So, I haven't blogged this anywhere, but I did indeed get engaged 2 weeks ago. I can now expect to really have use for all of the ethical wedding sites that I've pointed out here in the past...and can truly earn the pitches I get from wedding-oriented authors and companies on account of those posts.
The first quandary: the engagement ring.
I was all set with what I wanted. I thought I wanted a ring by this guy. Platinum and diamonds all the way, baby. And diamond is my birthstone, so it was kind of a twofer.
But just in the week we decided to get married, I started reading rumblings on the Interwebs about diamonds and metal and ethics. Read on...
It started with this post on BlogHer. Now blogger Liz Rizzo is talking more about the patriarchal implications of the ring, and frankly that argument persuades me not at all. I don't care what a ring might potentially symbolize about me or my relationship to others, I care only about what it means to us and me. And I likes me the pretty shiny things.
But there in the comments was a link to a post that did sway my mind. Diamonds Are For Never by Anil Dash. Again, let's be clear, it's not his complaint about the advertising messaging of the diamond industry. I really couldn't care less. No, it's the stuff he was talking about about "blood diamonds", and once I started looking at that...well it led to a lot more, including issues with how even the metal in bands is mined.
So, admittedly this threw the S.O. for a loop, seeing that I had previously given him a picture of a ring by the guy linked to above, a ring which would have been available at a jeweler right down the street from us, and said that was what I wanted. And then I got all ethical and conflicted.
Thank goodness I have friends like the brilliant Maria Niles, who have been sending me alternative solutions.
These include: Canadian diamonds, recycled metals, alternate gems, and so on.
I checked out GreenKarat, but was a little underwhelmed by the style. I also checked out a few vintage sites...which might still have diamonds and metals, but represented a form of recycling. But again, the style wasn't up my alley.
I also checked the official Canadian diamond site and found a local jeweler that was supposed to be a distributor. They, however, completely blew me off (cough, Derco Jewelers, cough). Took down all my particulars were going to call me back with whether they could create what I wanted, and just never did.
Maria finally pointed me to Brilliant Earth, and I think this will be the last place I check. They not only have lots of choice, but they'll do custom work. And they got back to me within 24 hours when they said they would...with a custom design!!
And read the story of the company started...sounds perfect:
A commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
Based in San Francisco, Brilliant Earth grew out of a marriage proposal. After Beth's fiance could not find a reliable source that could guarantee conflict free diamonds, Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg created Brilliant Earth to provide certified conflict free diamonds as an alternative to current diamond industry practices.
As part of its mission to promote industry-wide change, Brilliant Earth works in partnership with advocacy groups to promote awareness about conflict diamonds, labor and mining issues, and environmental concerns in the industry. Brilliant Earth also dedicates 5% of its profits to directly benefit local African communities harmed by the diamond industry. Learn more about our current efforts.
Anyway, I gets me some shiny I can feel halfway decent about. I like it!