May 10 2020 – Mike Yarbrough
More and more happy couples are choosing to celebrate their engagement in eco-conscious style. As a result, the popularity of sustainable wedding rings is on the rise.
As makers of nature-inspired rings, we understand that our natural resources are precious. If you're concerned about the environmental impact of your wedding ring, here are a few things to consider to make sure it's created using green processes and ethically sourced materials.
We've all heard horror stories about "blood diamonds" or "conflict diamonds" mined in war-torn areas, often at great human and environmental cost. These diamonds are illegally traded, and often used to finance rebel or terror groups in developing countries.
Of course, diamonds are still an iconic wedding ring fixture. If you want a classic diamond engagement ring, it's important to make sure it’s been ethically mined and sold. The best way to do this is to work with jewelers and diamond retailers who only sell conflict-free diamonds.
Another option for anyone looking for a more ethical wedding ring is a lab-created diamond. Just as their name suggests, lab-created diamonds are "grown" in a lab by scientists under conditions that simulate that natural diamond growing process that occurs under the earth's crust.
Although they are man-made, and some might consider them to be "synthetic," lab-created diamonds are not fake. They are still real diamonds, chemically and visually identical to naturally occurring diamonds, just made under controlled conditions. Lab-created diamonds are ethically sourced, conflict free, and more environmentally conscious than mined diamonds.
Ethically-Sourced Precious Metals
Mining can cause a lot of damage to the environment if it's not done using sustainable practices. This is especially the case with precious metals such as gold, platinum and palladium. By one estimate, a single ounce of mined gold can produce over 20 tons of waste.
However, there are metals that make great wedding rings without the great environmental toll. As an example, the mining practices for silver typically have less of an environmental impact., as do non-precious metals like titanium and tungsten, both of which have become popular alternative ring materials.
Recycled or Repurposed Metals
We all know how important it is to reduce, reuse, and recycle! While you might not think it, wedding rings are often made out of repurposed materials. There is currently a great abundance of sterling silver on the market, which makes repurposed silver wedding rings particularly easy to find. Repurposed gold and platinum rings are also offered by many jewelers.
Of course, there's always the option of choosing an antique wedding ring. From personal sales to antique dealers and estate sales, there are a lot of beautiful vintage rings out there that are just waiting for a new lease on life. Just make sure your fiancée is onboard with the whole idea; you don't want to get in trouble for offering a "used" ring!
Organic and Eco-Friendly Materials
Arguably the best way to make sure your wedding ring is eco-friendly is to choose a sustainable ring made from materials that don't damage the environment in the first place. These include alternative wedding materials like elk antler that is harvested naturally from antler sheds on the forest floor, and wood that has been sustainably repurposed. Many of our wooden rings are made with reclaimed antique hardwoods, whiskey barrels, and even wood from American battleships.
Leather rings are also a great option for a naturally sourced wedding ring, especially when the leather is sourced from tanneries that use sustainable practices. The leather industry has made great strides in sustainability in recent years and we get our leather from a reputable supplier right here in the USA.
If you're interested in planning a more sustainable wedding, check out this Wilder Weddings blog where you can find some great tips on sustainable travel, food and more! At Rustic & Main, we're dedicated to creating sustainable wedding rings that are inspired by nature. Contact us today to learn more about our rings, and the materials we use to make them.