The history of the diamond engagement ring and some conflict-free alternatives

A short history of the diamond engagement ring and ways to buy an alternative to a diamond wedding ring so it is more eco-friendly and conflict free.

Nothing says “I love You” like war right?? Diamonds have an entire classification called “Blood Diamonds” that were mined to fund insurgency and war. So where do you buy conflict-free diamond alternatives?

Engagement bands began in Ancient Egypt as the circle was used to symbolize a never ending cycle and the space in it as a gateway. Romans believed the ring to be a symbol for ownership rather than love. The meaning has evolved and keeps evolving to this day.

the history of the diamond engagement ring and ways to buy an alternative to a diamond wedding ring so it is more eco friendly and conflict free

Colonialism in America brought a thimble and was given as a sign of eternal companionship. Women would remove the tops of the thimble in order to create a ring. DeBeers made spending a substantial amount of money on the ring popular in the 1900s, typically suggesting that it should be one month’s salary or more. This is where the diamond engagement ring really flourished.

Are you wondering how to begin buying a diamond engagement ring?

Read more here on the American Gem Society’s website.

Here are the 4 Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat weight.

the history of the diamond engagement ring and ways to buy an alternative to a diamond wedding ring so it is more eco friendly and conflict free

best Ny wedding photographer Heather McKayI’m not actually a fan of diamonds {gasp}. However, my favorite diamond rings are ones with a lot of little diamonds that look shiny and bling filled. If I had to wear a big burly diamond ring, I know I’d just catch it on everything!

Are you interested in a diamond wedding ring? There are a million choices online and in stores, since this is the current standard. At 77 Diamonds, no two rings are the same. 77Diamonds host a collection of over 300,000 natural diamonds and bespoke engagement rings, all made to order and hand crafted by highly skilled jewelers. Their website offers a plethora of information about diamond buying and has a build your own tool.

Tiffany wedding rings are full of name brand recognition, however they also offer simple gold bands and more modest rings. For such a high end company, their website sure is terrible!

the history of the diamond engagement ring and ways to buy an alternative to a diamond wedding ring so it is more eco friendly and conflict free

Looking for a guaranteed conflict free diamond ring?  Brilliant Earth provides fine jewelry from ethical, pure sources— jewelry that you can truly be proud to wear. They also sell antique wedding rings, which are perfect for a vintage themed wedding. Green Karat is another great resource for sustainable information and unique ring designs online. They are a Green America approved vendor, just like McKay’s Photography!

Brilliant Earth adds a few more important notes here:  “Just to add something to the part on rings, it’s important to know a few things if you’re going to buy conflict-free rings. First, most jewelers will say that they are selling “conflict-free” diamonds. However, if you want to be certain about it, make sure that your jeweler can trace the diamond back to the mine and provide a written guarantee that the diamond is conflict-free. Second, if you want an eco-friendly wedding ring, consider buying a ring made of recycled gold. Gold mining is an especially dirty process. About 20 tons of mine waste are generated to produce a single gold ring, and gold mining poisons waters supplies with toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury.”

If  you are having a rustic, vintage or sustainably green wedding, my recommendation would be to find a family heirloom or other antique wedding ringThis rustic wedding couple used the Groom’s Grandmother’s wedding ring and then they bought his ring from a local estate jeweler {both pictured below}… or you can go completely alternative and get a tattoo wedding band instead!

the history of the diamond engagement ring and ways to buy an alternative to a diamond wedding ring so it is more eco friendly and conflict free

So what about the Groom’s ring? Platinum, white gold and yellow gold are the most popular choices for men’s wedding bands. Well, there are a plethora of options, all of which are a little more interesting and more sustainable. I’ve seen concrete rings, for those super active Grooms. Titanium is another quality alternative, as well as Steelwood rings, recycled gold, ceramic, palladium, cobalt, tungsten and others.

A quick Facebook poll of my past wedding couples showed Tungsten Carbide as a leader and one Groom has gone through THREE rings in three years:

“The 1st was white gold. The 2nd was tungsten carbide. The 3rd is Titanium.”

Sheesh!

modern wedding photography and custom wedding rings

Where did you get your ring? What is it made of? Have you lost it yet??

alternative wedding ring materials

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