Eco-friendly and Conflict-free Wedding Rings

Eco-friendly wedding rings
Eco-friendly wedding rings

As you commit yourselves to each other, why not make a commitment to the environment?

More and more couples are making a conscious effort to have an eco-friendly wedding, and that mandate can extend to wedding rings as well.

There are beautiful, cruelty-free, sustainably mined options available in a wide array of materials. The following engagement and wedding rings are just as much an enduring symbol of your union as traditional precious metals and diamonds, but come with the guarantee that you can rest easy knowing exactly where they came from.

Wooden wedding rings

Rings made from wood are surprisingly durable and available in a range of colors, depending on the type of wood you choose. Touch Wood Rings are custom made in British Columbia by Nicola and David Finch, who create each set by hand.

Left: Koa and oak rings. Top right: Oak rings with greyed maple inlays. Bottom right: Rosewood rings with abalone shell and eilat stone inlays. All made by Touch Wood Rings. Inquire for pricing.

Simply Wood Rings are another eco-conscious option. Artist Gustav Reyes creates affordable, beautiful designs from all types of wood, incorporating semi-precious stones and metals into his work.

Left: Mahogany wedding band, $185. Right: Padauk and birch ring, $220. All made by Simply Wood Rings.

Recycled Precious Metals

greenKarat is devoted to recycling precious metals in order to preserve the ecosystem and eliminate exploitation of miners. The company is one of the most ecologically responsible around, and has its own standards and ethics evaluation system, known as Green Assay. Green Assay evaluates the ecological characteristics of each component of the jewelry you buy, from the metal used in the setting to the conditions in which the stones were mined. greenKarat supports Fair Trade and ecological gold initiatives, and is opposed to all forms of diamond mining, even Canadian diamonds.

Left: Constellation. 18k post-consumer recycled gold band. Contains 14-16 faint blue, VS clarity, lab-created or recycled natural white diamonds, $1,600. Top right: Appalachian Trail. Hand carved in 18k post-consumer recycled gold, $1,150. Bottom right: The Gatsby Band. Cast in 18k recycled white gold or 90/10 recycled platinum, $500. All made by greenKarat.

Leber Jeweler Inc of Chicago also constructs its rings from reclaimed and re-refined 18k gold or platinum for its Earthwise line, and it uses fair trade colored gemstones and Canadian diamonds in its designs.

Clockwise from top left: Ursula, Trixie, Amelia Pave Milgrain, Hazel. Mountings are all available in reclaimed 18 karat yellow gold, 18 karat white gold alloyed with palladium, or 950 platinum. Prices vary depending on metal selection and stone size. All made by Leber Jeweler Inc.

Fair Trade and ‘Clean’ Gold & Platinum

The NGO No Dirty Gold campaigns not only for environmental safety and human rights, but also aims to hold jewelry retail firms accountable for the gold they sell. Conscious consumers can find a retailer in their area that is committed to sustainably sourced metals.

No Dirty Gold

Cred Jewellery uses fair trade gold and platinum from small-scale miners Oro Verde of Colombia. Learn about the fair trade organizations and ethical jewelry initiatives that Cred partners with here.

Left: Court. Right: Brilliant cradle solitaire. Prices vary based on width of bands and stone size. All made by Cred Jewellery.

Cultured diamonds

Did you know a diamond can be grown in a lab? Apollo Diamond Inc. uses a process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD) that creates sparkling diamonds without putting a strain on the environment. These cultured diamonds are chemically and structurally identical to a mined diamond.

Can you tell the diamonds below are cultured?

Left: Classic 4-prong ring R10c. Top right: Signature Apollo 6-prong A ring R34. Bottom right: Classic 4-prong ring with 3mm comfort fit band R10b. All made by Apollo Diamond Inc.

Alternative metals

While extracting any metal from the earth has some ecological impact, there are certain metals that are less exploited than others. Titanium is an excellent for jewelry, because it does not tarnish or cause skin irritation to those with nickel or other metal allergies.

Titanium Style offers affordable rings made of three distinct grades of titanium, including ultra-durable aircraft-grade titanium alloy. Titanium can have a brushed appearance or a high-shine polish, depending on the look you desire.

Left: Domed Titanium Ring with Step-Down Edges, $99.90. Top right: Flat Titanium Wedding Band with Two Grooves, $99.90. Bottom right: Titanium Squared Top Ring with Two Thin Grooves, $299.90. All made by Titanium Style.

Tungsten carbide is one of the most damage-resistant metals available for jewelry. According to Tungsten World, tungsten is about 10 times harder than 18k gold, five times harder than tool steel, and four times harder than titanium. This metal measures between 8 and 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness (diamonds are the highest, at a 10), so tungsten is an excellent choice for those who work with their hands or just want a guarantee that their wedding ring will keep its shine and shape.

Tungsten World
Clockwise from top left: Imperial 8mm Mens Black Tungsten Ceramic Inlay Domed Ring, $269. Prometheus Mens Tungsten Solitaire Diamond Beveled Wedding Ring, $299. Carrera Tungsten Black Carbon Fiber Beveled Band, $179. Enigma 6mm Black Tungsten Ring, $149. All made by Tungsten World.

Is choosing an eco-friendly and/or conflict-free wedding and engagement ring important to you? Discuss it in the comments section!

Click the following links to learn about mining and its effects on the environment, conflict diamonds, and find out what Amnesty International is doing to help change the diamond industry.

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Comments (4)

July 22, 2010

You should include D.NEA. They make cultured diamonds in white, blue and yellow and set them into jewelry made from recycled precious metals.

Kristen - Editor
July 23, 2010

Thanks for the tip, Matt! We’ll be sure to contact them. Readers, here’s their website: Beautiful stuff!

Simply Wood Rings
September 22, 2010

Thanks for the kind words! I just found this article, and we really appreciate the mention. Your energy and time help us continue to create our art!

Simply Wood Rings

February 2, 2016

This is such an amazing blog with so cool stuff. I love the rings.


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