15 Ethical Engagement Rings for an Eco-Friendly Proposal — Girlfriend Collective

15 Ethical Engagement Rings for an Eco-Friendly Proposal

By Mia Mahoney

By Mia Mahoney

15 Ethical and Eco-Friendly Engagement Rings for Every Style

Whimsical and Boho

1. Catbird

A jewelry studio, shipping warehouse, and office all in one space mean that a Catbird ring is doing a minimal amount of traveling before making it to its final destination, onto someone’s finger. When it comes to diamonds, the Brooklyn-based outfit largely uses recycled or lab-grown diamonds, but when these are not a possibility (rose-cut diamonds are difficult to source thees ways), the company uses suppliers that adhere to strict standards of worker safety. Catbird’s whimsical designs with fairytale-esque detailing make these rings the right fit for anyone that is trying to channel their inner Stevie Nicks. 

Style: Vintage-inspired and whimsical engagement rings 

Price Point: $3925/ Oval round ring in tri-stone setting

Ethical Practices: Recycled gold; recycled or lab-created diamonds; local production; clean water pearl harvesting 

Shop ethical engagement rings from Catbird

2. Valeria Madison

Sustainability meets sentimentality at this Seattle company. The designers offer an heirloom rework program, allowing customers to use stones passed down or gifted to them that can then be put into a modern Valeria Madison setting. There is also a design your own ring program and, outside of customizable options, Valeria Madison has an array of ready-made engagement rings. Their internal line features interesting cuts like half-moon and marquise, with colored stones options like ruby, emerald, brown and grey diamond.

Style: Colorful and funky rings 

Price Point: $4100/ brown oval diamond ring with diamond half-halo

Ethical Practices: Recycled diamonds; lab-grown diamonds; recycled gold; local production

Shop ethical engagement rings from Valeria Madison

3. Sofia Kaman

Edwardian, Georgian, Victorian, and Art Deco— shopping Sofia Kaman’s vintage ring collection will give you flashbacks to art history class. Deja vu aside, the Los Angeles jeweler’s heirloom options cover every style with offerings bejeweled with pearls, emeralds, coral, and turquoise, as well as the traditional diamonds. Speaking of diamonds, Sofia Kaman also has an expansive line of modern engagement rings using lab-grown and conflict-free gems that are conveniently broken down across personal styles (see: boho, romantic, cool, minimal, and classic).   

Style: Heirloom vintage collection alongside boho and minimalist modern designs

Price Point: $9500/ blue sapphire with pear cut accents

Ethical Practices: Lab-grown diamonds; conflict-free Canadian diamonds; recycled metals

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Sofia Kaman

4. Ken & Dana Design

Bringing their eco-friendly ethos into their designs, Ken & Dana have a nature-inspired collection with bands that are engraved to mimic the texture of tree branches and leaf-like prongs that hold the stones in place. Antique-inspired rings see centers diamonds wrapped in whimsical design flourishes all in rose or white gold, all of which is recycled. And to finish off each look, the studio includes wedding band pairing options with videos so you can decide which fits best with your ring. 

Style: Nature and vintage-inspired bespoke rings

Price Point: $5,250/ oval stone with halo in a rose gold  

Ethical Practices: Local production with fair wages; Canadian-origin diamond; lab-grown diamonds; recycled metals; give-back programs 

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Ken & Dana

Traditional

5. MiaDonna

The Portland-based ring company offers services like a home try-on program for those shopping online, complimentary side-stone replacement in the first 90 days after purchase, and free 30 day returns. Their line is expansive, including solitaire, two-tone, antique-inspired, and halo styles, among many others. And their sustainability is impressive, too. MiaDonna uses lab-grown diamonds, which traditionally cost less than earth mined stones, with MiaDonna saying their diamonds are 20% to 40% less than the equivalent mined diamonds. The company is also a Certified B Corporation, meaning it meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, uncommon acclaim in the world of diamonds.

Style: Wide-ranging classic styles like solitaire, stackable, halo, and more

Price Point: $1,175/ .5 carat pricness cut solitaire lab-grown diamond 

Ethical Practices: Recycled precious metals; lab-grown diamonds; give-back programs

Shop all ethical engagement rings from MiaDonna

6. DoAmore

DoAmore wants to teach you a thing or two about engagement rings. The company’s website is filled with tips on everything from talking to a jeweler to color recommendations for specific cuts. For its rings, DoAmore uses a combination of recycled, lab-grown, and ethically mined diamonds, all of which help fund its give-back program. Through its non-profit partner, Charity Water, proceeds from every engagement ring purchase are pooled until a water well can be drilled for a community in need, making a happy occasion even happier.

Style: Classic and traditional cuts and settings

Price Point: $1,706/ .5 carat round cut diamond halo ring 

Ethical Practices: Recycled diamonds; lab-grown diamonds; give-back program; recycled precious metals; zero plastic packaging 

Shop all ethical engagement rings from DoAmore

7. Aide-memoire Jewelry

While the mission of this Seattle-based company is to design the type of heirloom jewelry that can be passed down to future generations, Aide-memoire can also take to take your existing heirloom pieces and build on them to create something new. A part of the Ethical Metalsmiths community, Aide-memoire’s focus is on local craftsmanship that can create accessible fine jewelry. Their ready-to-wear line includes solitaire, multi-stone, and bezel options. The company also has a line of masculine bands and stand-in engagement rings, which offers an affordable way to propose and can be shipped quickly if spontaneity is the objective.

Style: Traditional styles, as well as gender-inclusive options and stand-in engagement bands 

Price Point: $1,530/ oval cut three-stone ring 

Ethical Practices: Lab-grown diamonds; heirloom resets; Canadian-mined diamonds; recycled diamonds and gemstones

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Aide-memoire

8. Frank Darling

The first step in finding an engagement ring is knowing what you want. But if you still aren’t sure about that yet, Frank Dalring has the quiz for you. Their three-minute long quiz is a bit like a choose-your-own adventure book for one very important finger. It goes over stones, bands, and settings, and smaller details like number of prongs. It even gives you the options for lab-grown or natural stones, of which Frank Darling has both, with the former coming from the San Fransisco-based Diamond Foundry. In the end, they will email you a rendering of ring based on your answers. And through their try-at-home program, Frank Darling will send you sterling silver mock-ups of rings for free.

Style: Classic solitaire and three-stones settings with an array of cuts  

Price Point: $1,445/ .6 carat rose cut diamond in bezel setting 

Ethical Practices: Lab-grown diamonds; recycled diamonds; recycled gold; recycled packaging; heirloom resets 

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Frank Darling

Wedding Bands

9. Aurate New York

Gold from Turkey, diamonds from Mexico, and designed in New York City, Aurate scoured the globe for its ethical rings. To make their jewelry, the designers use recycled gold, half of which is made locally in NYC, and ethically-sourced stones that they track from the mine to their studio, requiring documenting the entire way. From simple (solitaire diamonds and plain gold bands) to the more distinctive (a ring with 36 rainbow saturated sapphires and precious stones), Aurate can offer wedding bands for any partner. 

Style: Dainty wedding bands

Price Point: $2,500/ diamond eternity bezel band

Ethical Practices: 100% recycled gold; fair wages; sustainably harvested pearls

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Aurate New York

10. Mejuri

Part jeweler and part detective agency, Mejuri ensures that the gold used in its jewelry is traceable to its source. The company is also big on transparency, providing percentage breakdowns of the recycled and mined gold used in its most popular styles, like their dome and chainrings. By the end of 2021, the company committed to 100% traceable gold in all jewelry, of which 70% will be certified recycled. And while Mejuri does offer some diamonds options, they are best known for their gold bands that come in beaded, twisted, wishbone, and signet looks.

Style: Bold gold wedding bands

Price Point: $265/ 14k yellow gold band

Ethical Practices: 100% traceable gold; Responsible Jewelry Council certified suppliers

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Mejuri

11. Automatic Gold

Inclusivity is paramount to this NYC studio’s central mission. Automatic Gold is the only fine jewelry brand with ring offerings in sizes 2 to 16, including half-sizes, with 29 sizes in all. Fit is important to Automatic God, in both size and style. Their wedding band collection, all made using recycled gold, features traditional solid bands, as well as hammered, wood, and rope textures. Rings come in yellow, rose, white, and champagne gold, with customizable gemstone options.

Style: Size-inclusive gold bands with customizable gemstone options 

Price Point: $379+/ hammered band

Ethical Practices: Recycled gold; recycled diamonds; local manufacturing

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Automatic

Customizable

12. Vrai

While he has yet to tie the knot himself, we are pretty sure that Leonardo DiCaprio is a fan of these engagement rings. As a division of lab-grown diamond company Diamond Foundry Inc., which counts the Oscar winner as an investor, Vrai gets their diamonds directly from the source, cutting out any middlemen. (Diamond Foundry gems are used in numerous other fine jewelery brands, even some on this list.) Engagement rings come with a lifetime care package that includes complimentary resizing, annual shine, and lifetime warranty, meaning these rings are assured to stand the test of time and any lifestyle. Vrai also thinks beyond the engagement, with collections specified for other major life milestones like anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations.

Style: Customizable options for traditional romantics

Price Point: $1,260+/ pear cut diamond in bezel

Ethical Practices: Recycled gold; lab-grown diamonds; give-back programs

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Vrai

13. Taylor & Hart

You are a part of the design process at Taylor & Hart. When crafting an engagement ring, customers provide ideas and a price point to the London jewelry outfit, which then creates a one-of-a-kind piece. A 3D file is sent to you so you can look at the ring in high detail, making any desired adjustments before a photorealistic version of the ring is rendered and sent to you. Transparent about where they still can do better, Taylor & Hart released their first sustainability report this year, laying out initiatives like using exclusively Fairmined gold and building out their own internal auditing process for external suppliers.

Style: Customizable rings

Price Point: $2,225+/ Emerald cut diamond set in platinum with baguettes

Ethical Practices: Ethically-mined rings; conflict-free Canadian-origin diamond; lab-grown diamonds

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Taylor & Hart

14. Dana Walden Bridal

The timeline is an important part of any proposal, with as much consideration going into scheduling as more talked-about efforts like location or the ring, itself. And Dana Walden has options for any timetable. If you are in a real hurry, a ready-made line of engagement rings can on your doorstep in two to three days. Special order selections are quoted at three to six weeks and you can choose from a variety of designs from the New York City designer with the studio picking from their stock of stones that include rubies, yellow and blue sapphires, and morganite, as well as diamonds. And if you have the time, Dana Walden’s fully customizable experience includes consultations with the namesake designer, gem sourcing, and free lifetime cleanings. 

Style: Customizable, non-traditional engagement rings 

Price Point: $7,500/ 1.5 carat emerald cut lab grown diamond 

Ethical Practices: Local manufacturing and no overseas production; fair wages; recycled gold and platinum; lab-grown diamonds 

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Dana Walden

Vintage, Etc

15. Etsy

Yes, the same site that offers eclectic finds like a ceramic cat mug and crocheted cacti can also be home to your engagement ring. There are multiple vintage jewelry dealers on Etsy, a Certified B Corporation, giving ample opportunity to find the ring that rings true to you. A couple we have found are EstateDiamondJewelry for Art Deco options or Pebble and Polish for some Victorian finds. More likely than not, the materials in these rings will not have been sourced in an eco-friendly manner. Instead, their sustainability comes from their second-hand status. Across clothing, jewelry, and life, in general, the best and easiest way to be eco-friendly is to keep things in use as much as possible.

Style: Antique and vintage styles

Price Point: Various

Ethical Practices: Carbon-offset shipping; secondhand options

Shop all ethical engagement rings from Etsy

Shop EstateDiamondJewelry

Shop Pebble and Polish

Criteria for Ethical Engagement Rings

While this list of ethically sourced engagement rings may be a good start— or even the final stop— on your journey to find the perfect ring, there are many other options out there. So, here are some things to consider to help you in your continued search. 

Traditional engagement rings that use precious metals and stone are manufactured using materials that have a major environmental and human impact. Mining is destructive in nature, requiring that great portions of earth are moved, impacting local ecosystems, wildlife, and native foodways for generations, if not indefinitely. Many precious metal and stone mines are found in country’s whose native populations have been violently forced into labor and never seen financial compensation for the minerals being pulled from their land. Diamond mining has also become synonymous with conflict and an array of other human rights abuses. 

The Kimberly Process — the global initiative created to increase transparency and oversight in the diamond industry — is something you will see referenced time and again when looking for ethically made, engagement rings. But critics have noted that methodology does not go far enough. When looking at rings that have earth-mined stones, see if the jewelry company goes beyond the Kimberly Process. This may mean the brand lists the country where those stones are coming from and if they are traceable to the source. For example, Canadian diamonds are known to be conflict-free due to the country’s Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct. If they don’t offer where their stones are sourced on the website, reach out to the jeweler to ask. Most will be happy to provide the answer.

If you are still concerned that mined diamonds, no matter how ethically sourced, are not the right choice for you, lab-grown diamonds are now common alternatives. Their origins are guaranteed, there is no undue human impact, and they don’t have anywhere near the carbon footprint that mine diamonds do. Synthetic diamonds are also more affordable. 

Another alternative to look for is recycled stones. They are exactly like they sound, meaning these diamonds have been a part of other pieces that were broken down for their individual parts and were then remade into other items, like engagement rings. In the same way that stones can be recycled, so too can precious metals. Look for recycled gold and platinum options if you would like your ring’s suitability to extend beyond its stone. Precious metals can be sourced from older jewelry, but most come from electronics like catalytic converters and circuit boards.

And, if you are still concerned about the impact of your engagement ring then it is best to go the vintage route. Because secondhand is always a sustainable option. 

Note: The list under each brands’ “Ethical Practices” is not meant to be exhaustive. All of the above companies have made their sustainability efforts and processes available to consumers on their websites.

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