recycled paper, with recyclable shipping labels and packing tape (or you can pick up your order if you prefer). For returns, Holden melts all unused jewelry in order to create new rings, and on top of all of that, they donate 1% of sales to support The Trevor Project.
Noémie uses either conflict-free stones or lab-created diamonds to make their engagement rings. They also design, source, create, and sell directly to consumers to take out the middle man when it comes to jewelry design—which means that you pay less for a great quality product. Their diamonds are only sourced from suppliers who enforce the Kimberly Process (a certification process that ensures diamonds are free of associations with human rights violations and environmental degradation), they comply with UN resolutions, and their clients are always offered the opportunity to use lab-grown diamonds for more sustainability.
Vrai has a wide variety of engagement rings to choose from, and they also do custom-made orders for something more personalized. You can rest easy knowing that there's no mining involved in the diamond process with Vrai. Instead, the brand uses advanced technology to create its diamonds in a Pacific Northwest foundry that uses 100% hydropower from the Columbia River. They also use 100% renewable energy and are the world's first zero-emission diamond producer. Aside from working hard to be as sustainable as possible, the brand also supports a wide variety of causes.
Clean Origin is the largest direct-to-consumer retailer of purely lab-grown diamonds, meaning you're almost guaranteed to find something you love that is 100% ethical. They partner with independent and internationally recognized laboratories, and their diamonds are certified by the Gem Certification & Assurance Lab and the International Gemological Institute—all of which ensure that their stones are evaluated and graded in terms of cut, color, clarity, and weight. When you shop at Clean Origin, you can feel comfortable knowing you're getting a great quality diamond.
Aurate New York
When the two female founders of Aurate New York couldn't find a contemporary jewelry brand, that was affordable and ethical, they decided to create their own. Not only can you get an ethical diamond with the brand, but you'll also receive jewelry made with 100% recycled and sustainably handmade gold. You have the choice to choose between lab-created diamonds or natural diamonds, keeping in mind that these are conflict-free stones that adhere to the Kimberly Process. But wait, there's more! Their ethical practices extend beyond diamonds, with their pearls and other precious gems sourced from family-run establishments that support local communities. Aurate New York consciously makes an effort to give back to their community as well, and they are open about inclusivity within the company.
Taylor & Hart
Taylor & Hart offers a bespoke shopping experience that really allows you to customize your own engagement ring, and they are also very transparent about their process. The brand heavily researches where their materials originate and only uses ethical stones—sourcing diamonds and gemstones from countries compliant with the Kimberley Process. For those interested, Taylor & Hart can provide certification for every diamond they sell, and also offer Canadamark diamonds, which receive additional certificates and laser inscriptions to ensure the integrity of the supply chain from mine to retailer. Lab-created and lab-grown diamonds are other options as well.
For those looking for an ethical ring that is more unique than classic and traditional, Sofia Kaman is an excellent choice. The brand offers a wide variety of beautiful stand-out pieces, from boho to vintage, that all are ethically sourced. They use recycled gold and metals to create their pieces, as well as lab-grown or antique diamonds. The advantage of antique diamonds is that, since they already existed, there is no extra strain on the environment to make one. All of their stones are also sourced through suppliers who follow the Kimberley Process. And to give back, they plant one tree per purchase through One Tree Planted and donate to various causes like the NAACP.
Trumpet & Horn
When shopping, one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do is purchase used items since they require no other resources. And, in terms of engagement rings, they are unique and a little extra special. Trumpet & Horn offers a carefully curated array of vintage and vintage-inspired pieces that are eco-friendly and ethically sourced. Many of these stones are over 100 years old, meaning they were created before conflict zones even existed! They also use stones that abide by the Kimberly Process.
Brilliant Earth is one of the pioneers of ethical engagement ring shopping. They created their own protocol for diamond sourcing called Beyond Conflict Free Diamonds, which are diamonds picked for being ethically and environmentally responsible. Brilliant Earth was one of the first jewelers to be transparent about the origin of the stones they sell, and even more, they truly strive to use only recycled and natural metals. Their ring boxes are made of wood sourced from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests, and their shipping packaging is made of post-consumer recycled content. The brand is a certified Carbonfree company, and they also give back by contributing to causes like Feeding America and the Rainforest Alliance. Plus, they help fund the Brilliant Earth Mobile School in the Democratic Republic of Congo to give a safe education to kids who otherwise might be mining diamonds. On top of all of that, they have a huge selection of rings, so you're almost guaranteed to find something you love.
Monique Péan offers environmentally responsible rings that truly stand out in a crowd. The structural pieces are unique and are made of sustainable materials, like fossilized dinosaur bones and meteorites, which do not cause any damage to collect. What's more, every piece is globally by artisans through a fair trade initiative and their diamonds can be traced back to ensure they are completely ethical. Monique Péan stones are only purchased from companies compliant with the Kimberley Process, and their metals are used from recycled gold and platinum, with everything made in New York City.
Valley Rose ensures that its diamonds meet the highest standards for ethical and responsible sourcing, by relying on third-party certifications and leading industry experts. Their WD Lab Grown Diamonds are rated on a very strict set of criteria to ensure everything is eco-conscious—and they even use 14k Fairmined Gold, which is an ethical metal that only comes from responsible Artisanal and Small-scale Mining.
Do Amore works hard to be as ethical as possible, selling diamonds that are either lab-grown or sourced by both the Kimberley Process and Diamond Sightholders. They use recycled precious metals, and everything is made in the United States under fair working conditions. To go even further, they are also transparent about where their diamonds and stones come from, offering a map on their website where you can learn more.