Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend...Or Are They?
Let’s talk about engagement rings, shall we? (Yes, please!)
Really, the tradition of the engagement ring is rather interesting (some would even say odd.) It all started in Ancient Egypt where people would wrap reeds on their left ring finger (the finger with a vein that connects directly to the heart) to signify they were to be married. Later, the Ancient Romans forgot the "love" aspect entirely and started putting rings on women's finger as a way to mark ownership before marriage.
Eventually, the tradition migrated westward and was adopted here in the United States. In 1947, DeBeers, a famous jeweler, coined the phrase "Diamonds are Forever" and the rest is history.
Today, engagement rings mark a couples love for one another and the beginning of a remarkable journey that two people want to take together.
And, although many couples still opt for a traditional diamond ring, there has been a recent influx of couples who are choosing to go a more sustainable, ethical, and affordable route with their ring choices.
Wait? What’s the deal with traditional diamond rings?
If you’ve ever seen the movie Blood Diamond, you likely know a bit about the history of diamond mining and the ethics behind it. But, if you haven’t, here’s a little bit of information to help catch you up.
Diamonds are found deep beneath the earth, which means they have to be dug up. Some forms of mining follow strict regulations and are completely ethical. However, there are also operations which force workers to mine diamonds by hand, work for long hours, and pay less than the acceptable living wage. These operations are unethical.
On top of unethical practices, diamond mining can also cause ecological devastation. Throughout history, there have been many instances in which major diamond mining operations have caused entire ecosystems to collapse due to extreme excavation. A truly heartbreaking situation.
To be quite honest, ethics and sustainability are the main reasons I have a personal love affair with non-traditional engagement rings...
And, by love affair I mean I sometimes find myself browsing the internet for hours going bug-eyed over all of the options. But, I also really love how diamond alternatives are beautiful and affordable!
(I do want to add that if you have a diamond engagement ring or absolutely LOVE diamond engagement rings, there are no hard feelings or judgments being passed your way! The perfect engagement ring is perfect because it’s perfect for you.)
If you want to know more about the affordable, sustainable, and ethical alternatives to traditional engagement rings, here are a few of my favorites!
For those who love the look of diamond engagement rings yet desire a more sustainable and affordable alternative, moissanite rings are the perfect option! Not only does a moissanite ring cost a fraction of the price of a traditional diamond (about $700 for 1 carat), but their luster, clarity, and overall beauty are absolutely breathtaking.
To get a look at what Moissanite rings look like take a peek at some of my favorite Instagram accounts @moissaniteco and @moissaniterings.
White Sapphire rings also offer the clear, crisp, clean look of a traditional diamond ring, but are sourced by more ethical and sustainable standards.
One fun fact about white sapphires is that they are actually the second hardest gemstone ON EARTH! So, if you work in a profession like nursing or teaching and know your engagement ring is likely to take a beating, white sapphires are an ideal option!
You can see some truly amazing white sapphires on @jeuliajewelry via Instagram!
Perhaps the traditional white diamond look isn't for you (or your lovely bride-to-be). Maybe you want something that is going to REALLY stand out among the crowd, catch eyes and turn heads.
If that sounds like you, then morganite rings are where it's at. Morganite gemstones are a precious pink color that is especially stunning against a rose gold setting. On average, morganite stones run about $300 per carat and can be paired with any number of other gemstones to make a beautiful engagement ring.
Hop on Instagram and follow @arikjeweleryinc2 to see a few drool-worthy samples of morganite rings.
Finally, there are ethical and sustainable ways to source diamonds for your engagement ring if diamonds are the stone you truly desire. Man-made diamonds might be formed in a laboratory, but they are equally as beautiful as diamonds that come from the earth. And, if you need a reason to like them more, they are typically sold at a fraction of the cost of a normal diamond engagement ring.
I really love browsing all of the options for man-made diamonds on the @everlyrings Instagram account!
Although these four diamond alternatives are my favorites, there are countless other options for creating the perfect engagement ring. And, with a little research, some creativity, and a knowledge of what styles you love I am certain you will be able to find the ring you’ve always dreamed of wearing.
Helpful Hint: You can also browse tons of diamond alternative rings (including moissanite and morganite) on Etsy.com.
That's where my husband and I found our rings a few years ago when we got married!
Fair warning if you go on Etsy...You will want EVERY ring you see and, if you already have an engagement ring or wedding set, you might even find yourself considering a replacement.
Happy ring shopping!
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