Eco Wedding Jewelry Alert:  Not all Rings are Created Eco

Posted by Azure on April 4th, 2011
Special to OneWed by Lisa W. for greenKarat

Watch out, eco brides! Labels such as “recycled gold”, “Canadian diamonds” and “conflict free” can be misleading for couples shopping for green wedding and engagement rings. There is rampant greenwashing in the eco jewelry niche and green brides deserve the truth. Read about 3 eye-opening facts that will help you to spot misleading “green” claims and ask the right questions. But first, here are the 3 ways that you can choose truly green symbols of love: Eco-Ring Idea #1: Antique Stones Check your local listings for a reputable estate jeweler. Shop for these rings in person and remember to ask for the origin of the stones. Even though an antique stone was likely mined many years ago, the damage to earth has already been done. By reusing that gem today, you are choosing a green engagement ring. Eco-Ring Idea #2: Created Gems Make sure that your diamond was grown and not mined. Lab created diamonds are physically, optically and chemically identical to mined diamonds. The important difference is that created gems don’t carry the baggage of funding wars, harming the environment, and cheating indigenous people out of their wealth of natural resources. And as a plus, colored gemstone engagement rings are super on-trend for 2011! Eco-Ring Idea #3: Recycled Metals Your jeweler should be able to provide full disclosure of the eco footprint of your ring including origin of the gems, alloy used in the gold, and the refinery which processed the gold. You want to ask for post-consumer recycled gold to be sure you are making a difference. We estimate that there is enough gold above ground (already mined) to satisfy all demands of the jewelry industry for the next 50 years. The myKarat®recycled gold registry lets brides recycle, reuse or donate jewelry sent in by their family and friends so your rings can be affordable and with sentimental value!

Now it's time to reveal three eye-opening facts about supposed 'eco-friendly' wedding rings: 1- Single Mine, No. 2 Polluter: Some of the largest jewelers in the US promote that they sell green wedding rings because they source gold from a single mine. What they don’t tell you is that the mine is listed by the EPA as the nation’s No. 2 polluter. 2- Canadian Diamonds, Not Truly Green: The term “Canadian diamonds” has been promoted as an earth-friendly choice but the fact is that all mining is destructive regardless of where it takes place. The Canadian diamond industry has done great PR to promote their purported environmental pedigree, but they fail to mention their mine operations render river waters toxic for hundreds of kilometers downstream, leave a gaping, permanent scar on the earth, and don't support the indigenous people whose land is being mined. 3- Challenge Conflict Free: The popular term “conflict free” is frequently considered to be the touchstone of a safe diamond purchase. But, there is no credible authority to substantiate a “conflict free” label for countries who are suffering from war. The Kimberley Process was founded with the support of mining giants to certify mines as conflict free, but the process is faulty and should not be relied upon.

The truth about diamond and gold mining is occasionally covered by the media but widely unheard. Here are three articles that shed light on this important green wedding issue:

1. There are No Clean Diamonds: What You Need to Know About Canadian Diamonds

2. All That’s Gold Doesn’t Glitter

3. The New York Times, Questions on the Cost of Gold

Posted in Veils and Accessories Green

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